HIV is Human Immunodeficiency Virus that leads to HIV infection. AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus, one of the most life threatening stage of HIV infection. The virus destroys the immune system of a human body leading to life threatening conditions in later stages.
The PDHS 2012-13 reports the knowledge, attitudes regarding HIV/AIDS and behavior towards HIV/AIDS in population of Pakistan. The respondents were asked about knowledge, their accepting attitudes and behavior towards Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) /AIDS. The respondents were ever married men and women of age groups in between 15 to 49 years were included and they were inquired about if they had ever heard of HIV/AIDs. The respondents who responded yes were asked further question regarding knowledge and preventive measures for HIV/AIDS transmission.
Comparison of knowledge of HIV/AIDS in Population of Pakistan.
AIDS related Knowledge (% who have heard)
The PDHS shows that there were 42.1 percent of ever married women and there were 69.2 percent of ever married men in Pakistan who had heard about AIDs. It was seen that women and men belonging to Islamabad (ICT) had highest level of knowledge regarding AIDS which were 82.9 percent and 91.2 percent respectively. However knowledge about AIDs was lowest in Gilgit Baltistan which was 12.1 % for women and 43.9 % for men followed by Balochistan (21.8 % for women and 58.2 % for men).Figure 1 showing percentages of women and men who had knowledge of AIDS
The survey showed that there was same pattern for comprehensive knowledge of AIDS like for the knowledge of AIDS (% of who have heard) among different populations in Pakistan. Islamabad had highest percentages for knowledge regarding AIDs. Gilgit Baltistan had lowest percentages of knowledge.
Figure 2 showing in depth knowledge regarding transmission of AIDS
Knowledge of HIV prevention methods
Pakistan had its one program at national level for prevention of HIV named Pakistan’s National AIDS Control Program with aims of reduction in AIDS Virus transmission by creating awareness among masses. The respondents were asked on key education messages provided by the National AIDS Control Program that were prevention by using condoms, prevention by limiting the sex and prevention by using condoms and limited sex. Islamabad showed highest no. of individuals for both the genders who had knowledge for HIV prevention methods.
Knowledge regarding Transmission of HIV from Mother to Child
For assessing the knowledge for transmission from Mother to Child , the respondents we asked questions whether transmission of virus can occur from a mother to a child through breastfeeding and whether if there is any potential Risk of transmission which can be reduced if the mother takes special medications during pregnancy or whether both of them can reduce transmission of HIV.
Gilgit Baltistan reported the lowest percentages for the knowledge regarding transmission of HIV from this route.
Attitudes of Acceptance towards Individuals with HIV and AIDS
Pakistani population has many fears regarding HIV/AIDs transmission because HIV infected individuals are stigmatized and discriminated in a society. These attitudes towards an infected individual bring very adverse effects to his mental health. The respondents who were ever married men and women of ages in between ages between 15- 49 years with knowledge of AIDS were inquired about few more questions to determine the level of acceptance for an infected individual.
The attitudes of acceptance towards those living with HIV/AIDS increase in both the genders with increased educational and socioeconomic status. In Balochistan women and men both showed the lowest percentages of acceptance i.e. 9.5 percent and 8.9 percent respectively. However men from Sindh showed least percentage of acceptance i.e. 8.1 percent.
Knowledge about Testing for HIV
Percentages of women and men in ages between 15-49 years ever married were assessed for their knowledge regarding test services. Islamabad showed highest percentages of women and men who had knowledge on where to get HIV testing i.e. 38.5 percent and 49.1 percent respectively possibly because of better educational and socio economic status and better health facilities in the region. Gilgit Baltistan had lowest percentages i.e. 4.4 percent and 14.9 percent for women and men.
Figure 3 showing Knowledge about HIV testing
Individuals reporting with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in past 12 months
In PDHS 2012-13 it was shown that there were individuals who self-reported for sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) is very low by both the genders in Pakistan thus leading to underestimation of actual burden of disease. However ever married women of 15 -19 years age from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported highest percentage all over Pakistan i.e. 8.3 percent for reporting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Figure 4 showing percentage of women and men of ages in between 15-49 years who reported themselves for STIs
Prevalence of exposure to medical injections
Exposure to medical injections which are non-sterile may lead to potential risk of transmission of infections like HIV/AIDS. In PDHS 2012-13 there was asked a set of questions in order to assess the exposure to non-sterile medical injections in past 12 months also we assess that they might have a chance of getting HIV/AIDS. Gilgit Baltistan showed the least percentages for receiving medical injections in last 12 months for both the genders.
Figure 5 showing Prevalence of exposure to medical injections by ever married women and ever married men according to PDHS 2012-13