Students' knowledge of and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS: a case study in a rural secondary school

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kajoro

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mweru Mwingi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Since HIV and HIV epidemic has become a threat everywhere in the world correct HIV/AIDS education should be considered a priority in order to protect people’s lives. However, the provision of HIV and AIDS education has been marred by socio-cultural constraints in Zanzibar and Pemba putting people’s lives including students’ at high risk of getting HIV infection. Thus, I set out to explore students’ knowledge and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS in a secondary school in Pemba. A qualitative research approach was used in which interviews and observations were used to get an in-depth understanding of the participants’ ideas, views, feelings and opinions about HIV and AIDS. This case study revealed that students’ knowledge of HIV and AIDS was moderate. There were those who had correct information of HIV and AIDS and those who had inadequate and incorrect knowledge of the epidemic. It was also found that the students’ attitudes towards the use of condoms as one of ways of HIV prevention was negative compared to the other two ways of abstinence and faithfulness. It was also apparent, from the participants’ responses, that these attitudes were strongly influenced by religious and cultural factors. Furthermore, it was found that all the participants had positive attitudes towards people living with HIV. It was therefore recommended that there was a need for students’ HIV and AIDS understanding to be reinforced and more efforts be taken especially to those students who had inadequate knowledge. This is because correct HIV and AIDS education is essential to positively impact on people’s knowledge and ultimately on people’s attitudes, behaviors and actions in matters pertaining to their sexual lives. This would greatly reward the efforts to protect lives from the deadly HIV and AIDS epidemic.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library