Introduction Adolescents form a sizeable portion of the Indian population. In India, AIDS prevention and control efforts remained largely concentrated on groups already practising high-risk behaviour (like CSWs, iv drug abusers, etc.). Thus other potential groups like older school children, adolescents and younger adults, who because of their vulnerability deserve simultaneous attention, continue to remain a low priority.
Methods The present study was carried out to assess the level of awareness among school and college going students between the ages of 14–19 years about HIV/AIDS in Assam, India. 500 adolescents were given a pretested questionnaire and requested to fill it up and return within half an hour. The data was analysed manually using tally mark method and also subjected to Chi Square test of independent analysis and proportion test wherever needed.
Results The main source of HIV/AIDS awareness was media with very little information obtained from parents and teachers, representing that matters pertaining to sex, sexuality and reproduction still continue to be a taboo in our society. Misbeliefs on the modes of transmission of the disease like through handshake, kissing, use of fomites was close to 30% .
There is also a minor discrepancy between knowledge and attitude. Though majority of the study population had a good knowledge of HIV/AIDS, a substantial portion (20–30%) demonstrated negative attitude towards HIV/AIDS victim.
Conclusion A more appropriate programme based on behavioural science is desirable to lessen discrepancies between knowledge and desirable attitude along with Implementation of HIV/AIDS awareness programme in schools, colleges and community.