KNOWLEDGE, PERCEPTION AND ATTITUDE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TOWARDS PREVENTION OF HIV/AIDS
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BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Sex is a basic physiological need of every human being, male and females are created with different class, to serve as a compliment for each other, this complementary role includes sex, therefore a man and a woman are expected to engage in sexual relationship. This sexual relationship has over the years been mixed by various infections known as the sexual transmitted diseases (STDs).
These STDs are in various forms and their effects are also different. One among such STDs is Human Immune Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/ AIDS). These two STDs are the most dangerous and ravaging of the STDs.
In 1981, HIV the virus of an illness (AIDS),was identified in Los Angeles, USA. In December of the same year, A similar virus was seen in Britain. By March 1987, nearly 6,000 cases were reported throughout Europe. It is one of the most serious health problems in the world today.
Though, the origin of HIV/ AIDS is said to be not in Africa, Africa has the highest number of casualties compared to other continents. Nigeria first witnessed the bitter taste of HIV/AIDS was identified in April 1986 in a girl of 13 years. All age groups are affected, but it is higher among the 20-24 years age group, with a national prevalence of 5.6%. This age group is followed by the 25 and 29 years old with a 5.4% national prevalence. And ever since then the number of cases have escalated beyond imagination and millions of Nigerians are living with the disease, in which the cure is yet to be discovered.
HIV/AIDS has various symptoms, which includes body weakness, constant and excessive cough, stooling, lost of body weight, rashness etc there are also various means of contacting this disease which may include, sexual relation with an infected person, for example through vaginal intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. Other means of getting infected includes sharing of sharp objects with an infected person, unscreened blood transfusion, mother to child transmission etc.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is said to be a bane on the development of a society Thus, in Nigeria, the scourge has affected the economic population who are supposed to meaningfully contribute to the development of Nigeria. The use of anti â€“ retroviral drugs have given hope to many infected persons for a life even after infection. These drugs are given free and are made available by donor agencies and the federal government in order to curb the number of casualties of the disease.
There are number of sensitization and preventive measures that are employed to check the menace of HIV/AIDS pandemic, and these are sex education, use of condoms and media campaigns. This research study is poised to uncover the attitudes of youths towards the HIV/ AIDS pandemic and to ascertain the behaviour of youths towards the various merchandize employed to combat the menace of HIV/AIDS in Niger state and most specifically in Federal University of Technology, Minna.
Youths constitutes the highest number of casualties of the disease, So the study chooses the students of the said institution as its research population. It is against this background that this study intends to address the following questions. What is the level of knowledge of students about HIV/AIDS. How prevalent is sexual abstinence among students and especially students of Federal University of Technology Minna. What are the perceptions of students towards Voluntary Counseling and Testing as a factor in the prevention of HIV/ AIDS? What are the attitudes of students towards HIV/ AIDS?
Sexual intercourse has led to sexually transmitted infection (HIV/ AIDS) which has led so many especially the youths to an early grave. Youths are not a homogenous population but a diverse group with different risk, needs and access to information and services (UNAIDS 2004).
Kabiru et al (2004) reported in a study conducted in a northern Nigerian town that the commonest high risk sexual behaviour among the sexually active university students was having multiple sexual partners (51.7%) followed by the history of sexually transmitted infection, (29.8%) anal sexual intercourse (12.1%) alcohol consumption (12.8%), and intravenous drug use (6.4%).
There is evidence of increased sexual activity and high risk behaviours among students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria with high prevalence rate of sexually transmitted infections (HIV/ AIDS), (16.3% and 23%, in the North and South respectively).