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Prevalence and determinants of HIV infection among maritime workers in a Nigerian seaport

E.O. Ogboghodo
E.N. Ali
O.H. Okojie


Background: In the global maritime industry, seafarers, fishing, seaport and other land-based personnel face a rising risk of infection of sexually transmitted diseases, including Human Immuno Virus (HIV). The close proximity of brothels and large sex-worker populations, as well as the fact that many seafarers are young, mobile and sexually active compounds the problem and increases the danger of HIV infection. In spite of this, no official statistics on prevalence of HIV among this high risk occupational group in Nigeria have been documented.

Objective: To assess the prevalence and determinants of HIV infection among seaport workers in one of the ports in Nigeria

Methods: The study utilized a descriptive cross-sectional design. Respondents were selected using a stratified random sampling technique and employee status formed the basis of each stratum. A pre-tested structured intervieweradministered questionnaire was used for the study. Voluntary Counseling and Testing using Elisa test kit according to the WHO guidelines was done and Polymerase Chain Reaction was used to confirm positive samples. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 software and level of significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results: A total of 420 respondents with mean age (SD) of 39.0 ± 1.1 years participated in the study. A higher proportion, 259 (62.8%) and 256 (60.1%) were males and married respectively. Of the 381 (90.0%) respondents who were aware of HIV, majority 345 (90.6%) had good knowledge of HIV. Knowledge increased with increasing age (p=0.005). Prevalence of HIV in the studied population was 4.8%. Factors associated with HIV status among the port workers included gender (p=0.005), marital status (p=0.005), educational status (p=0.05), number of sexual partners (p = 0.021) and lack of condom use (p = 0.05).

Conclusion: Prevalence of HIV in the studied population was high. Determinants of HIV included marital status, educational status, multiple sexual partners and lack of condom use. Port Health Department should ensure special 'behavioural change' programmes are put in place to curb the risk factors for HIV, thereby reducing the high prevalence of this disease among this special group.

Keywords: Prevalence, Determinants, HIV/AIDS, Port Workers, Nigeria