1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS), which is caused by the virus Human Immune-deficiency Virus
(HIV), was first discovered in the 1980 in the United States of America,
and now it has spread like flood over the globe (UNAIDS, 2001). At the
first discovery of the deadly sickness, it was recorded that 21.8
million people died as a result of it. A breakdown from this data shows
that 13.2 million orphaned by AIDS worldwide since the first incident;
Ninety-five percent (95%) of them live in Africa. Similarly, it is
estimated that about 25.3 million Africans live with HIV or AIDS, with
about 150,000 infected on a daily basis (Peltzer et al., 2002). It is
observed that this deadly ailment mostly struck young adults between
ages 25-45yrs. The record for adolescent is about 60 percent of those
infected in many countries; reason being that they are one of the most
vulnerable because of the physical, psychological, social and economic
attributes of adolescence. For instance, they are more often seen
engaging in the following activities sex (heterosexual, homosexual,
bisexual activities or oral sex), smoking, tattooing, taking drugs (such
as marijuana and cocaine), manicure/ pedicure, kissing with bruised
gum, and drinking alcohol; which at the end of the day leads to
contracting HIV/AIDS (Rwenger 2003).
In addition, it has been estimated that
60 percent of Nigerians infected with HIV/AIDS are youths between ages
13 to 25 (UNAIDS Report, 2005). This has greatly affected the work force
of the country as youths make up the greater percentage of work force
of any country.
However, it has been reported that the
level of awareness about HIV/AIDS by universities undergraduate is very
low, they have little knowledge, alongside many misconceptions about it
(Costin et al. 2002). Similarly, University of Lagos undergraduates have
knowledge about HIV/AIDS to an extent, at least the various modes of
transmission like blood transfusion, sexual contact, and share of sharp
objects; but the problem lies in their misconception on its
transmission. It is obvious the students are familiar with the term but
most of them believe HIV/AIDS can be transmitted kissing, hugging and
shaking of hands.
Also, in a study carried out by Okeke
and Fortune’s (1992), they revealed that most students were aware that
HIV/AIDS could be transmitted through blood transfusion, sexual contact,
and sharing of needles with an infected patient; though a few also know
that the virus cannot be transferred through sharing of clothes,
shaking of hands, kissing, and hugging. It is equally reported that
despite the fact that undergraduates were aware of transmission through
sex, it still did not stop undergraduates of universities in Nigeria
from engaging in unprotected sex. In addition, some of the students have
this belief that HIV/AIDS can be transferred through mosquito bites.
It is therefore pertinent at this point
to reveal a result of a research carried out by Meneghin (1996), he
interviewed 10 university students and 21 detainees of University of Sao
Paulo. Of which from the interview, it was discovered that 76.5 percent
of the students and 67.9 percent of the detainees were of the opinion
that HIV/AIDS was something very far from them, thus a test was
conducted on them which instilled fear in about 50% of the students and
67.9 percent of the detainees.
However, it is due to the aforementioned
discrepancies about HIV/AIDS among undergraduates in Nigerian
universities, University of Lagos to be precise, that this study has
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
HIV/AIDS has added to the already poor
state of Nigeria in which people die every day due to poverty. The
deadly virus has sent many youths who would have contributed to the
productivity of Nigeria to their early graves.
In many Nigerian universities,
University of Lagos to be precise, many of its students do not know
their HIV status because of the many misconceptions they have.
Similarly, unfortunate undergraduates of
University of Lagos who are infected with the virus prefer to remain
quite about it, instead of being open to help.
All these are the problems that have spurred this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
objective of this study is to examine HIV/AIDS: knowledge, attitudes and
beliefs among University of Lagos undergraduate students.
Other specific objectives include:
1.To investigate the effects of poor knowledge about HIV/AIDS on undergraduates of University of Lagos.
2.To determine the extent to which undergraduates of University of Lagos are enlightened about HIV/AIDS.
3.To examine if there are courses in the university that promote awareness on HIV/AIDS.
4.To examine the relationship between age and undergraduates of University of Lagos in tackling issues associated with HIV/AIDS.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are generated to guide this study:
- What are the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among University of Lagos undergraduate students towards HIV/AIDS?
- What are the effects of poor knowledge about HIV/AIDS on undergraduates of University of Lagos?
- To what extent are the undergraduates of University of Lagos enlightened about HIV/AIDS?
- Are there courses in the university that promote awareness on HIV/AIDS?
- What is the relationship between age and undergraduates of University of Lagos in tackling issues associated with HIV/AIDS?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: The undergraduates of University of Lagos are not enlightened about HIV/AIDS.
H1: The undergraduates of University of Lagos are to an extent enlightened about HIV/AIDS.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study aims at informing, educating,
sensitizing and enlightening the general public and undergraduates of
institutions about how to prevent and manage HIV/AIDS. Similarly, this
study is coming on the thrust of reminding the government, tertiary
school administrators and non-governmental organizations that much is
expected of them in enlightening the general public and undergraduates
of universities about HIV/AIDS. They are meant to put programmes and
campaigns that will aid this together to achieve excellence.
This study will be of immense benefit to
other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be
used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study
contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to HIV/AIDS:
knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among undergraduates, with University
of Lagos as a case study.
Limitations of study
- 1. Financial constraint-
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in
sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in
the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
- 2. Time constraint- The
researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic
work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
HIV/AIDS: AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a syndrome caused by a virus called HIV
(Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system,
making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This
susceptibility worsens as the syndrome progresses.
HIV is found in the body fluids of an
infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). The
virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and
sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to
their babies during pregnancy, delivering the baby during childbirth,
and through breast feeding.
HIV can be transmitted in many ways,
such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated
Both the virus and the syndrome are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS.
People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some
will then develop AIDS. The development of numerous opportunistic
infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.
According to research, the origins of
HIV date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in
west-central Africa. AIDS and its cause, HIV, were first identified and
recognized in the early 1980s.
There is currently no cure for HIV or
AIDS. Treatments can slow the course of the condition - some infected
people can live a long and relatively healthy life.
KNOWLEDGE: These are
facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience
or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
ATTITUDE: A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior.
BELIEF: This is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
UNAIDS. 2001. HIV/AIDS in Africa. Retrieved on August 22, 2003 http://www.unaids.org/facts_sheets/files/FS-Africa.htm
Peltzer, K., E. Mpofu, P. Baguma and B.
Lawal. 2002. “Attitudes towards HIV-antibody testing among university
students in four African countries.”International Journal for the
Advancement of Counselling, 24: 193-203.
Rwenger, M. J. 2003. Poverty and sexual risk behaviour among young people in Bamenda, Cameroon. African Population Studies, 18(2):92-102.
UNAIDS 2005. Report on 2003 global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Geneva.
Costin, A.C., B. J. Page, D. R. Pietrzak, D. Kerr and C.
W. Symons. 2002. “HIV/AIDS knowledge and
beliefs among pre-service and in-service school counselors.”
Professional School Counseling, 6: 79-85.
Okeke, M.O., and D. A. Fortune. 1992,
April-May.“Nigerian University students and AIDS: a survey of knowledge,
attitude and perceived needs for effective AIDS education program
.”Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Denver, Colorado
Meneghim, P. 1996. “Entre o medo da
contaminacaopelo HIV e as representacoes simbolicas da AIDS: oespectro
do desespero contemparaneo [Between the fear of HIV contamination and
the symbolic representation of AIDS: the specter of contem-
porary despair].” Revista Da Escola De Enfermagem
Da USP, 303: 399-415