Knowledge, beliefs and sources of information of HIV among students of a Tertiary Institution in Nigeria
Two out of three new HIV infections occurring globally each day occurs in sub-Saharan African in which Nigeria belongs. Its prevention however, is based on the knowledge of its transmission in which people are predisposed to. Unfortunately, the school environment has a high risk for the infection because of its vulnerability to high sexual risk behaviours which increases likelihood of HIV transmission. This study aimed at assessing the knowledge, beliefs and sources of information of HIV among students in the study area. The cross-sectional survey was conducted at an off-campus student community in Ilorin, north-central Nigeria. Primary data was collected through administration of structured questionnaire to 292 participants selected through multistage non-probability sampling method. Result revealed that, (84.2%) of the participants have the knowledge that a healthy looking person can have HIV, (88.7%) are knowledgeable of the fact that, HIV virus weakens the immune system of an infected person while, (82.2%) know that HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex. A total of (81.2%) of the participants identified fever as the symptom of HIV while (77.7%) identified safe sex as preventive measure. The highest source of information of HIV in the study is the media, (68.2%) getting informed via health talk, followed closely by television (66.4%).On participants’ beliefs on HIV, (63.7%) strongly disagree that HIV is a myth while (36.6%) strongly agree that HIV can be cured with prayers. Statistical significant relationship (where p value <0.05) was found between the age of participants and knowledge of HIV, between all the sources of information and knowledge of HIV while only school, health talk and television were found to be significantly related with beliefs of participants. The study concluded that participants have high knowledge of HIV although froth with misconceptions that stems from the belief held about the disease.
Keywords: HIV, Knowledge, Asymptomatic, Beliefs, Media, Misconception