Knowledge and practice of female secondary school students aboutHIVand sexually transmitted infections in Enugu, South East Nigeria
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and practice of female secondary school students to sexually transmitted infections in Enugu, South East Nigeria.These could pose as barriers to effective sexual education and impair case management within the community.
Methods: This study was cross-sectional and descriptive in design using a self- administered custom designed multiple choice questionnaire with sections on general information on sexually transmitted infections, awareness and perception of such infections. Ethical clearance and informed consent were obtained.
Results: There were 183 respondents with a mean age of 15.9 ± 1.3 years, all female.There was a high level of awareness of HIV (97.8%) and STIs (94.5%).While 74.3% had correct knowledge of modes of transmission,60.7% incorrectly identified casual contact as modes of transmission of HIV. Only 59% correctly identified all the HIV prevention methods tested, while 74.9% practiced all modes of prevention. The median aggregate score for knowledge of transmission and prevention was 72.2%, while it was 62.5% for good prevention practice. The older students were more likely to be sexually active.
Conclusion: Female secondary school students in Enugu had a high level of awareness for sexually transmitted infections, especially for HIV. However, in-depth knowledge regarding mode of transmission and prevention was sub-optimal.There is a need to strengthen public and school based sexual health education in Nigeria.
Keywords: Sexually transmitted infections, knowledge, female students, Nigeria