Awareness, attitudes and behaviours regarding HIV voluntary counselling ad testing (VCT) among students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Howard College Campus.
This survey was conducted to describe the awareness, attitudes and behaviours regarding HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) among students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Howard College Campus residences. A quantitative descriptive study design and a simple random sampling technique were used in this study. One hundred and seventy - eight students who lived in residences of Howard College Campus voluntarily participated in the study and completed the anonymous questionnaires. The questions in the questionnaire were designed to collect the demographics information of the participants and to address their awareness, attitudes and behaviours regarding VCT. Analysis of findings revealed that the level of awareness of VCT was high among the students. The majority of the participants have heard of VCT before this survey and knew that campus clinic provided VCT service. To students, the two most major sources of VCT information were TV/radio and friends/classmates. A positive attitude towards VCT was found among the students. The participants perceived the benefits and importance of undergoing VCT as well as the value of counselling. Sixteen percent of all participants have received VCT and twenty - two percent intended to go for VCT within the following 6 months. The main reasons cited by students for undergoing VCT included: to know their health status, to recognize the risk to be exposed to HIV, and to seek for information about maintaining health. The main reasons for not seeking VCT were assuming their HIV status negative and unlikely exposure to HIV because they always practised safe sex. A need for VCT information was found in this study. Some barriers to VCT existed, such as perception of negative consequences of uptake of VCT (e.g. HIV - related stigma), low risk perception to HIV infection, and lack of VCT information. The findings suggest that there is a need for communication campaigns at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, to address knowledge gaps, reduction of stigma, and promoting awareness of vulnerability to HIV. The findings of this study could be used to assist to plan HIV prevention programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.