Knowledge and perceptions of HIV/AIDS risk and vulnerability among students with visual impairments in Makerere University.
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The Human immune deficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS) epidemic poses a threat to all people in all countries. There are a number of interventions targeting people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS to improve on their wellbeing. HIV/AIDS is a reality among the although little research has been done to address this issue. For instance, there are no statistics indicating the number of visually impaired who have died or been infected by the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. Interventions such as HIV/AIDS education and prevention campaigns on safer sex practices have not particularly targeted the visually impaired. This makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and at high risk of infection.This report presents a full account of the study carried out on, knowledge, perceptions and HIV/ AIDS risks and vulnerability among students with visual impairments in Makerere University Kampala The report comprises of five chapters, namely; introduction, literature review, methodology, results and discussions, conclusion and recommendations. The main objective of this study was to examine the knowledge and perceptions of HIV/AIDS risks and vulnerability of visually impaired students in Makerere University. The specific objectives of the study were;to explore the perception of risk and vulnerability to HIV among students with visual impairments, to explore the drivers of HIV risk –taking behaviors among students with visual impairments and to assess health system, facility and community factors (barriers and facilitators) that influence demand for and access to HIV services to students with visual impairment. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative research approach,in order to achieve the above objectives a well-structured questionnaire was administered to the population of interest, a focus group discussion was conducted as well as interviews with key informants and the data obtained was analysed using Microsoft word and excel. Descriptive survey method was used to collect data. The sample size consisted of 50 visually impaired students. Descriptive statistics such as means and percentages were used to analyze the data. The data was collected using questionnaires, and was then coded, entered in a computer, cleaned and analyzed using Excel. The positive results of this study are that all the respondents were aware and had knowledge of HIV/AIDS in relation to modes of transmission, prevention and the gravity of the epidemic. In spite of the high knowledge levels reported, the visually impaired students had less knowledge and more misconceptions compared to the sighted students. It is the recommendation of this study that the governmentand other stakeholders should increase education programmes to address the various misconceptions about HIV/AIDS transmission, ways through which HIV can and cannot be transmitted. The government should make available HIV/AIDS information in accessible formats for the visually impaired through Braille, audio tapes and large print visual aids. Visually impaired persons that have been affected and infected with the virus should also be used in the HIV/AIDS information education campaigns. Further research is recommended to include visually impaired people who are sexually active and those infected with HIV/AIDS.