Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Sociocultural and Economic Factors Influencing the Use of HIV/AIDS Information by Women in Ugep, Cross River State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Sociocultural and Economic Factors Influencing the Use of HIV/AIDS Information by Women in Ugep, Cross River State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Socio-cultural and economic factors predispose women to HIV/AIDS infection. These factors are more worrisome in the rural areas where women are most hit making them vulnerable to the disease. HIV/AIDS has been recognized as a social disease and its aftermath is attributed to social sexual behaviour (Dallabetta, 1999; Dibua, 2009). Women are more vulnerable to the disease due to unequal right and access to basic necessities of life such as education. Cultural beliefs and imposture have increased women risks and restricted their decision regarding risky behaviour. Cultural practices such as early marriage and adolescent pregnancies cause girls to drop out of school at early age, thereby undermining their economic status. This makes them to be completely dependent on their husbands and opposite sex for survival. Polygamy and widow inheritance are other cultural practices that contribute to the incidence of HIV/AIDS among women. Other practices such as male-child preference, women circumcision, polygamy, and use of contraceptives have significant implications on HIV/AIDS infection. Some men refuse to wear condoms because they claim it is not in their culture to do so. Preston-Whyte (1999) reported that common socio-cultural barriers to embracing protective behaviour against HIV / AIDS are critical topics of research implemented to understand why some preventive strategies, especially those encouraging the use of condoms, have been unsuccessful throughout many parts of Africa

However, in addressing this sociocultural and economic divide; The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS emphasized the need to address the sociocultural behaviours and values of communities that expose individuals to HIV risk behaviours. This approach is believed would lead to effective HIV/ AIDS intervention strategies (UNAIDS, 2006). Furthermore, UNAIDS (2002) noted that sexual behaviour is the most important factor influencing the spread of HIV in Africa, Nigeria in particular and that behaviour varies greatly across cultures, age groups, socio-economic class and gender. A study in four African cities (Cotonou, Kisumu, Ndola and Yaounde) identified young age at women's first sexual intercourse; young age at first marriage; age difference between spouses; the presence of HIV-2 infection and trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection); and lack of male circumcision to be highly responsible for the HIV prevalence in these areas. Culturally, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation; most of them are denied the freedom to manage their lives because the men who are head of the families dictate what will happen, when and where.

Poverty has been identified as a serious economic factor that could predispose persons mostly women to HIV/AIDS infection. Women who are poor are often sexually exploited as a result of their desire to make a living. In buttressing this fact, Dibua (2009) alleged that the developing countries particularly, sub-Saharan African bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic on account of poverty and cultural factors among others which create particular vulnerability to the agonizing consequences of the infection. In a similar way, Panos Institute (1990) noted that developing countries have indicated that two out of every three person who fall below poverty line are women who have the highest rate of illiteracy, lowest educational levels and may not even have access to radio and television. This perhaps makes it difficult for women to receive adequate information about AIDS/STDS. Studies on sociocultural and economic cum political factors determining HIV/AIDS infection have been carried out. The available studies place much emphasis on adolescents (both males and females) due probably to their sexual behaviour (Conjoh et al., 2011), othersexamined the effects of these factors on commercial sex workers (Dibua, 2009). Several other studies related the influence of sociocultural, economic and political factors on contraceptive use (Preston-Whyte, 1999; Falola and Heaten, 2007). …

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