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Nigerian university students' knowledge, perceptions, and behaviours about HIV/AIDS: are these students at risk?

Nigerian university students' knowledge, perceptions, and behaviours about HIV/AIDS: are these students at risk?

Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health 119(1): 23-31

The purpose of the study was to determine the knowledge level of undergraduate students of a Nigerian university about HIV/AIDS, their perception of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS based on their sexual behaviour, and to assess how students acquire information about HIV/AIDS. The sample consisted of 380 students from five faculties of the university who volunteered to participate in the study. Participants completed a survey asking about their knowledge about transmission, symptomatology and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The survey included questions about their sexual orientation, past and present sexual practices as well as sources of information about HIV/AIDS. The results indicated that the students were knowledgeable about transmission and symptomatology but there were some misconceptions about the mode of transmission of HIV. Few students identified themselves to be at high risk even though majority of them (92%) were sexually experienced. The study also showed that even though these students are knowledgeable and concerned about contracting HIV/AIDS from their partners, this did not prevent them from engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse. It appears, however, that students are exercising caution when negotiating new sexual relationships, as they are likely to discuss (and insist on) using condoms and ask to have a monogamous relationship. Students obtained information about HIV/AIDS primarily from the media rather than from school classrooms and homes, which suggests a need to increase educational efforts at the university. Many students of this university may be at risk of becoming HIV-infected due to their age bracket, level of sexual activity and past/present sexual behaviors. University faculty can be actively involved in developing and implementing HIV/AIDS education and prevention strategies on their campuses. Health educators must go beyond providing accurate and gender-specific information about HIV/AIDS; they must also help students realistically assess their own risk of infection, and develop communication processes which enable them to negotiate safer sexual practices.

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Accession: 046803985

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PMID: 10327811

DOI: 10.1177/146642409911900105

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