|Determinants of overall knowledge of and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS transmission among ever-married women in Pakistan: evidence from the Demographic and Health Survey 2012–13|
||Sarosh Iqbal, Sidra Maqsood, Asma Zafar, Rubeena Zakar, Muhammad Zakria Zakar, and Florian Fischer
||BMC Public Health, 19: 793; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7124-3
HIV/AIDS has emerged as a serious public health issue across the globe, and particularly in developing countries. Comprehensive knowledge and positive attitudes are cornerstones for the prevention, control and treatment of HIV/AIDS. However, there are various misconceptions associated with HIV/AIDS transmission, which lead to negative attitudes towards people living with AIDS. The present study aims to explore the effects of these determinants, related to socio-demographic characteristics and autonomy, on women’s overall knowledge and attitudes regarding HIV/AIDS in Pakistan.
Secondary data analysis was carried out using the national representative dataset of the 2012–13 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey. A series of questions related to HIV/AIDS was asked of 13,558 ever-married women aged 15–49?years to assess respondents’ knowledge regarding modes of HIV/AIDS transmission and preventative measures, as well as their attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were used to identify associations with socio-demographic and autonomy-related variables. Furthermore, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the association between multiple factors and overall HIV/AIDS knowledge as well as attitudes towards people living with AIDS.
The results show that only 42% of Pakistani women have heard about HIV/AIDS. Amongst these women, the majority (68%) have good overall knowledge of HIV/AIDS and more than 55% have positive attitudes towards people living with AIDS. Furthermore, women residing in urban areas, having at least secondary-level education, with high autonomy, belonging to the richest wealth quintile and having exposure to mass media had high overall knowledge and positive attitudes towards people living with AIDS.
The findings of this research support the relevance of women’s autonomy, education and exposure to mass media, particularly in rural areas of Pakistan, to address the lack of knowledge and eliminate various myths and stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, it reveals a need to increase focused and targeted interventions to enhance women’s knowledge and positive attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. In this regard, the media can play a proactive role to gauge wider audience in creating awareness and eradicating the myths and misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS.