Percentage of young women and men aged 15-24 who both correctly identify ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and who reject major misconceptions about HIV transmission
It measures progress towards universal knowledge of the essential facts about HIV transmission.
HIV epidemics are perpetuated through primarily sexual transmission of infection to successive generations of young people. Sound knowledge about HIV is an essential pre-requisite—albeit, often an insufficient condition—for adoption of behaviours that reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
Number of respondents aged 15–24 years who gave the correct answer to all five questions.
1. Can the risk of HIV transmission be reduced by having sex withonly one uninfected partner who has no other partners?
2. Can a person reduce the risk of getting HIV by using a condom every time they have sex?
3. Can a healthy-looking person have HIV?
4. Can a person get HIV from mosquito bites?
5. Can a person get HIV by sharing food with someone who is infected?
Explanation of Numerator
The first three questions should not be altered. Questions 4 and 5 ask about local misconceptions and may
be replaced by the most common misconceptions in your country. Examples include: “Can a person get
HIV by hugging or shaking hands with a person who is infected?” and “Can a person get HIV through
Those who have never heard of HIV and AIDS should be excluded from the numerator but included in the
denominator. An answer of “don’t know” should be recorded as an incorrect answer.
Scores for each of the individual questions (based on the same denominator) are required as well as the
score for the composite indicator.
Number of all respondents aged 15–24
The belief that a healthy-looking person cannot be infected with HIV is a common misconception
that can result in unprotected sexual intercourse with infected partners. Rejecting major misconceptions
about modes of HIV transmission is as important as correct knowledge of true modes of transmission.
For example, belief that HIV is transmitted through mosquito bites can weaken motivation to adopt safer
sexual behaviour, while belief that HIV can be transmitted through sharing food reinforces the stigma
faced by people living with AIDS.
This indicator is particularly useful in countries where knowledge about HIV and AIDS is poor because it
permits easy measurement of incremental improvements over time. However, it is also important in other countries as it can be used to ensure that pre-existing high levels of knowledge are maintained.