HIV/AIDS Risk Perceptions and Safe Practices among Youths in Enugu Metropolis, south east Nigeria.
Aim: A cross-sectional study was conducted in November, 2008 to assess the HIV/AIDS risk perceptions and safe practices among youths in Enugu Metropolis.
Materials and Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 300 youths who were selected by a multistage sampling technique.
Results: Awareness of HIV/AIDS was high. Knowledge of most routes of transmission and some preventive methods were also high. Slightly more than half (54.3%) knew of mother to child transmission. Seventy percent knew that prostitutes are at risk, but knowledge of other people at risk was poor. More than 80% engage in such safe practices as use of safe blood and safe sharp instruments. Knowledge and utilization of PMTCT was slightly above average but referral of rape victims to appropriate centres was very poor (6.3%). Although awareness and attitudes to VCT was high, the percentage of respondents who had ever screened for HIV was low (37.7%).
Conclusion & Recommendation: Although knowledge of HIV/AIDS was high, that for people at risk was low and the practice of routine VCT and appropriate management of rape victims were poor and efforts should be made to correct these.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Risk Perception, Safe Practices, Youths, Enugu Metropolis.