The influence of knowledge and sociodemographics on AIDS perception and sexual practices among secondary school students in Nigeria
Background: Recent trends show a disproportionate increase in new incidences of HIV infection among teenagers compared to other population segments. Objectives: This study assessed secondary school students’ perception of AIDS epidemic, and the influence of sociodemographic variables and AIDS knowledge on their perception and sexual practices. Methods: Nigerian teenagers (N=1143) were surveyed using a questionnaire that elicited information on their demographics, AIDS knowledge, perceptions and previous encounter with survivors, and sexual practices. Results: Although AIDS epidemic was not a serious issue of concern to a substantial number of the students, they were knowledgeable on AIDS, and their perceptions on AIDS epidemics influenced their sexual practices. Female teenagers were more knowledgeable and concerned, and more frequently reported inexperience with sexual intercourse compared to their male counterparts. Conclusion: AIDS education and campaigns that foster the internalization of the seriousness of AIDS epidemics and arouse concern about them could enhance safe sexual practices among the youths.
Keywords: AIDS epidemics, Sexual Behavior, Condom Use, Perception