Publisher: Bachudo Science Co. Ltd

HIV / AIDS Awareness Among Secondary School Youths In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

N. Frank – Peterside, I. A. Ibanga
KEYWORDS: HIV /AIDS, Awareness, Secondary School, Port-Harcourt.

ABSTRACT:

This is a questionnaire survey designed to determine the HIV/AIDS awareness among some secondary school youths in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The study sample consisted of 650 pupils from six secondary schools. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire about their personal background, sexual history, awareness of HIV/AIDS and attitude towards HIV/AIDS.  The mean age of the students was 15 years.  The results indicated that 99% of the pupils examined were aware of HIV/AIDS.  Their sources of information were:  the news media (35%), school (26%), personal communication (13%) and others (8%).  On their modes of transmission and symptoms of AIDS, 77% and 52% respectively, answered correctly.  Of those who are presently sexually active, 26% do not use condoms, yet only 6% thought they were at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.  Though only 27% of the participants accepted that their level of awareness had affected their sexual behaviours, it appears that students are now exercising caution in starting new relationship, e.g. 24% will insist on the use of a condom, 21% will be interested in finding out the number of previous partners of an intending partner and 26% will insist on abstinence.  It was recorded that 29% will insist on a monogamous relationship.  It is frightening, that they are unable to assess, correctly, their level of risk.  This puts them at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.  Beyond efforts to spread awareness all interested bodies e.g. Government, teachers, Non Governmental Organizations, media should plan regular programmes to assess the level of success of existing interventions.  As the ultimate aim is that pupils are able to develop consistent behaviours that enable them choose safe sexual practices.


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