African Health Sciences

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The effect of age on knowledge of HIV/AIDS and risk related behaviours among army personnel

CE Okeke, CN Onwasigwe, MD Ibegbu


Background: HIV/AIDS has been described as the fourth largest cause of death globally and leading cause of death in Africa. HIV/AIDS has been a devastating inferno for nearly 30 years, and has particularly impacted countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In most African countries, it has been reported that the HIV infection amongst the military has been shown to be
about 2 to 5 times higher than their civilian counterparts.
Objective: To address the knowledge level of HIV/AIDS and risk-related behaviours in military personnel, a well described high risk groups for HIV/AIDS.
Methods: A cross-sectional study among army personnel in 82 Division Nigerian Army Headquarters Enugu, which has a population of about 1777. A random sampling in all the departments of 82 Division Nigerian Army Headquarters was done using the ballot method to select the respondents. Approval for the study was obtained from the General Officer in Command (GOC) of the 82 Division Nigerian Army Headquarters Enugu.
Results: There were no significant differences between the risk related behavior variables when comparisons were made between those under 30 years, and those 30 years and above. Furthermore, more respondents under 30 years (48.0%) did not seek medical treatment when infected with another STI before having sex again as against 45% of those above 30 years. Most of the respondents (9.1%) under the age of 30 years believed that HIV/AIDS could be contracted through mosquito bites as against 2.8% of those above 30 years.
Conclusion: The knowledge level of HIV/AIDS among the army personnel was high, though misconceptions about transmission modes like getting HIV through the bites of mosquitoes and casual body contacts were noted, especially among those under 30 years of age.

Key words: army personnel, age, HIV/AIDS, knowledge, risk related behaviour, Enugu
AJOL African Journals Online