Women and HIV/AIDS Epidemic: The Issue of College Age Girls' Awareness in Nigeria

By Momoh, Solomon O.; Moses, Ailemen I. et al. | College Student Journal, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Women and HIV/AIDS Epidemic: The Issue of College Age Girls' Awareness in Nigeria


Momoh, Solomon O., Moses, Ailemen I., Ugiomoh, Maria M., College Student Journal


This study was conducted to examine women and HIV/AIDS epidemic: the issue of school age girls' awareness in Nigeria information was elicited from 1,222 randomly selected regular under-graduate female students from the 11 faculties of the university of Lagos, Nigeria, with the use of a standardized structured questionnaire. Results of the major objective of the study, that is the level of HIV/AIDS awareness among female undergraduate students showed a moderate level of awareness, including other specific objectives of age, level of study and marital status. It contrast, 600 level of study showed a high degree of awareness, it was only divorce as a sub-variable of marital status that showed a low level of awareness. The paper then made some recommendations, that what is needed in Nigeria and indeed Africa, is to address the cultural, biological and socioeconomic conditions contributing to women greater vulnerability to HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Globally, HIV/AIDS was perceived as a public health problem and declared and epidemic. The initial response was that of denial. Eventually the first case of AIDS was reported in Nigeria, 1986, Federal Ministry of Health (FMH, 2003). The Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) is spread mainly through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion with an infected person, breast milk, mother to child transmission etc, has attracted much concern from government, non-govern mental organizations, as well as international communities.

Despite these, not less than 200,000 people lived with HIV/AIDS in 1980, that number soared to 3 million by mid-1980s and further rose to 8 million by the end of the decade. But in the 1990s the increase was enormous, bringing it to 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2001, (UN AIDS 2001). Sub-Saharan Africa with less than 11 percent of the world population is said to contain more than 70% of all HIV infected people. More than 28 million in the Sub-Saharan Africa, 7 million in Asia, 2 million in Latin America and the Caribbean and 3 million in other regions.

The prevalence trends in Nigeria showed that between 1993 and 1999 growth rates were 3.8% to 5.4% respectively (Achime 2000).

Also the spread of HIV is gender biased; young people are particularly susceptible to HIV infection, an estimated 11.8 million people age 15 to 24 were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2001 (WHO 2002). Young people are vulnerable because they are likely to engage in high-risk behaviour, by having multiple sex partners, unprotected sexual intercourse among others. Gupta (2002) asserts, that it was discovered in every 23 infected people, 13 infected must be women and this gender gap is specially pronounced among those who are younger than 25 years. South Africa Health Review (2000) stated that 97% of women have heard of AIDS, with 10% of women stating that staying with one partner and using condom during intercourse would not protect them against AIDS, while 21% still believe that transmission could take place by sharing public toilets, 38% are of the opinion that HIV could be spread through mosquito bite. In Nigeria it was discovered by the National Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS, 2003) in a study carried out in the country that males have a higher HIV/AIDS awareness than their female counterparts. On routes of HIV infection and prevention, it was discovered that the males have a higher level of awareness than the females.

In Nigeria, studies on university population are few despite the vulnerability of students to unsafe sexual practices. Arowojolu (2002) in a study on sexuality, contraceptive choice and AIDS awareness, discovered that women were more likely than men to have relationship with older partners, for monetary gains, maturity and understanding by older partners, and security. It was equally discovered that 60% had two or more current sexual partners. Kelly, (2000) in a study in Zambia discovered a marked decline in HIV prevalence rates in 15 to 19 years-old boys and girls with higher level of education, but an increase among those with lower level of education. …

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