Research Article

Catch them young: Knowledge and awareness levels of HIV and AIDS transmission among high school students in Harare, Zimbabwe

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 20, issue 3, 2021 , pages: 224–231
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2021.1979060
Author(s): Dennis Junior Choruma, South Africa, Simbarashe Dexter Choruma, Zimbabwe, Rutendo Moyra Pasirayi, South Africa


HIV and AIDS has developed as one of the urgent problems affecting many youths in Africa. Yet many of the knowledge and awareness programmes aimed at young people do not target high schools where the majority of young people are found. As a result, many youths do not have accurate information on HIV and AIDS that they can use to protect themselves from the disease. The objectives of this study were to determine the knowledge and awareness of Sixth Form students regarding the spread of HIV and AIDS among young people. A study was carried out among Sixth Form students in three schools in Harare from October 2017 to November 2017. A total of 156 students participated in the survey. Results showed that most students (74%) obtained their information on HIV and AIDS from television and radio programmes. Most students (92%) were able to identify unprotected sexual intercourse as the major mode of HIV transmission, while 89% said that HIV could be transmitted through sharing injections. Some students had misconceptions about HIV and AIDS which might negatively influence their behaviour and attitude towards HIV and AIDS, for example, 11% of students said HIV and AIDS could be cured. The study concludes that programmes on awareness and knowledge application in schools are limited, and efforts should be increased to help students effectively apply the knowledge they have about HIV and AIDS in everyday life situations, and protect themselves from the disease.

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