Knowledge About HIV/AIDS: An Intergenerational Perspective

Knowledge About HIV/AIDS: An Intergenerational Perspective

Ana Frias (Universidade de Évora, Portugal), Jorge Guerrero-Martin (Universidad de Extremadura, Spain), Maria Barros (Universidade de Évora, Portugal), Maria Chora (Universidade de Évora, Portugal) and Margarida Sim-Sim (Universidade de Évora, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9818-3.ch013


Generations of young people, adults, and the elderly have or have had different ways of acquiring knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The accessibility of information, the evolution of information technology, or the sexualized connotation can influence knowledge in the various generations. This chapter explores how these people have accessed that information.
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Ways of acting on HIV infection have changed over time and increasing knowledge allows some level of prevention. The work and effort has been great, in partnership with several organizations, aims to reach the goals proposed for 2020. The expression 90/90/90, conveys the urgency of achieving 90% of people diagnosed, of these, 90% in treatment and of these, 90% with undetectable viral load (UNAIDS, 2014, WHO, 2019a). HIV / AIDS infection has been known in Portugal since the 1980s (Sabino, Barreto, & Sanabani, 2005). This fact concentrated the largest number of people in Africa, which held more than half of the world's cases (WHO, 2019a).

Between 1961-1975, it was estimated that there were around 1 million Portuguese young people in Portugal who had completed their military service in Angola, Guinea and Mozambique (Pereira, Pedras, Lopes, Pereira, & Machado, 2010). The impact of the Portuguese colonial war on the spread of HIV infection is unclear. Some authors point out that the epidemiological link between HIV-2 and Portugal, initiated during the presence of the colonial army, was recognized with the first cases in Europe in Portuguese veterans (Poulsen, Aaby, Jensen, & Dias, 2000). Although the occurrence of HIV infection was unknown for young people who were in military service and for drug addicts at that time, the risks were high (DGS, 2018) without any incidence or prevalence. Access to knowledge was scarce, stigmatization of high sexuality, prejudice precluded the search for information and indeed, conditions of propagation were facilitated, given the long history of association between war, drugs and sexual experimentation (Bergan-Cico, 2012, Calado, 2016). From the 1980s onwards, and in an attempt to cope with the pandemic, health policies sought to address the problem (DGS, 2018). It is even recognized by the WHO to change health policies in Portugal, aiming to reach strong responses regarding the extinction of the infection until 2030 (WHO, 2019b). Currently, the information sources are very diversified and register preferences according to the age of the users, that is, they vary with the generations and the accessibility (Li et al., 2009). Today new technologies are the great way to communicate. This can be seen, for example, in DGS social networks, supported by new technologies and a rise of 89% in the number of followers (INSA, 2018).

Community intervention projects, NGO programs, and other associations complement health services by extending screening to other contexts, including academic ones. The creation of projects in this area improves accessibility to information, however, in Europe, more specifically in Portugal, HIV infection continues to present a serious public health problem. In 2017, 1068 new cases of HIV infection were identified (INSA, 2018). In 2017, the national epidemiological surveillance database presents a rate of 10.4 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants (INSA, 2018), which is higher than the 2016 data (INSA, 2017), with a new 8.1 100,000 inhabitants, higher than the EU average (6.3) (WHO, 2019a). By living with several generations in the same family, by focusing on individual health models, models of expression of sexuality and communicating values ​​inheritance, it will be of interest to know the level of knowledge about HIV / AIDS within the family age groups. Thus, the objective of the present study is to describe the knowledge about HIV / AIDS transmission among nursing students and their families.

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