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AIDS. 1989 Mar;3(3):147-54.

1988 public awareness survey on AIDS and condoms in Uganda.

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Queens' College, Cambridge, UK.


This report presents the results of a survey conducted between February and April 1988 to ascertain Ugandans' perception of AIDS as a problem, their knowledge of the disease and how it is spread, the resultant change in their sexual behaviour and their knowledge of, and attitudes towards, condoms. Two hundred and four people (98 women, 106 men) were interviewed from three locations; Kampala (an area with a high incidence of AIDS), Kabale, a town in central Kigezi, and villages in North Kigezi (both relatively low incidence areas). The main points to emerge are: (1) all the respondents were aware of the disease; (2) only 3.6% of respondents mentioned AIDS of their own accord as a problem for Uganda; (3) those in Kampala were most knowledgeable and men in all three areas were generally more informed than women; (4) change in behaviour was more pronounced in those who had known an AIDS victim personally; (5) 100% of men and 79% of women had heard of condoms but only eight men (9.4%) and one woman (1.0%) used condoms regularly for the prevention of AIDS, and (6) there was, nonetheless, a degree of willingness to use condoms once informed that they could reduce the risk of AIDS.


204 Ugandans (98 women and 106 men) were surveyed in early 1988 to assess Ugandans' perceptions of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) as a social problem, their knowledge of the diseases and its modes of transmission, resultant changes in their sexual behavior, and their attitudes toward condoms. Respondents were drawn from 3 locations: Kampala, an area with a high incidence of AIDS; Kabale, a town in central Kigezi with a low prevalence of AIDS; and villages in North Kigezi, also relatively low incidence areas. In general, respondents did not consider AIDS to be a major problem in their community or in Uganda as a whole and only those from Kampala perceived AIDS as the most serious disease facing Uganda today. Kampala residents and men in all 3 locations were most informed about AIDS and its transmission. 3-4 correct modes of spread were identified by 31% of respondents in the villages, 32% in Kabale, and 67% in Kampala. 90% knew that the best way to avoid AIDS as to be sexually monogamous. Condoms were suggested as a further preventive measures by 19% of respondents in Kabale, 17% in Kampala, and 1.5% in the villages. 68% of men in Kabale, 52% in the villages, and 14% in Kampala admitted contact with prostitutes. 50% of men and 16% of women in Kampala have been treated for a sexually transmitted disease. In response to the AIDS threat, 32% of those in Kampala, 20% in Kabale, and 31% in the villages claimed to have changed their sexual behavior. 21% of respondents in the villages, 19% in Kabale, and 36% in Kampala would be willing to use condoms to reduce the risk of AIDS, although lack of availability constitutes a major barrier. Since marital infidelity is widespread and socially acceptable in Uganda, an effort should be made to target married men for education on AIDS.

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