Youth and human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome: a cross-sectional study from a slum in Mumbai

Abhishek V. Raut


Background: Young people, more than any other age group, have been adversely affected by globalization, violence, advances in information and communication technology and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The objective of the study was to assess the knowledge and epidemiological determinants related to HIV-AIDS among the youth in the urban slum.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in Malvani slum area of Mumbai among 540 youth between 15 to 24 years of age. Two stage systematic random sampling method was used with individual household being the sampling unit.

Results: Almost everybody had heard of HIV/AIDS. 21.5% participants had comprehensive knowledge about HIV AIDS. There were many misconceptions about how HIV-AIDS can spread. 57% thought that HIV-AIDS could spread by kissing, 22.7% said that HIV-AIDS could spread by sharing belongings. 36.8% thought that HIV- AIDS could spread through urine while 62.6% thought HIV- AIDS to be spread by saliva. 23.9% said that withdrawing penis before ejaculation could prevent HIV-AIDS and that there was no need to use condoms in that case. The predictors for comprehensive knowledge of HIV-AIDS in study participants were religion, education and per capita income.

Conclusion: Although almost everybody had heard of HIV/AIDS, only around 21% had correct and comprehensive knowledge about HIV-AIDS. This reflects a massive gap that needs to be bridged, as awareness becomes the first step for initiating the behavior change process.


Youth, HIV, AIDS, Comprehensive knowledge

Full Text:



United Nations. 2006. World Youth Report 2005. Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. 2007. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 2005–06: India: Volume II. Mumbai: IIPS.

United Nations. 2008. World Youth Report 2007. Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York.

Joshi B N, Chauhan S L, Bhadoria V, Tryambake V, Gaikwad N, Ghule M. Reproductive health problems and help seeking behavior among adolescents in urban India, Indian Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 73, Number 6 / June, 2006, 509-513.

Benara SK, Khalucha RK, Chaudhury BN, Ramaswamy J, Bhattacharyya J, Chawala U. AIDS: a survey of knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of undergraduate students of Delhi University. Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 1992;17(4):155-9.

Francis PT, Gill JS, Choudhary S. Knowledge, behaviour and attitude regarding AIDS, STDs, human sexuality among senior students in Delhi, Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 1994; January – March.