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Education and Media Key to Improving HIV/AIDS Awareness and Knowledge Levels in Afghanistan, New InterMedia Report Says
Date:4/2/2008

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- InterMedia, a Washington, D.C.-based research, evaluation and consulting organization, today released findings from a nationwide survey of Afghanistan that finds low awareness and knowledge levels about HIV/AIDS, but also shows that education and access to media are important predictors for heightened awareness.

Some key findings from HIV and AIDS Awareness in Afghanistan include:

-- Only 1 percent of respondents were able to correctly answer all of seven true/false statements about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted and treated.

-- The single most important factor linked to HIV/AIDS awareness is level of formal education. Other factors, such as sex, age, urban/rural residence, region and income, also play a role.

-- Of survey respondents who are aware of HIV and/or AIDS, media is named as a major source of information by the majority (64 percent). No other information factor (health workers, family, Afghan government, etc.) was named by more than 12 percent.

InterMedia released the findings as part of a report that looks at HIV/AIDS awareness and knowledge levels across Afghanistan (the report is available by contacting InterMedia; details below). The data come from an InterMedia nationally representative survey of 2,057 respondents.

"Any improvement in knowledge may be important in preventing the spread of this disease, which Afghan society is ill-equipped to combat," said Dr. Haleh Vaziri, InterMedia's Regional Research Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, including Afghanistan. "However, especially in light of Afghanistan's limited human and economic resources, the effort to spread the word and improve knowledge must be cost effective. Although a multi-pronged approach to increasing awareness is most desirable, investment in HIV/AIDS education through media, particularly radio and television, may make the most sense in the short- to medium-term."
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SOURCE InterMedia
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