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Research Articles

Knowledge and risk perception towards human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B infections among medical students

Authors:

M. Mehndiratta ,

University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi-110093, IN
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R. Kar,

University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi-110093, IN
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E. A. Almeida,

University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi-110093, IN
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A. Goel,

Dr. BR Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences, IN
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R. Mehndiratta

Skin and Laser Clinic, New Delhi, 110092, IN
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Abstract

Background and objectives: Nosocomial human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are common occupational hazards transmitted through infected needle-stick injuries. Younger medical students are at a higher risk of exposure mainly because of their inexperience and ignorance. Both these infections are preventable if standard precautions and protocols for post-exposure prophylaxis are followed. The present study assesses the knowledge, and risk perception among medical students and interns towards HIV and HBV infections, to guide instructors in planning appropriate training programmes.

 

Methods: Following approval of the institutional ethics committee of University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India, (UCMS) undergraduate medical students and interns were invited to respond to an indigenously designed questionnaire regarding HIV and HBV infections. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The students were assessed vertically.

 

Results: There was a gradual increase in the awareness regarding HIV and HBV infection with each passing academic year. The percentage of total questions answered correctly was highest (91.1%) in internship and lowest (71.5%) in the first semester. Awareness regarding HIV was greater as compared to HBV infection in all the groups. Interns had maximum awareness of post exposure prophylaxis available for both HIV and HBV infections. Ninth semester students scored the highest on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HBV infection. Overall, the interns were the most aware.

 

Conclusion: Students’ knowledge on HIV and HBV infections improves as these areas are covered in greater detail during exposure to clinical disciplines. An early clinical exposure module for first year medical students in the Competency Based Medical Education curriculum may provide an opportunity to improve awareness, to reduce infection and subsequent morbidity. The students have greater awareness of HIV than HBV, though the risk of transmission is higher for the latter. Thus, shortcomings in imparting knowledge about hepatitis B must be identified and rectified.
How to Cite: Mehndiratta, M., Kar, R., Almeida, E.A., Goel, A. and Mehndiratta, R., 2022. Knowledge and risk perception towards human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B infections among medical students. Sri Lankan Journal of Infectious Diseases, 12(2), pp.E25 1–9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljid.v12i2.8437
Published on 26 Jul 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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