Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Patricia Percival


This research addresses the issue of HIVIAIDS education for Year 10 students. The purpose of this study was twofold: to provide baseline data on students’ knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about HIV and AIDS (Phase 1), and to evaluate the effect of an education intervention on possible determinants of behaviour (Phase 2), Previous studies have Indicated that improved knowledge may influence risk-reducing behaviour. In addition, adolescents have numerous misconceptions about the cause and transmission of HIV. However, there has been no known assessment of AIDS knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of high school students in Western Australia. The study was guided by the Health Belief Model (HBM), which attempts to explain preventative health behaviour in terms of attitudes, values, and beliefs. Using a descriptive, quasi-experimental design, the study drew a non-random convenience sample of 269 students aged 14-15 years from two senior high schools in Perth, Western Australia. One school received the education intervention, and the other school was used as the control group. Phase 1: A questionnaire was administered to gather baseline data on AIDS knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk, and intention to change risk behaviours. Students were also asked to identify sources of HIV/AIDS information. Results revealed that students knew most about the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and least about its transmission. Understanding of the severity of the disease was poor, students reported high levels of fear, and varying degrees of willingness to practice risk-reducing behaviours. There was a significant relationship between knowledge of HIV/AIDS and perceived severity, perceived barriers, and perceived pressure. Schools, television and magazines were major sources of AIDS information. Phase 2: a pre-test was administered to both groups to gather data on existing AIDS knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk, and intention to change risk behaviours. The data gathered in Phase 1 also served as the pre-test data in Phase 2. Following the pre-test, students in the experimental group were given as HIV/AIDS education programme and tested immediately following its completion. Six weeks later, both groups were evaluated using a questionnaire identical to the pre-test and intervention test to allow comparison of data between the groups, and to evaluate the effect of the intervention of the following HBM variables: knowledge of HIV/ADIS, knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention, perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, preventive intentions, perceived barriers and perceived pressures. Data from the intervention test and post-test were used to evaluate knowledge retention rates in students in the experimental group. To allow for pre-test differences, post-test scores were subtracted from pre-test scores. Using these difference scores, !-test analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. Results indicated support for hypotheses investigating the effect of the intervention on adolescents' knowledge about HIV/AIDS, perceived severity, and perceived pressures. However, differences in responses relating to knowledge of prevention, preventive intentions, and perceived barriers, were not statistically significant. At post-test, the experimental group maintained knowledge levels, felt less threatened and less susceptible to AIDS, acknowledged fewer pressures, and were less inclined to practice preventive health behaviours. Study findings have implications for nursing practice, health education, planning, and research.