Aim. This paper reports the results of a study of the knowledge and attitude of adults in relation to HIV/AIDS and HIV-positive persons in Estonia.
Background. According to statistics, in the period 1988–2006, 5635 HIV-positive persons were registered in Estonia.
Method. Questionnaire data were collected from 328 respondents, aged 15–59 years, living in Estonia. The data were collected from February to April 2005 via the Internet and examined using content analysis. The level of knowledge was measured with the index of knowledge.
Results. The respondents’ knowledges concerning HIV/AIDS is insufficient: only 45.7% of the respondents answered all HIV related questions correctly. Analysis of the index of knowledge showed that women have higher level of knowledge and more positive attitude in the context of HIV/ AIDS than men. Despite insufficient knowledge, a majority of the respondents are willing to accept HIV-positive people in their everyday life and to support their HIV-positive acquaintances. The respondents tend to develop and modify their attitude towards HIV-positive people depending on the mode of infection.
Conclusions. The findings of this study will help clarify people’s attitude towards HIV/AIDS and HIV-positive persons. On can still note stigmatization of persons with HIV/AIDS in society.
In order to improve the situation, important issues as networking and preventive activity, as well as the interaction of different factors on micro- and macrolevels should be addressed.