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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


Knowledge and attitudes toward AIDS among

female college students in Nagasaki, Japan

Health Education Research, Vol. 15, No. 1, 5-11, February 2000

© 2000 Oxford University Press

E. Maswanya, K. Moji1, K. Aoyagi, Y. Yahata, Y. Kusano, K. Nagata, T. Izumi

and T. Takemoto

Department of Public Health, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki

852-8523, Japan


Correspondence to: K. Aoyagi


This study assesses knowledge and attitudes concerning HIV infection and individuals with AIDS among 383 female students attending colleges in Nagasaki, Japan. A structured questionnaire containing questions concerning knowledge about AIDS, sources of information, beliefs and attitudes toward people with HIV/AIDS was administered during sessions set up for that purpose. The mean age of participants was 18.8 ± 0.8 years (± SD). The main source of information for AIDS awareness as reported by the students was the mass media. Good knowledge about AIDS was positively associated with ease of acceptance of living in the same house with a person diagnosed with AIDS [odds ratio (OR): 1.90; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07–3.38]. However, residing at home (OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.42–0.98) and involvement in nurse education programmes (OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.37–0.95) showed a negative association. Students demonstrated a high level of knowledge concerning AIDS and HIV, but had considerable misconceptions and prejudices about people having HIV/AIDS. Our results suggest that a more appropriate education programme in colleges in Japan may be necessary to reduce the discrepancy between general knowledge and desirable attitude regarding HIV/AIDS.