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Letter to the Editor
2011:77:2;197-199
doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.77466
PMID: 21393955

Knowledge and attitude of auto-rickshaw drivers about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases

SS Chaudhary1 , MM Nagargoje1 , SS Kubde2 , AK Bhardwaj3 , R Singh3
1 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, S.N. Medical College, Agra, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Jhalawar Medical College and Hospital, Jhalawar (Rajasthan), India

Correspondence Address:
S S Chaudhary
Lecturer, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, S.N. Medical College, Agra (Uttar Pradesh) 282002
India
How to cite this article:
Chaudhary S S, Nagargoje M M, Kubde S S, Bhardwaj A K, Singh R. Knowledge and attitude of auto-rickshaw drivers about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2011;77:197-199
Copyright: (C)2011 Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology

Sir,

Auto-rickshaws are the main mode of public transport in urban and semi-urban areas. These auto-rickshaws are a cheap and easily available source of public transport in most of the cities. Nagpur is one of the biggest cities and the second capital of Maharashtra. It is situated in the central part of India. As for many other cities; the auto-rickshaws are main mode of public transport in Nagpur city. As we all know, long distance drivers, i.e. truck and lorry drivers, are at a higher risk of acquiring various sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS due to their high risk behavior. The auto-rickshaw drivers can also exhibit this high risk behavior. They are mobile throughout day and night and are consistently visiting red light areas of the city to ferry female sex workers and their clients to and from these areas. So, it is very important for their own and family′s safety to have a fair knowledge of various STDs including HIV/AIDS. There have been several studies on the knowledge and attitude of long distance truck, [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] bus, [2],[3] and taxi [2],[3],[4],[5] drivers about HIV/AIDS and other STDs; but very few studies have been carried out on auto-rickshaw drivers. [5],[6],[7],[8] Therefore, this cross-sectional study was conducted with the objective of finding the knowledge and attitude of auto-rickshaw drivers regarding sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The period of study was from June 2006 to December 2008. Approval from institutional ethical committee was taken before commencing the study. A pilot study was done on 100 subjects to check the feasibility of the study and to test the proforma. Sample size for the main study was also calculated based on the findings of this pilot study. Subjects were conveniently selected from auto-rickshaw stand of Nagpur railway station after confirming that they had enough time to be interviewed and examined. Confidentiality of the study subjects was assured and maintained throughout the study. Informed consent of each study participant was taken before starting the interview.

A total 296 auto-rickshaw drivers were studied. Mean age of study subjects was 41.70 ± 9.05 years, with a range of 20-65 years. 84.80% of the subjects belonged to the age group of 20-49 years which is considered to be the most vulnerable age for HIV/AIDS. 48% subjects were Hindus, 99.32% were ever married and 56.08% belonged to nuclear family. 9.80% subjects were illiterate and 46.96% belonged to upper lower socioeconomic class.

[Table - 1] shows the distribution of study subjects according to their knowledge and attitude regarding sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. 92.57% subjects had ever heard of HIV/AIDS, while 84.46% knew that HIV/AIDS was a sexually transmitted disease and 23.99% knew that HIV was the cause of AIDS. Only 5.07% had heard of any other STDs.

Table 1: Distribution of study subjects according to their knowledge and attitude regarding sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS (n = 296)

Most common source of knowledge regarding STDs including HIV/AIDS was television (70.27%). Other mentioned common sources of knowledge were banner/posters (32.09%), newspapers (30.41%), doctors (19.59%) and radio (12.16%).

Regarding knowledge of transmission routes of HIV/AIDS, the following results were found: both homo and heterosexual intercourse (58.78%), sharing of needles (50.34%), receiving infected blood (25.34%), from mother to her baby (22.64%), sharing razors or brushes (20.61%) and breast feeding (10.14%). 66.55% subjects said that condom use was necessary during each sexual intercourse to prevent HIV/AIDS, while 53.04% said that single unprotected sex could cause HIV/AIDS.

Regarding attitude towards persons living with HIV/AIDS, 53.04% subjects said that they would not avoid a person with HIV/AIDS, while 69.59% said they would remain friendly with persons living with HIV/AIDS and 69.93% said that people living with HIV/AIDS should be allowed to continue their work [Figure - 1].

Figure 1: Distribution of study subjects according to their attitude toward people with HIV/AIDS (n=296)

When the study subjects were further asked with whom they would like to discuss regarding STDs including HIV/AIDS, 200 (67.57%) subjects said that they would like to discuss it with doctors, while 65 (21.96%) subjects would like to discuss it with friends and 23 (7.77%) subjects would like to discuss it with relatives.

So, the level of knowledge of auto-rickshaw drivers regarding various STDs including HIV/AIDS was not satisfactory. It is recommended to make them aware regarding transmission route, safe sex and regular condom use which can be done through health education campaigns by using mass media (i.e. TV, radio, newspaper) or by conducting health camps.

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