Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Female Secondary School Adolescents' Sexual Behavior and School Based HIV/AIDS Education Program

Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Female Secondary School Adolescents' Sexual Behavior and School Based HIV/AIDS Education Program

Article excerpt

Introduction

Adolescents are at increasing risk of contracting the deadly disease of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV/AIDS is a major global health problem (World Health Organization, (WHO), 2013). According to WHO (2013), sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region. School-based HIV/AIDS education programs might assist in preventing the spread of this deadly disease among adolescents. Concerns related to this study include the fact that the birth rate among Nigerian adolescents is one of the highest in the world (The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) & WHO, 2000). Also, HIV/AIDS infections have no known cure (WHO, 2013). Additionally, the prevalence rate of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS among female Nigerian adolescents is on the rise (UNAIDS & WHO, 2000).

In the year, 2000, a national reproductive health policy was formulated to check risky sexual behavior during adolescence but it failed (WHO, 2001). Obsolete and incomplete information on sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of adolescents in Nigeria contributed to the failure (WHO, 2001). The picture of the future of any nation might be painted from the prevailing lifestyles of her adolescents. In Nigeria, generally, open discussion of sex is seriously frowned upon and not encouraged. Ironically, discussing sex with adolescents is disapproved even though they are sexually active. Sexual education that would have helped in reducing the vulnerability of adolescents is also opposed by some religious and cultural settings (Odutolu, Mafeni, Okonkwo, & Fajemisin, 2006). The situation is further made worse by many Nigerian parents and adults who believe that sexual health education will expose the adolescents to sexual activity.

On the contrary, Nayar (2011) posited that sexual health education to adolescents helps in preventing HIV infection. Studies globally reported by the WHO reveal that sexual health education helps in delaying initiation of sexual activity and reduces the rate of risky sexual behavior (Kirby, Laris & Rolleri, 2007). They added further that sexual health education offered at the right age and time might reduce the vulnerability of adolescents to HIV infection through the reduction in risky sexual behavior. The ignorance and unwillingness of parents and teachers to address adolescent sexual health issues including HIV and AIDS education increases the tendencies of adolescents to risky sexual behavior (Sofo, AliAkpajiak & Pike, 2003).

Globally, people from 15-29 years of age constitute half of the new HIV infection cases (Nayar, 2011). This is due, in part, to the failure to provide sexual and HIV education, which is part of the proven strategy for the prevention of HIV (Nayar, 2011). There is a need to provide sexual health education in schools, homes and communities. Schools stand out as an important setting because of the large collection of adolescents present (Nayar, 2011).The right information will help in arming and sensitizing adolescents against risky sexual behavior. Failure to provide this sexual health information therefore predisposes adolescents to psychosocial health problems, satisfying their curiosities based on the wrong information from wrong sources and wrong interpretations of sexual anatomy and physiology (Nayar, 2011).

The main purpose of this study was to determine the sexual behavior of female secondary school adolescents, and the place of HIV/AIDS-based school education programs in meeting their sexual health needs. The outcome of this study will provide practical information for policy makers in designing informed intervention programs that will meet the sexual health needs of female secondary school adolescents.

Secondary School Adolescents' Sexual Behavior

According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRON), (2012), twice as many girls than boys engage in sexual activity before the age of 15 years. …

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