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© 2016 Haroun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is among the top two regions in the world with the fastest growing HIV epidemic. In this context, risks and vulnerability are high as the epidemic is on the rise with evidence indicating significantly increasing HIV prevalence, new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. Objective: The aim of the survey was to assess HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes related to HIV/ AIDS among a wide group of university students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: In a cross-sectional survey, a total sample of 2,294 students (406 male; 1,888 female) from four universities in three different Emirates in the UAE were approached to take part in the study. Students self-completed a questionnaire that was designed to measure their knowledge and attitudes to HIV/AIDS. Results: The overall average knowledge score of HIV.AIDS was 61%. Non-Emirati and postgraduates demonstrated higher levels of knowledge compared to Emirati and undergraduate students respectively. No significant differences between males and females; and marital status were found. Eighty-five percent of students expressed negative attitudes towards people living with HIV, with Emirati and single students significantly holding more negative attitudes compared to non-Emiratis and those that are married respectively. Conclusions: The findings provide strong evidence that there is a need to advocate for appropriate National HIV/AIDS awareness raising campaigns in universities to reduce the gaps in knowledge and decrease stigmatizing attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS.




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Life Sciences


awareness, controlled study, female, human, Human immunodeficiency virus, major clinical study, male, marriage, married person, postgraduate student, questionnaire, undergraduate student, United Arab Emirates, university student, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, attitude to health, cross-sectional study, psychology, student, United Arab Emirates, university, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Awareness, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Students, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Arab Emirates, Universities

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series

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Life Sciences Commons