Statistics and Monitoring Adviser
Statistics and Monitoring Section
Division of Policy and Planning
Postal Address:Three United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
Telephone: 1 212-326-7573
Fax: 1 212-735-4411
Percentage of population aged 15–24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS is the percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years who correctly identify the two major ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV (using condoms and limiting sex to one faithful, uninfected partner), who reject the two most common local misconceptions about HIV transmission and who know that a healthy-looking person can transmit HIV. This indicator is usually presented for women and men separately.
The data from household surveys used to produce the indicator are weighted according to the survey design to create a nationally representative indicator. No additional alterations are made to the data.
This indicator is constructed from responses to the following set of prompted questions:
Numerator: Number of respondents aged 15-24 years who gave the correct answer to all five questions
Denominator: Number of all respondents aged 15–24
The first three questions should not be altered. Questions 4 and 5 ask about local misconceptions and may be replaced by the most common misconceptions in your country. Examples include: “Can a person get HIV by hugging or shaking hands with a person who is infected?” and “Can a person get HIV through supernatural means?” Those who have never heard of HIV and AIDS should be excluded from the numerator but included in the denominator. An answer of “don’t know” should be recorded as an incorrect answer.
The indicator should be presented as separate percentages for males and females and should be disaggregated by the age groups 15-19 and 20–24 years.
Scores for each of the individual questions (based on the same denominator) are required as well as the score for the composite indicator.
The belief that a healthy-looking person cannot be infected with HIV is a common misconception that can result in unprotected sexual intercourse with infected partners. Correct knowledge about false beliefs of possible modes of HIV transmission is as important as correct knowledge of true modes of transmission. For example, the belief that HIV is transmitted through mosquito bites can weaken motivation to adopt safer sexual behaviour, while the belief that HIV can be transmitted through sharing food reinforces the stigma faced by people living with AIDS.
This indicator is particularly useful in countries where knowledge about HIV and AIDS is poor because it allows for easy measurement of incremental improvements over time. However, it is also important in other countries because it can be used to ensure that pre-existing high levels of knowledge are maintained.
Surveying most-at-risk populations can be challenging. Consequently, data obtained may not be based on a representative sample of the national, most-at-risk population being surveyed. If there are concerns that the data are not based on a representative sample, these concerns should be reflected in the interpretation of the survey data. Where different sources of data exist, the best available estimate should be used. Information on the sample size, the quality and reliability of the data, and any related issues should be included in the report submitted with this indicator.
In principle, there would normally be no discrepancy between global and national figures, because all nationally representative data on comprehensive HIV knowledge are collected only through large-scale household surveys, and these figures are not modified. However, there could be discrepancies if national figures are calculated based on only some components of the indicator or on surveys based on only some geographic areas.
These data are collected through household surveys, such as Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), reproductive and health surveys, and behavioural surveillance surveys. The results are reported regularly in the final reports of these surveys. In addition most data are available at
Nationally representative population-based surveys, such as the DHS and MICS, are conducted by national statistical offices or other relevant government office under the supervision of the government or international agencies. As part of routine data quality control, survey results are checked for inconsistencies and to make sure that data are collected using a clearly defined population-based sampling frame, permitting inferences to be drawn about an entire population. UNICEF also conducts an annual exercise called the Country Reports on Indicators for the Goals (CRING), in which data maintained in the global databases at UNICEF are sent to countries for validation and updates on recent information for all indicators regularly reported on by UNICEF. Updates from countries must be accompanied by original source documentation, e.g. survey reports.
No adjustments are made to the data compiled from DHS, MICS and other surveys that are statistically sound and nationally representative.
The data are not estimated if no values are available.
Data are available from approximately 80 countries (40 countries reporting male data and 80 countries reporting female data) with an additional 10-20 countries collecting the data for 2006 and 2007.
Regional estimates are calculated if more than 50% of the 15-24 male or 15-24 female population is represented by the value.
Household surveys are released as they become available.