Preventing HIV/AIDS through education: the role of primary and secondary school teachers in Nigeria
Objective: This study was aimed at assessing the knowledge, opinion and practices of Nigerian primary and secondary school teachers on HIV/AIDS education
Method: A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on demography, knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention, training on HIV transmission and prevention and teaching of students on HIV/AIDS. A composite scale for HIV knowledge was defined by pooling all scored knowledge variables based on 25 questions. Knowledge
was adjudged good if 20 – 25 questions were answered correctly; fair if 13 – 19 questions were correct and poor if less than 13 were correct.
Result: Using the composite scale for knowledge, less than half (48.9%) had good knowledge, 41.5% had fair knowledge while 9.6% had poor knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention. Primary school teachers were less knowledgeable than their secondary school counterparts (p = 0.000). Only 46.3% (n = 125) of the teachers reported educating their students about HIV/AIDS. Most teachers blamed the non inclusion of HIV in the school curriculum for not teaching students about HIV while others (38%) claimed the children were too young to be educated on HIV/AIDS.
Conclusion: Teachers can make a major contribution in preventing HIV transmission in Nigeria. About 90% of them had good to fair knowledge but misconceptions were noted. There is a great need for proper training of teachers to correct misconceptions so that they can impart correct knowledge to the students. Lack of inclusion of HIV/AIDS education in the curriculum calls for a serious policy change.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, Teachers, Knowledge, Prevention