Knowledge and attitude of youth (ages 15-25 years) to HIV/AIDS and to routine HIV screening
AbstractBackground: AIDS is still an incurable disease and is very costly to control. Since the first case of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Nigeria was reported in 1986, the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) infection has attained epidemic proportion. In an effort to control this rapid spread, certain preventive measures have been developed. In spite of these and the campaigns to control it, the knowledge and attitudes of youths towards HIV/AIDS leaves much to be desired.
Objective: To determine knowledge and attitude of youths (15 – 25 years) of HIV/AIDS and to Routine HIV Screening.
Study Design: The study was cross-sectional.
Setting: The study was carried out at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria, between January and December 2003.
Results: Five thousand three hundred and twenty.
Study Population: The knowledge and attitude of youths (15 – 25 years) of HIV/AIDS and to routine HIV screening was assessed, using anonymous questionnaires, among 9500 respondents, 4950 males and 4550 females. 5750 respondents were from the University of Benin with a population of 20,000 students while 3750 were from some of the Secondary Schools (post primary Schools) randomly selected in Benin City, Nigeria. The University of Benin Teaching Hospital where the work was done is adjacent to the University of Benin. The Secondary Schools selected where the work was done were within a radius of 20 kilometers of the Teaching Hospital and were 5 in numbers with average of 750 students selected per school. Subjects (56%) indicated that they have heard about HIV/AIDS, 4180 (44%) had no knowledge of HIV/AIDS at all. 2240 of 5320 (42.1%) had some knowledge; 1593 (29.9%) had adequate knowledge and only 1487 (28.0%) had sufficient knowledge. 6365 (67%) did not believe it exists and as a result they are not bothered by it. 825 of the 3750 secondary school students had multiple sexual partners. Majority had single partners for those who had at all. While among the University students 2990 (52%) had multiple sexual partners, while others had between one and two sexual partners. Only 36210 (38%) believe it is real and a killer disease frightened about it and are already changing their sexual behaviours; 1900 (20%) believe it is a western propaganda to enslave the developing world. Three thousand nine hundred and ninety respondents (42%) would agree to routine HIV screening and 5510 (58%) would not agree to routine screening. The reasons adduced for rejecting routine HIV screening included psychological trauma, not necessarily high cost of and lack of anti-retroviral drugs, infringement on fundamental human rights, fear of living with positive screening, stigmatization and victimization at place of work if positive.
Conclusion: Intensive massive awareness campaign through Radio, Televisions jingles and education about HIV/AIDS of the population is recommended to alter their current negative attitude to routine HIV testing and increase their knowledge about HIV/AIDS and perhaps help to change their sexual behaviours.
Keywords: youths, HIV/AIDS, routine HIV screening
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol. 9(1) 2006: 11-13