The Prevalence of HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Anambra State, Nigeria: Exploring Gender, Cultural and Socio-Religious Perspectives
AbstractThe study examined gender, culture and socio-religious issues with regard to HIV/AID prevalence in Anambra State, Nigeria. Since the discovery of Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) over three decades ago, it has plundered the global populations with impunity, resulting in the death of millions of people. The sub-Saharan Africa seems to be the centre of the epidemic, as it records the highest prevalence rates in the world with roughly 25 million people living with HIV in 2012. It also accounted for an estimated 70% of all the people living with HIV and 70% of AIDS deaths in 2011. As a result, the epidemic has had widespread social and economic consequences, not only in the health sector but also in education industry and the wider economy. In 2012 AVERT’S HIV/AIDS statistics records Nigeria as the second largest number of people living with HIV/AID (PLWHA) in Africa. Furthermore, the disease seems to be rearing its ugly head in Anambra state, Nigeria with 8.7% above the national prevalence average rate of 4.5 per cent. Both face to face oral and telephone interviews were employed in collecting the primary data from randomly sampled 14 respondents. A total of 15 itemed questions were administered on 30 Doctors and 230 Nurses making up 260 respondents. Reliability coefficient using Cronbach Alpha is 0.843 which shows that the instrument is internally consistent. Data were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-tests. Results revealed among others that: biological issues, poverty, female sexual passivity, domestic violence etc. are gender related factors that exacerbate prevalence of HIV. Findings also show that concubinage or extra marital relations, harmful widowhood practices, patriarchal cultural system, stigma and discrimination are some of the culture induced factors. Furthermore, inadequate information/education about HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS denial based on religious beliefs, false claim about cure of HIV/AIDS, false religious assurances against HIV/AIDS, and traditional birth practices are the socio-religious related factors. The work impacts on the urgency for radical advocacy about human dignity, rights and responsibility of all stakeholders in eradicating HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state and wider society.
Key Words: Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV), Gender, Culture, Religion, human Dignity
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