More Than Half Serbian High School Students Would Associate With HIV Positive People

BELGRADE – More than half of Serbian high school students would continue to associate with HIV-positive people, a third would not know what to do in such situation, while only 10 percent would end the friendship, is the result of a questionnaire answered by more than 1,000 students in Serbia, Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the impression of educators in the campaign “HIV keywords – Protect yourself with knowledge”, conducted in 33 high schools in 24 cities in Serbia, in which participated 1,092 students, when it comes to attitude towards people with HIV there is still a significant percentage of those who are not sure what would they do if they would find out that their friend was infected with HIV.

“Fifty-seven percent would not stop socializing, 33 percent does not know how would they react, while 10 percent have a discriminatory attitude,” says the statement.

Educators believe that the special classes were influenced by the change in the attitude of students towards increased tolerance towards persons living with HIV.

“Lack of knowledge is often present with young people, or incomplete or inaccurate information, particularly about taboo topics,” said the director of the Institute of Public Health, dr. Dragan Ilic.

Analysis of input questionnaires, which students would fill at the beginning of the class, showed that 91 percent of young people do not know that HIV cannot be transmitted by shaking hands, 78 percent that HIV cannot be transmitted by using the same glass, and 86 percent knows that condom is the safest means of protection against HIV.

Generally, students know least about whether AIDS is curable (53 percent gave the correct answer) and whether insects can transmit HIV (64 percent gave the correct answer).

In the campaign “HIV keywords – Protect yourself with knowledge”, besides the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and Ministry of Youth and Sports also participated. The campaign was realized in cooperation with the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr. Milan Jovanovic Batut”, institutes of public health, offices for youth and associations.

The campaign was realized through the HIV project by the Ministry of Health funded by a donation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.