Trends in HIV seropositivity among young adults in the Niger Delta of Nigeria: a five-year survey
AbstractHIV infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. This paper describes the seroprevalence rates of HIV infection in young people (10–24 years) tested at a hospital centre in Port Harcourt, a cosmopolitan city in the Niger Delta, the heart of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Subjects for this descriptive study included a total of 2033 consecutively recruited young symptomatic persons referred from the outpatient clinic and wards for retroviral screening at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital for the period 1999-2003. HIV antibody test was carried out using the commercially available double enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of Immunocomb and Genscreen HIV I and II kits. The overall seroprevalence rate was 34.7%. The rate of HIV prevalence increased gradually with age (X2 = 73.82; p = 0.001). The seroprevalence of HIV was significantly higher in females compared to males comprising 41.2% and 22.3% respectively (X2 = 72.90; p = 0.01). Data indicated that HIV prevalence declined from 34.5% in 1999, to 29.7% in 2000, 22.7% in 2001, increased subsequently to 35.5% in 2002 and peaked at 42.2% in 2003. HIV–1 was the predominant viral serotype (92.2%). This study suggests a rising prevalence of HIV among young adults in Nigeria. This calls for an urgent need for government, non-governmental organizations and faith-based organizations (FBOs) to embark on interventional measures with emphasis on behavioural and social changes coupled with the provision of youth friendly health services.
Keywords: HIV, seropositivity, young adults, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 48(4) 2005: 95-97