Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Knowledge, Beliefs and Attitudes about HIV/AIDS-Related Issues, and the Sources of Knowledge among Health Care Professionals in Southern Nigeria

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Knowledge, Beliefs and Attitudes about HIV/AIDS-Related Issues, and the Sources of Knowledge among Health Care Professionals in Southern Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has become one of the most important public health problems in recent times and it is having a profound impact on the lives of infected people and their families. There is an acknowledged burden of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. As the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection rises, health care professionals worldwide can expect greater clinical exposure to infected patients. The care of people living with AIDS presents a significant challenge to the health care sector. This study seeks to explore the relationship between sources of HIV/AIDS information and knowledge, and the relationship between knowledge of HIV/AIDS and care for people with AIDS among health care providers in three different levels of health care institutions in the southern region of Nigeria.

Health care workers from two states in southern Nigeria completed a questionnaire that was designed to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices about HIV/AIDS. The sample was composed of 277 (65%) females and 135 (31.7%) males.

The results showed a fair level of knowledge among all health care professionals, with the highest level of knowledge among the doctors and the lowest among laboratory workers. There was a significant gender difference in the level of knowledge but the data suggested that knowledge did not differ by hospital settings. There were generally negative feelings and views about the care of HIV/AIDS patients among the professionals, these views being worst at the community health centers and best at the government hospital. The greatest source of information for the majority of professionals was health talks/seminars, and those respondents who got their information from school scored the highest on the items on general knowledge of HIV/AIDS incidence, cause, transmission, and clinical treatment. This has important implications for future interventions designed for health care professionals including doctors, nurses and laboratory workers.

Key words

attitudes; health care professionals; HIV/AIDS; knowledge; sources of information

INTRODUCTION

Human Immunodeficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in Nigeria The Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic has become one of the most important public health problems in recent times, and sub-Saharan Africa has been disproportionately impacted by the disease. As the largest and most populous country in Africa (population approximately 130 million), Nigeria has been experiencing a steady increase in annual Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) sero-prevalence rates (from 0% in 1986 to 3.7% in 1993, and 5.8% in 2003), with rates of up to 23% being reported among commercial sex workers.1 Gwarzo (1998)2 examined the HIV prevalence rates in health care settings in Nigeria and found that the prevalence of HIV infection ranges from 4.5% in antenatal clinic users, 15% in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) patients to 34.5% among commercial sex workers. The national prevalence is 5.4% and 2.9 million people are already infected with the HIV virus.3,4 These statistics, it is noted parenthetically, come from sentinel surveys in the formal medical sources, which are accessible to less than 50% of the population,5 suggesting that the prevalence is much higher than is reported. The difference between HIV sero-prevalence in urban and rural areas is not large, indicating that the AIDS problem in Nigeria is not strictly an urban one.6

As the prevalence of HIV/AIDS continues to rise, health care practitioners in all geographic regions of Nigeria can expect greater clinical exposure to patients infected with HIV.

HIV/AIDS and health care professionals

Health care professionals (HCP), operationally defined as professionally trained health caregivers including doctors, nurses and laboratory scientists/workers, occupy a potential vanguard position in AIDS preventative programs and the management of diagnosed patients. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.