The first case of HIV in Ethiopia was reported in 1984. Since then, HIV/AIDS has become a major public health concern in the country, leading the Government of Ethiopia to declare a public health emergency in 2002. Although the epidemic is currently stable, HIV/AIDS remains a major development challenge for Ethiopia. The spread of HIV in any community is in part determined by the knowledge of attitude towards sexuality of its members and by their actual sexual practices. The aim of the study was to assess students' knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs in Gondar, North West Ethiopia.
A cross sectional study was conducted between February 1 to March 1, 2009 in preparatory high school students. Pre-tested questioner was used to generate the data and analysis was made by SPSS version 15. Chi -square value was calculated and p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
All the students had heard about AIDS before the interview. Knowledge on some aspect of the disease was quite low in the study group. Only half of the students knew that at present, AIDs is incurable and that HIV infection can be acquired through sexual contact with a 'familiar' person. Knowledge about STI was also quite low, 39% knew that pus in the urine is a symptom of STI and 45.4% knew that acquisition of other STIs is increases the chance of HIV transmission following unsafe sex with known cases. 25% of the study group had previous sexual intercourse and exposed at least one risk behavior. About 34% of the respondents had negative attitude towards AIDS and STDs.
Awareness about STDs and methods of prevention of HIV and STDs was low. More risk behavior was observed in male and those with alcohol and drugs of abuse.