Globally, young people are among the most vulnerable groups to HIV/AIDS, while adequate knowledge about the disease is key to their protection. This paper presents a mixed method analysis of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among young people in the Ejura-Sekyedumase district of Ghana. The study relies on questionnaire-based data from a random sample of 450 males and females of age 15 to 24, as well as qualitative data from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Data analyses employed frequencies, percentage distributions, content analysis and direct quotations as the main tools. Chi square test of independence was employed to find the association between background characteristics and knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The study showed that all the 450 respondents had heard of HIV/AIDS. The most important sources of information were radio (86%) and television (72.2%). The common sources of infection of HIV/AIDS as well as the means of prevention were also known. Misconceptions about the disease nevertheless existed. Nearly half (48.4%) believed that HIV/AIDS could be spread by mosquito bites, while 34% said the disease could be spread by spiritual means. Factors associated with knowledge of HIV/AIDS were education, place of residence, religion, ethnicity, and living arrangements. The findings call for increased access to formal education to defuse false perceptions and beliefs, the need for sustained HIV/AIDS education and communication, and HIV/AIDS education in health settings, among others.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, knowledge, young people, Ghana, Ejura-Sekyedumase district.
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