Objective: To determine accuracy of knowledge and sexual behaviour patterns of junior high school students in New Providence towards HIV/AIDS and identify gender variations.
Methods: A cross-sectional study with cluster sampling of classrooms was undertaken at two schools utilizing a questionnaire. SPSS was used for statistical analysis.
Results: Three hundred and fifty-four students participated in the study; the mean age was 12.25 years, 55.1% males and 44.9% females. Most (88%) students identified sexual intercourse as a mode of HIV transmission, 62.5% were accurate regarding anal sex and 32.9% were accurate about sexual intercourse in the water, as modes of HIV transmission. Abstinence was identified as a method of HIV prevention by 54.1% of students although 85.2% of students knew that condoms were a method of prevention. On beliefs regarding transmission, 21.2% believed mosquito bites and 13.1% believed toilet seats were routes for disease spread. Only 16.9% of participants reported a history of sexual intercourse; of those, 57.6% indicated that they were age ≤ 10 years when they first had intercourse. Concerning use of birth control, 64.5% of sexually experienced respondents reported never using any method.
Conclusion: Junior high school students have fairly accurate knowledge of HIV/AIDS but misconceptions regarding transmission are still prevalent; patterns in gender variation are few.