Knowledge, Belief And Attitude Towards HIV / AIDS Among Secondary School Adolescents

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Knowledge, Belief And Attitude Towards HIV / AIDS Among Secondary School Adolescents


Despite mass media campaigns to provide information on how to promote healthy lifestyle and sexual behaviour among the population, especially among the youth, there is evidence that risky sexual behaviour are more prevalent among males than females (UNAIDS, 2013c), putting them at the risk of acquiring Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Not much is known about the knowledge, attitude and practices of male learners in secondary schools in Namibia on HIV prevention and their practices thereof.

The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and belief on HIV and AIDS prevention measures among secondary school students in Uyo. A quantitative approach using a cross sectional study design was employed. Quantitative approach was considered appropriate to determine the level of knowledge, attitudes and belief toward HIV and AIDS preventive measures among learners in the above region.

Recommendations are made to strengthen health education among youth, and reproductive health consequences of pre-marital sex should be explained to learners to prevent complications of reproductive tract infection. It is also essential to involve youth from the initial process of planning or designing HIV and AIDS prevention programmes.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is still an incurable disease and is very costly to control. Since the first case of AIDS in Namibia was reported in 1986, the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) infection has attained epidemic proportion. In an effort to control this rapid spread, certain preventive measures have been developed. In spite of these and the campaigns to control it, the knowledge and attitudes of youths towards HIV/AIDS leave much to be desired (MoHSS, 2007).

Young people remain at the centre of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in terms of rates of infection, vulnerability, impact, and potential for change. They face the economic and social impact of HIV/AIDS on families, communities, and nations, and young people must be at the centre of prevention actions (WHO, 2009). Young people grow up in a world changed by AIDS but many still lack comprehensive and correct knowledge about how to prevent HIV infection.

This situation persists even though the world has agreed that young people have the human right to education, information and services that could protect them from harm. Where young people are well informed of HIV risks and prevention strategies, they are changing their behaviour in ways that reduce their vulnerability (WHO, 2009). The World Health Organization (WHO) further revealed that the efforts to increase HIV knowledge among young people remain inadequate.

According to MoHSS (2015), Namibia has a predominantly young population, with a median age of 21 years. Girls and young women have elevated biological and physiological vulnerabilities to HIV infection. Unplanned teenage pregnancy, having older partners (who are more likely to be HIV‐positive), having transactional relationships, and having multiple sexual partnerships are common scenarios that elevate the risk of HIV infection among the youth.
HIV/AIDS prevention programs have seldom focused on the risk-taking behaviors and holistic needs of young people at high risk. Youth-focused HIV/AIDS prevention programs often emphasize disease prevention rather than sexual health promotion. When prevention programs mimic those designed for adults or focus on disease, youth may not receive needed life skills and resources to support healthy sexual attitudes and behaviours.

Various preventive strategies have been implemented to counter the HIV pandemic in Africa; these include the use of anti-retroviral drugs, Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing (VCT), condom use promotion, promotion of abstinence, treatment programme for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and male circumcision (UNAIDS, 2013a). However, only slow progress has been made so far in reducing the rate of new infections and decreasing the overall HIV prevalence.

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 – 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?

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Despite mass media campaigns to provide information on how to promote healthy life style and sexual behaviour, risky sexual behaviour among male learners at secondary schools exist. Secondary school age is a period in learner’s life that is characterized by curiosity and experimentation with sexual activities and drug use especially young men (Kayode &Ogu, 2011).

According to MoHSS (2009), young men in particular, do not perceive themselves to be at risk of acquiring HIV and this in particular put themselves at the risk of acquiring HIV. It is evidenced, according to MoHSS (2009) that men had higher levels of risk to be infected and were also more likely to have multiple partners.

In addition MoHSS further stated that men are less likely to access services namely Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), and their risk behavior is higher than women.

Therefore, in this study, the researcher focused only on male learners because the researcher believes that HIV-related risky behaviours are more prevalent among males than females. This is due to men dominance over women during sexual activities, as highlighted above. In Oshana Region, the trend indicates an increase in HIV prevalence among the youth aged 15-24 years from 8.3% in 2008 to 14.8 % in 2010. Again, the HIV Sentinel survey for 2014 indicates an increase in HIV prevalence from 7.8% in 2012 to 9.4% in 2014 among the same age group in Oshana Region (MoHSS, 2014a).

Also worrisome is the fact that the disease mostly affects the productive segments of the society (adolescents and young adults) and more importantly, it decimates the lives of the future of the country. In the light of the above, it is evident that a gap likely exists in knowledge of HIV preventive measures among the male youth. It is on this basis that the researcher formulated the main research question for this study, that is, “What is the level of knowledge of prevention measures on HIV and AIDS among male learners that likely contributes to the risky sexual behaviours?”
Therefore to answer the question, it is essential to determine knowledge, attitudes and practices on HIV and AIDS preventive measures among male learners in secondary schools to fill the knowledge gap on the subject matter and further arm health educators, peer counselors, and other stakeholders with the necessary information.

In this study the researcher focused only on male learners because culturally, males are sexually dominant and HIV related risky behaviours are more prevalent among males then females. Despite the risky behaviour, young men are not perceiving themselves as at risk of being infected by HIV virus (MoHSS, 2009).

1.3 Objective of the Research

The general objective of this research is to address the perceptions of students towards the prevention of HIV/ AIDS. However, the specific objectives of this research are:

  1. To assess students knowledge and attitude towards HIV/ AIDS
  2. To examine the various ways of sexual abstinence among students.
  3. To understand the perceptions of students towards prevention method as a factor in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/ AIDS).

1.4 Research Hypotheses

H1: There is a relationship in the knowledge of HIV/ AIDS and the prevention of the disease.

H0: There is no relationship in the knowledge of HIV/ AIDS and the prevention of the disease.

1.5 Significance of the Study

Human Immune deficiency Virus (HIV) and acquire immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has continue to be the major concern not only to Niger state government but the federal government and the entire world. This study may then serve as a pioneer effort towards the understanding of HIV/ AIDS among students of federal university of technology Minna, Niger State. The result of this study may help policy maker’s particularly educational planners in Niger state to design more appropriate instructional programme on HIV/ AIDS. The study may also provide the basis for further research on HIV/AIDS

1.6 Research Question

  1. To what extent has the society try to educate its youth about HIV/AIDS?
  2. Does economic status and educational background among undergraduates determine students’ knowledge of HV/AIDS?
  3. Do parents, religious leaders or government responsible for HIV/AIDS among students.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This research is limited to issues about the knowledge and attitude of students towards HIV/ AIDS in uyo high school, A convent sampling of 100 students. The research is limited to only students of UHS.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction

This chapter specifically focuses on the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation.

5.1 Summary of Major Findings

The research uncovered numerous issues related to the student’s’ knowledge and attitude towards HIV/AIDS. It is quite evident that the knowledge of HIV/AIDS have played significant role in student attitude towards sex.

From the analysis the following result were obtained:

A majority of the student of Uyo high school are aware of HIV/AIDS

Mass media is one of the student’s sources of information about HIV/AIDS. The students knows how HIV/AIDS can be controlled and indicated unprotected sex and all of the above mentioned as the major ways of contracting HIV/AIDS.

The student indicated desire for voluntary counseling and testing, then one-third of them had gone for HIV/AIDS testing.

There is the problem of student not wanting to open up when it comes through their sexual lives, and HIV/AIDS status for fear of stigmatization. However the students appear to be sexually active as indicated in the data collected with most of them having sex on a regular basis.

5.2 Conclusion

HIV/AIDS has received a very wide range of campaigns in Nigeria and the world at large. The knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the population was boosted through the activities of some national and international organizations like NACA, which engaged in schools, place of worship and communities at large.

Today, more and more people are aware of the causes of the disease and how it can be prevented. This has resulted in the reduction of transmitting of HIV/AIDS in our society.

5.3 Recommendation

There is urgent need for sex education for youths at every level of their education which should be organize, executed and finance by the government agency like the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) at Federal, State, Local Government level and other relevant and concern non governmental agencies.

Centers for voluntary counseling and testing should be built at all tertiary institutions in the country and students should be encouraged to patronize it once or twice a year. There is need for change in the attitude of students and the society at large towards the issue of HIV/AIDS and cultural reorientation in relation to those living with HIV/AIDS in order to address stigmatization.

Counseling departments should be established where there are none and trained counselors should be employed in all the tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria.

Children should be allowed to enjoy free contacts with parents and teachers, so that they could share their problems and curiosity and assimilate moral concepts of higher reasoning.

Sex education should be included in the secondary school curriculum to educate the youth early enough about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, and the benefit of abstinence and being faithful to a partner.

Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS must be discouraged at all sectors of the society.

Detention, isolation or other attacks on the liberty and freedom of movement of HIV/AIDS infected individual and their families must be frawn at by the constituted authorities.

Invasions of privacy, including publication of names and addresses of persons suspected to be HIV positive should be avoided at all cost.

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