AN ANALYSIS OF STUDENT’S KNOWLEDGE OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
1.1 Background Of The Study
A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any disease that is generally or often transmitted from person to person by direct sexual contact (for example, syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS, or a genital variant of herpes simplex). It may also be transmitted from mother to child before to or during delivery, or, less commonly, by nonsexual contact such as kissing, contaminated blood transfusions, or the use of unclean hypodermic needles (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008). Similarly, Myless (2001) transmitted sexually transmitted illnesses as those produced by a range of organisms that are sexually transmissible. Sexually transmitted illnesses are defined by the researcher as those that may be contracted via unprotected sexual activity. These disorders often affect the genitals, reproductive tract, urinary tract, oral cavity, anus, or rectum, but may progress to target other organs and systems throughout the body. As a result, students must be knowledgeable about the consequences of these disorders.
The Encarta English dictionary (2008) defines “knowledge” as “general awareness or explicit information about a situation or fact. Additionally, it refers to mental knowledge; the possession of facts, ideas, beliefs, and principles. On the other hand, the aforementioned definition defines the term “attitude” as a subjective assessment of something, an opinion, or a general sentiment toward something.
Additionally, despite a larger commitment to STD teaching in schools, the sensitivity of sexuality and juvenile behavior seems to block STD education.
Indeed, experts believe that today’s secondary schools’ sexual attitudes and practices have gotten more liberal and tolerant (Reiss, 1994, Roche, 1996, Bell and Chaskas, 1990).
Additionally, these experts noted that premarital sex is quite prevalent in society. According to Unachukwu and Nwankwo (1998), many of those who did not participate in coitus throughout their years of secondary school education (a very small percentage, in fact) will do so prior to marriage. Those who do not engage in sexual activity before to marriage seem to be a minority in current culture.
In Nigeria, traditional ideals on the sacredness of sex and the role of sex in reproduction have been misused in favor of permissive sexual behavior. There is evidence that teenagers in Nigeria, particularly secondary school students, engage in coital sex and premarital sexual activity at a significant rate (Onyemelukwu, 1993). In light of this, the global health organization (WHO, 1993) called the world’s attention to the growth in the prevalence and spread of sexually transmitted diseases in unmistakable terms. Since then, no individual or organization has contested the assertion. Rather than that, a slew of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been found and claimed to be widespread. Indeed, Webster (1992) observed that the prevalence of STD infection has grown considerably in recent years, to the point that it is now considered as having reached epidemic proportions.
The tragedy of premarital sexuality in teenagers is that they participate in frequent sexual behaviors without enough knowledge of the consequences (Obikeze, 1997). In another perspective, Achalu (1996) underlines the increased risk of infection for individuals who participate in high-risk activities such as indiscriminate sex with several partners or those who chose partners from the streets. Additionally, Ijezie (1997) said that sexual activities such as anal intercourse, oral intercourse, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and deep kissing are all related with an increased risk of obtaining these illnesses, particularly the HIV virus. Additionally, Owolabi (1995) argued that a portion of the STD incidence in Nigeria is attributable to sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, a lack of sexual education, self-medication, and drug misuse among secondary school students. Chelk (2016) observes that the rate at which secondary school boys and girls visit pharmacies for condoms and tablets is increasing in an effort to reduce sexually transmitted infections. On one instance, similar tablets were discovered in the school backpacks of multiple senior secondary students who seemed to be unaware of their knowledge. To this end, the researcher wishes to ascertain the extent to which students are knowledgeable of STD prevention.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
It has been proved that sexual promiscuity is on the rise among adolescents, particularly students. Adolescents, particularly those in secondary schools, engage in unsafe sexual activities, and this raises their risks of developing sexually transmitted diseases or infections (Ogunbanjo, 2012). It is no longer an ancient legend regarding the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as it used to be demoted as superstitious. Sexually transmitted diseases exist, much as the famous tagline “AIDS is real,” but the issue is that adolescents, particularly secondary school students, who engage in sexual activities seem to have little or no knowledge about STDs or the proper attitude toward them (Mati, 2015).
In a drive to explore and experiment with sex and its connected activities, adolescents appear hide in absolute ignorance about the presence, symptoms, mechanism of transmission, control and correct attitude towards sexually transmitted diseases (Hamilton, 2012). However, ignorance, they argued, is not a justification for the terrible consequences of acquiring STDs. Sequel to the previous remark, this research is focused on determining students’ knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases.
1.3 Objective Of The Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically analyse students knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases. Specifically, the study aims at the following:
- Ascertain the level of students awareness of the consequences of pre-marital sex.
- Ascertain the extent to which students know of the mode of transmission of STDs.
- Ascertain the extent of students knowledge of the control measures of STDs.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- What the level of students awareness of the consequences of pre-marital sex?
- What is the extent to which students know of the mode of transmission of STDs?
- What is the extent of students knowledge of the control measures of STDs?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
The findings of this study if published will be of immense benefits to the ministry of Education, teachers, parents, curriculum developers and the general public.
It is hoped that the findings of this study will spur the Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to articulate effective programmes on sex education for Secondary School Students. It is hoped that these ministries will train and equip peer educators who will further educate secondary school students on the right knowledge and attitude towards sexually transmitted diseases; steering through it’s related health hazards and consequences.
The study will also help teachers and counselors to know and acknowledge students knowledge and attitude to sexually transmitted diseases and how best they can help students in the area of sexuality.
The result of the study will help to reawaken parents and teachers on their roles in educating the adolescents on sexual matters. It will at the same time help to challenge our adolescents to healthy sexual relationships in order to avoid contacting HIV virus and STDs, unwanted pregnancies and abortion among others.
To the general public, it is hoped that the findings of this study will; and especially Elders and the Clergy, they would also acknowledge their personal dispositions to guard the adolescents in words and action towards wholesome attitude and knowledge to sexually transmitted diseases.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This study is structured to generally analysis of students knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases. However, the study will further ascertain the level of students awareness of the consequences of pre-marital sex, ascertain the extent to which students know of the mode of transmission of STDs, and ascertain the extent of students knowledge of the control measures of STDs.
This study will be carried out in okpanam, Oshimili North, Delta State.
1.7. Limitations Of The Study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Sexual behaviour: This is a process by which humans and other animals demonstrate and/or express sexuality.
Pre-marital sex: This is any sexual activity with an opposite sex partner or with same sex partner before he/she has started a marriage life.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Theses are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact.