Original Research

Knowledge and attitudes of non-occupational HIV post-exposure prophylaxis amongst first- and second-year medical students at Stellenbosch University in South Africa

Nondumiso B.Q. Ncube, Willem A.J. Meintjes, Lumbwe Chola
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 6, No 1 | a665 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v6i1.665 | © 2014 Nondumiso B.Q. Ncube, Willem A.J. Meintjes, Lumbwe Chola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 February 2014 | Published: 24 November 2014

About the author(s)

Nondumiso B.Q. Ncube, Division of Community Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Willem A.J. Meintjes, Unit for Infection Prevention and Control, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, and Division of Community Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Lumbwe Chola, Health Systems and Services Research, Division of Community Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a worldwide problem, with 68% of infected people residing in sub-Saharan Africa. Antiretroviral therapy is used as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent infection in cases of occupational exposure, and use has recently been expanded to nonoccupational exposure. Studies have demonstrated a lack of awareness of non-occupational PEP (NOPEP) in the general population.

Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge and attitudes towards availability of, access to and use of NO-PEP amongst first- and second-year medical students.

Setting: Participants were medical undergraduates of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape of South Africa who were registered in 2013.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study of 169 students was performed. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires handed out in a classroom in August 2013. Self-reported knowledge and attitudes towards NO-PEP and barriers to access to and use of NO-PEP were analysed using frequency tables. Associations between self-reported and objective knowledge of NO-PEP were analysed by odds ratios.

Results: Over 90% of students had good knowledge on HIV transmission, and about 75% knew how it can be prevented. Twenty eight per cent (n = 47) of students reported knowledge of NO-PEP; 67% reported hearing about it from lecturers, whilst 1% reported hearing about it from their partner. Students
who knew the correct procedure to take when a dose is forgotten were 2.4 times more likely to report knowledge of NO-PEP than those who did not know what to do when a dose is forgotten (p = 0.029). No other associations were statistically signifiant.

Conclusion: Students had positive attitudes towards the use of NO-PEP and also identifid barriers to its use. Despite good knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission, knowledge on NO-PEP was poor.


Keywords

awareness; knowledge; attitudes; beliefs; non-occupational HIV) ;post exposure prophylaxis

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