Introduction: The HIV infection is regarded as one of the most serious threads for public health worldwide and the role of healthcare professionals in tackling the epidemic is of uttermost importance. According to the literature there is a profound lack of knowledge, either in the population at large or also among students and healthcare personnel. Scope: the current study investigates the level of knowledge, beliefs and perceptions of healthcare students regarding AIDS and their views regarding the role of the health authorities and their preventive strategies against AIDS. Methods: 200 healthcare students, randomly assigned according to the study design were reached and completed a questionnaire with questions on demographic data, on knowledge acquisition and their personal beliefs, practices and attitudes on the AIDS disease. Results: the data analysis indicated that the level of knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of the healthcare students is sufficient regarding the methods of the virus transmission, the natural history and the social consequences of the disease. Insufficient knowledge was indicated regarding the clinical and laboratory findings and the therapeutic treatment of the disease. Almost most participants admitted to have personally adopted a healthy sexual behavior, due to the risk of contracting the disease in an adverse case and the majority responded positively regarding the use of condoms. A high percentage of the sample would be willing to have an HIV carrier/patient in their home or in their friendly social environment. On the contrary they would be rather reluctant to treat an AIDS patient in their ward. Conclusions: preventive measures for combating the AIDS epidemic should be introduced in parallel with ongoing targeted education addressing healthcare students and employees in order to sensitize them towards the nature of the AIDS disease and its social stigma. The above is of paramount importance for safeguarding the expansion of the disease. [Mater Sociomed 2011; 23(1.000): 43-47]

AIDS; HIV; knowledge; attitudes; perceptions; healthcare students

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