Mental health variables and sexual risk behaviour among young people in Nigeria
There is no doubt that many groups are becoming a great concern in the spread of HIV infection in Nigeria. Young people still remains a high risk group in the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country. High sexual risk behaviours have been reported among young people in spite of the various interventions being put in place in the country. It becomes a great concern if mental health status has something to do with high sexual risk behaviour in this population. For a more specific and dynamic intervention in reducing cases of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, the study therefore examines depression, anxiety and stress as mental health variables influencing sexual risk behaviours among young people. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Using ex-post facto design, 450 (258 males & 192 females) young people in Ibadan were sampled in the study. Data were analyzed using t-test for independent samples to examine how depression, anxiety and stress levels directly influence sexual risk behaviours among young people in Nigeria. For the Nigerian young people, results showed that those who are low in depression are less involved in sexual risk behaviour (t=4.71; df=361; P<.05). Young people who are less anxious are found to be low in sexual risk behaviour (t=2.89; df=369; P<.05). Similarly, young people who are less stressed tend to engage less in sexual risk behaviours (t=2.26; df=363; P<.05). However, there
is no gender difference in sexual risk behaviours of young males and females in Nigeria (t=0.56; df=448; P>.05). Young males and females in Nigeria still engage in high sexual risk behaviour; and this could be
connected to their mental health status. A more dynamic STD/HIV/AIDS intervention programme should consider mental health variables such as
depression, anxiety and stress associated with sexual risk behaviours among young people in Nigeria.