Perception of Risk of HIV among Adolescents’ Living in an Urban Slum in Ghana
Due to a number of biological, social, developmental, and behavioural factors young people are disproportionately affected by STIs including HIV and AIDS. Using the Health Belief Model, the study investigated factors influencing perception of risk of HIV among adolescents living in an urban slum in Ghana. Data were obtained from 902 adolescents, aged 10-19 years living in Kwesimintsim Zongo, an urban slum in the Western region of Ghana. A multi-staged sampling technique was used to select the respondents and both bivariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to examine the factors influencing perception of risk of HIV among adolescents. Adolescents’ perception of risk of HIV was generally low and was predicted by age, ethnicity, membership of social groups and exposure to the print media. The low risk perception might cause adolescents to engage in behaviours, which are likely to endanger their health in general, and reproductive health in particular. Considering the effects of HIV and AIDS on young people, it is imperative to put in place campaigns that would help to increase their perceived risks of HIV. Factors that affect adolescents’ perception of risks should be taken into consideration in designing HIV and AIDS campaigns to ensure positive behavioural change.
Keywords: HIV; risk perception; adolescents; urban slum; Ghana.
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