HIV/AIDS-Related Knowledge Among Malaysian Young Adults: Findings From a Nationwide Survey

Li-Ping Wong; Caroline-Kwong Leng Chin; Wah-Yun Low; Nasruddin Jaafar


Medscape J Med. 2008;10(6):148 

In This Article


The Nationwide Survey on HIV/AIDS Knowledge, Attitudes and Risk Behavior was conducted in 2006 for the Health Education Division, Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia by the University of Malaya. The main objective of the survey was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS among people aged 15 to 49 years. The data collection was carried out between the months of June and July 2006.

A cross-sectional design was used in the survey. Respondents were interviewed face-to-face using a structured questionnaire, and questions on risk behavior were self-administered.

Multistage random sampling design with probability proportional to size was used in the survey. The studies were conducted in 4 states from Peninsular Malaysia and both states in East Malaysia. The 4 states from Peninsular Malaysia were randomly selected by dividing the peninsula into 4 zones: North, South, East and West. In each zone, a state was randomly chosen. Then a district was randomly selected from the 6 selected states (Figure 1). A district is geopolitically divided into several mukims or sections. Therefore, a mukim was randomly selected from a chosen district. Finally, an urban and a rural area were selected randomly from a mukim. At the household level, stratified random selection based on major ethnicity (Malay, Chinese, and Indian; ratio of 5:4:1, respectively) and sex (male to female ratio of 1.03) was carried out. Households were selected randomly from the areas chosen in a mukim. If a household had more than 1 eligible respondent, only two of them from different age generations were selected. Based on census data,17] the total population aged 15-49 years in Malaysia was 12,536,500. The calculated sample size was 2017, using the 95% confidence interval, 80% power, and 0.02 error margins. However, considering the possibility of questionnaires being rejected due to incompleteness and nonresponse from participants, the sample size was increased by an additional 20%, giving a total sample size of 2420.

Figure 1.

The selected 6 districts where data were collected.

The study was conducted after approval had been obtained from the Medical Ethics Committee, University Malaya Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All participants were informed of the objective of the study and verbal consents were received from the respondents for interview.

The questionnaire was developed based on a literature review of other similar surveys in the region as well as globally and was reviewed and validated by a panel from the Ministry of Health. The questionnaires were made available in 4 languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin, and Tamil) and were pilot tested and revised before the survey.

Knowledge of HIV/ AIDS consisted of: (1) several aspects of general HIV/AIDS knowledge (7 questions), (2) modes of HIV infection (14 questions), (3) prevention of HIV infection (6 questions), and (4) HIV testing (5 questions). Responses were scored 1 if correct and 0 if incorrect or unanswered. The overall knowledge score was calculated by adding the scores from each of the 4 sections of the test. Possible overall knowledge scores ranged from 0 to 32.

The knowledge of availability of HIV/AIDS-related health services in the country was also queried, whereby respondents were asked where to seek HIV/AIDS related testing, treatment, and counseling or advice.

Statistical Package of Social Science (SPPS Inc.; Chicago, Illinois) version 13.0 was used for data management and analyses. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, means, medians, and standard deviations were performed to give general descriptions of the data. T-test and ANOVA were performed to examine differences in knowledge scores and demographic variables. The level for statistical significance was set at P < .05. Only significant results were discussed.


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