Knowledge, attitude and practice of the trainee seafarers to HIV/AIDS and STIs at Apapa Seaport, Lagos
The epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Nigeria is being fuelled by ignorance and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Little is known about HIV-risk related sexual behavior of the Nigerian sailors. This study describes the baseline knowledge, attitude and practice of the trainee sailors to HIV.
Ninety four (83.2%) of the 113 trainee interviewed consented to participate in voluntary counseling and confidential testing (VCT) programme. Each trainee completed an anonymous self- administered questionnaire and was tested for syphilis, trichomoniasis and HIV.
Seventy one (75.5%) of the respondents were between ages 21-25 years. Twenty three (25%) did not believe that having sex with commercial sex workers puts them at high risk of HIV while eighteen (19.1%) did not believe that condoms were protective. Only ten (10.6%) practiced abstinence while three were homosexual. Despite all these, sixty three (67%) believed that they were at little or no risk of HIV, prevalence of which was found to be 5.3% among them. Seventy one (75.5%), fifteen (16%), twenty (21%) and (20.2% of respondents believed that genital ulcers, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV respectively were not sexually transmitted. Trichomoniasis and syphilis were found in two (2.1%) and one (1.1%) respondents respectively. Female sex (P=0.002) and trichomoniasis (P=0.017) were found to significantly influence HIV infection.
There was a high level of ignorance about HIV and STIs among respondents. This was further highlighted by the high rate of high-risk behaviors. Therefore, sustained educational programs and promotion of condoms are recommended to address this problem.
African Journal of Clinical Experimental Microbiology Vol. 8 (2) 2007: pp. 94-100