The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
Study conception and design: LNA, NFT, AD. Data collection: LNA, MT, CN. Statistical analysis and interpretation: LNA, JJNN. Drafting of manuscript: LNA, NFT, JJNN, AMJ. Critical review and supervision: APK & AD. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Adequate knowledge and practices on post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV among health care providers are crucial for HIV prevention. However there is limited data on PEP knowledge and practice from developing countries where the burden of HIV infection continues to increase. We assessed the knowledge of clinical medical students on PEP, their practices in response to occupational exposure to HIV, as well as the determinants of good knowledge on PEP.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in November 2014 involving 154 consecutively recruited clinical medical students (4th-6th year undergraduates). Data were acquired using a structured questionnaire. Knowledge on PEP was assessed using a questionnaire comprising 25 questions and categorized as: good (20 or more correct answers), moderate (13–19 correct answers) and poor (12 or fewer correct answers).
For the 154 students included (57.8 % being male), the mean age was 23.2 ± 2.4 years, and 89 % had heard about PEP for HIV. The majority of students had moderate (61.7 %) and poor (32.5 %) knowledge on PEP. Overall knowledge score increased with increasing level of studies (p < 0.05). Only 10 (6.5 %) had had previous training on PEP, most of whom were senior level students (p = 0.01). Fifty-four students (35.1 %) knew the appropriate duration of PEP and this awareness increased with level of studies (p = 0.001). Of the 81 (52.6 %) who reported occupational exposure to HIV in the past, only 4 (4.9 %) received PEP.
Overall, knowledge on PEP among clinical medical students in this setting was non-optimal with very low uptake PEP. Intensification of HIV curricula to involve PEP as well as continuous medical education programs and workshops are potential avenues to improve awareness in this vulnerable population.