School Counselors’ Roles In Preventing The Spread Of HIV And AIDS In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Guidance and Counselling

School Counselors’ Roles In Preventing The Spread Of HIV And AIDS In Nigeria


Abstract


This study investigated the role of school counselors in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. Data were collected through a survey that was conducted among ten selected secondary schools in Osun state. To achieve the objectives of the study, two hypotheses were posited and tested using the chi-square. Data obtained were analysed using simple frequency and percentages. Results obtained shows that, counselors are very relevant in the creation of awareness of HIV and Aids. Results also show that level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among the students was high. Majority of the respondents (99.0%) indicated that they had heard about AIDS. Also, 98.0% believed that there is AIDS. With regard to how AIDS can be contacted, majority of the respondents (85.7%) indicated through sharing of syringes, blade and shaving kits, sexual intercourse with an infected person (82.0%), transfusion of infected blood (81.3%) and homosexuality (63.8%). The study concluded that school counselors are indispensable in the prevention of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students and that effective health education is the antidote for the prevention and spread of the pandemic.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

One of the leading causes of premature death in the last twenty years has been the scourge of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The disease, AIDS, was first heard of in 1981. Within twenty years, it spread to all continents of the world and remains a great killer to which no man has found a solution. In 1988 alone, about 5.8 million new cases occurred, bringing the total number of people living with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/AIDS by December, 1998 to approximately 33.4 million. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2007) estimates that there are now 40 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide. Since the beginning of the epidemic, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide. It has replaced malaria and tuberculosis as the world’s deadliest infectious disease among adults and is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Fifteen million children have been orphaned by the epidemic. Young people worldwide are the sub-group most affected while about half of new HIV cases are occurring in people aged 15-24. According to Okonofua (1999) it is no longer news that the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus is now well established in Nigeria. Although the virus was first identified in Nigeria in 1988, over 4 million Nigerians were estimated to have contacted the virus by the end of 1998. This makes Nigeria the second country in Africa with the heaviest burden of the disease, in terms of absolute number of those afflicted, second only to South Africa.

The disease has now permeated the entire Nigeria society. It affected men and women in urban and rural areas, as well as adolescents, commercial sex workers, traders, high profile politicians and socialites, servicemen and women, truck drivers and students. Indeed, everyone must feel vulnerable to the disease, which is fast rampaging the most productive age groups in the Nigerian population. Several thousands have died from the disease, and this has brought untold hardship and disorganization to many Nigeria families.

In Nigeria, the burden of HIV/AIDS on the citizenry is alarming. Statistics on the spread of the disease show that Nigeria records about 1,400 new infections every day. This figure represents one new infection per minute. By October 1998, it is believed that Nigeria records about 571,036 cases of HIV infection. In the hierarchy of the world’s most infected AIDS nations, Nigeria is said to occupy the 27 position, constituting 8.9 percent of global infection and 12.5 percent of the African HIV/AIDS burden. Professor Debo Adeyemi, one time health minister in Nigeria, describes the spread of HIV/AIDS as alarming. According to him, about 25 million adults in Nigeria are already infected with the disease. He reasons that with his figure, assuming that there are no new cases of infection, fatality from the disease will surpass the totality of deaths recorded from the Nigeria civil war by the year 2010. The disease up till now has got no cure despite many years of drug and vaccine research activities.

Although few drugs are now available that could prolong the lives of infected persons through reduction of the load of the virus and improvement in the number of white blood cells. Such drugs are, however, very expensive, globally, and quite scarce in Nigeria. Good nutrition and prompt treatment of presenting diseases can also prolong the life of an infected person. Thus, the only effective way of controlling HIV/AIDS, presently, is by prevention, with education as the main thrust of this approach.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

How counselors react to a counselee and how they communicate feelings are of critical importance in counselling. Adolescents come to the counselor for help and understanding. They bring to the counselor confused feeling, ideas, fears and hopes with which they are struggling. The counselors attitudes toward them determine in large measure the extent to which they will attempt to cope constructively with their problems and undertake positive actions. If the counselor demonstrates a genuine acceptance of these adolescents, they will feel that they are received.

The Inadequate knowledge of HIV/AIDS among adolescents, particularly secondary school students calls for a study that will assess the role of school counselors in the prevention of the disease. This study specifically investigated the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Osun State and assessed the precautionary measures taken by secondary school students against the transmission of HIV/AIDS. This was with a view to assessing the role of school counselors in the prevention of the pandemic among secondary school students in Osun State.


1.3 Objective of the Study

  1. Investigate the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Osun State;
  2. Assess the precautionary measures taken by secondary school students against the transmission of HIV/AIDS;
  3. Appraise the activities of school counselors in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

1.2 Research Hypotheses

Hypotheses one
  • Ho: There is a low level of awareness of HIV/AIDs among secondary school students in Osun State.
  • Hi: There is a high level of awareness of HIV/AIDs among secondary school students in Osun State.
Hypotheses two
  • Ho: Counselors are not effective in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
  • Hi: Counselors are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study on the role of school counselors in preventing the spread of HIV in Nigeria will be useful to counselors. It will help them know the effectiveness of their positions and duties in passing relevant information to students. This will enable curriculum organisers and educators to formulate course contents and arrange academic calendars to accommodate the creation of awareness of HIV and AIDS in secondary schools. It will also be useful to other researchers who intend to embark on the same or similar topic as it will serve as a reference material.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study is primarily concerned with school counselors’ roles in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. This study covers secondary school students in Osun State. The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following.

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Counselors:

A counselor is a person whose job is to give advice to people who need it, especially advice on their personal problems.

HIV:

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

AIDS:

By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to have a critical analysis of school counselors’ roles in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations are made, which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefit in addressing the challenges of school counselors’ roles in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.


5.2 Summary

This study aimed at having a critical analysis of school counselors’ roles in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised to guide this study. These objectives include: Investigate the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Osun State, assess the precautionary measures taken by secondary school students against the transmission of HIV/AIDS and appraise the activities of school counselors in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.


5.3 Conclusion

Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn.

From the analysis of the data and the interpretation of results, it can be concluded from this study that level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among the students was high. Majority of the respondents (99.0%) indicated that they had heard about AIDS. Also, 98.0% believed that there is AIDS. However, 67.9% indicated that they have never seen an AIDS patient. With regard to how AIDS can be contacted, majority of the respondents (85.7%) indicated through sharing of syringes, blade and shaving kits, sexual intercourse with an infected person (82.0%), transfusion of infected blood (81.3%) and homosexuality (63.8%). Awareness of HIV/AIDS had a positive relationship with the practice of precautionary measures against the transmission of the disease (r= 0.20, p)

The role of the school counselor in preventing HIV/AIDS cannot be underestimated. They play important role in contributing to the students’ own self-understanding and growth. Pending the discovery of an effective vaccine or therapy, effective health education is the only antidote for the prevention and spread of the pandemic among secondary school students.


5.4 Recommendation

The counselor plays an important role in contributing to the students own self-understanding and growth (Wrenn, 1962). The counselor’s task is not to attempt to change the student directly, but to facilitate the student’s own efforts toward more productive behaviour. It is generally better to prevent a problem than allow the problem to occur before searching for a solution. This is more so in the management of adolescent and youth problems than any other issues. Many of the adjustment behaviour problems of secondary school students are highly refractory in the sense that once they are learned, they are difficult to change. For example, once a youngster starts engaging in socially undesirable sexual behavior, it may be very difficult to change such habit. It might be a better counseling strategy therefore, if helpers (cousellors) will find ways of preventing those socially undesirable behaviours pattern wherever they are likely to occur. One other technique for preventing the socially undesirable sexual behavior is to counsel the youth in creativity strategies. School counseling and psychological services must be made in such a way that the repercussion of unsafe sexual intercourse might be used as aspect of group counseling, health talk, school social care service and so on. Physicians and other health workers may be brought into schools at regular intervals to increase students’ awareness about HIV/AIDS and the possible consequence of unprotected sexual intercourse. A group counselling sessions might also be arranged so that an inventory of physical ailments associated with unprotected sexual intercourse could be used to increase the awareness of students regarding dangers of HIV/AIDS. The counselor is expected to apply informational service designed to help students adjust to their environment. In view of the fact that the counselor cannot handle all the problems of adolescents, there are certain situations which confront the adolescent which the counselor on his own cannot handle; therefore he (the counselor) needs to refer the counselee to sources or other centers where his or her (counselee’s) problems could be adequately handled. This means that the counselor should be knowledgeable about other services close to the locality that could be of use to the client. In referring the client, he should be able to give adequate information about the source to which the client is being referred. The counselor must possess certain personal qualities and characteristics which will make students gravitate to him. He must have empathic understanding. That is, the ability to transpose oneself imaginatively into the feeling of another. Counselors should offer rapport in order to establish an open line of communication between them and their clients.. This implies building and maintaining a counselor – counselee working relationship. This allows the two of them to function in an association of mutual respect and trust. Counselling programmes should be intensified in schools and students should be counseled on how to build up a well-adjusted personality as this will go a long way to reducing the incidence of behavioural maladjustment. In the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, the counselor is expected to incorporate informational service about what HIV/AIDS is, how HIV/AIDS can be contacted, risk behavior of HIV/AIDS, prevention of HIV/AIDS and the consequences of unprotected sexual intercourse. He (the counselor) has to get himself involved in health education and community mobilization through workshops and seminars. Teachers and parents should be involved. They will be able to teach the students through their own examples. Students have to be taught the techniques of being able to be aware of and manage effectively their own cooperative interactions with other people. The prevention of HIV/AIDS can only be achieved through effective health education and HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. The main focus should be on refraining from pre-marital sexual activities. Secondary school students should be counselled on the consequences of unprotected sexual intercourse and to abstain from “engaging in unsafe sexual practices” since he may enjoy the effect of the experiment and try again. Guidance counselors must be thoroughly aware of and sensitive to the facts of the specific population and the setting they serve. Without detailed knowledge gained through personal concern and constant examination of the best factual data available, counselors have no sure foundation upon which to base their actions. It is within a helping relationship that inappropriate, self destructive attitudes are changed into self-enhancing ones. The counselor should help in keeping students cumulative records and anecdotal records of significant behaviour for the purpose of counselling. Everything possible should be done by the counselor to prevent students from contacting HIV/AIDS. Students can only be helped to build on their strengths when the counselor shows his or her genuine concern and trust for them.


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