Socio-Demographic Characteristics Of Adults Screened For Hiv/Aids In A Rural Community In Benue State, Nigeria
Background: Benue state has been considered among the ‘hot zones’ for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria with a prevalence rate of 9.3 among adults aged 15 to 45 years. Yet, there is paucity of information on the socio-demographic factors associated with this level of prevalence. We hereby report the prevalence and socio-demographic factors associated with HIV among adults in Abwa-Mbagene, Benue state, Nigeria.
Methods: Adults in Abwa-Mbagene community who accepted to participate between 9th and 24th of August 2007 were recruited. After counselling, screening was done using ‘Determine HIV’ kit.
Results: 153 subjects (74 males and 79 females) were recruited. Their age ranges from 15 to 60 years (Mean: 26.2years). Fourty-two (27.5%) consisting of 12 (16.2%) males and 30 (38%) females were positive for HIV (male to female ratio, 2:5). The prevalence of HIV was higher among the divorcees (50%); those whose level of education was primary school (41.3%) and below and; farmers (60%). Majority (96%) knows AIDS exists, 85% are informed on mode and prevention of HIV transmission. Cases of AIDS deaths, unprotected casual sex, blood transfusion with unscreened blood and polygamy are common in the community. The single most important cultural factors in HIV transmission identified is indulgence in night parties, which increased the rate of unprotected casual sex.
Conclusion: This community represents a high HIV/AIDS prevalence spot in Benue State, Nigeria. There is therefore the need for the establishment of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT), Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT), save blood and antiretroviral treatment services in the community. Vocational centers to engage single women and improve their financial state will boost preventive strategies. Finally, partnership with community leaders towards discouraging night parties will reduce the prevalence of HIV in the community.