Personal Risk Assessment of HIV/ AIDS Infections among Nigerian Adolescent Girls in Secondary Schools

By Torubeli, Victor Ayebami | Gender & Behaviour, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Personal Risk Assessment of HIV/ AIDS Infections among Nigerian Adolescent Girls in Secondary Schools


Torubeli, Victor Ayebami, Gender & Behaviour


Abstract

This study investigated personal risk assessment of AIV/AIDS infections among adolescent girls in Nigeria. Four variables (age, knowledge and awareness, Parental status and family type) constituted the personal risk assessment of the adolescent girls. The sample consisted of 2000 adolescent girls using the stage sampling. Their ages ranged between 12 and 19 years (x = 16.5 year). The participants were draw from Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Benue states. A validated instrument, personal Risk Assessment Questionnaire was used to collect data for the study. Results showed that the four variables which constituted personal risk assessment of adolescent girls jointly and relatively contributed to the personal risk assessment of HIV/AIDS infections among the Nigerian adolescent girls. Implications for the study were highlighted.

Introduction

The term adolescence includes mental, emotional, social, biological and physical maturity. It is customaiy to regard adolescence as beginning when children become sexually mature and ending when they reach the age of legality (Ariyo, 2004). Thus, Asuzu, Nwagwu, Ohaeri and Asuzu (2004) regarded it as a special age group ranges between twelve and twenty one years, which is located between childhood and adulthood. Universally therefore, an adolescent could be defined as an individual who although no longer a child, is not yet considered an adult. This period of development is characterized physiologically with the onset of secondaiy sexual characteristics, the growth spurt, and final development of the central nervous system, hormonal neurotransmitter and biochemical changes.

Thus, Asuzu et al, (2004) described the adolescent period as a definite milestone in the developmental stage of those that fall within this group, considering the fundamental psychological and physiological changes that place during the period. It is also the time they integrate sexual impulse into self-concept. Generally, all adolescents undergo significant changes in their physical size, shape and capacities. They also experience substantial changes in their social activities, relationship, and responsibilities, in their abilities to think and reason, and their view of themselves. These psychological changes are the result of both nature (physical changes) and nurture (the change in setting and expectations) to which our culture exposes adolescents (kinberly, 2002).

The secondaiy sexual indicators in a female adolescent starts with budding of the breast, appearance of the public hair and fats deposition at the buttocks. These are followed by the appearance of menarche (first menstruation), which occurs at about age 13, normally at the Zenith of the general growth spurt (Tanner, 1970). Menarche indicates readiness for reproduction, although some may still remain sterile until a year or twelve (12) years after its appearance (Ariyo, 2004). The implications of this trend, as posited by Muuss (1972) and other psychologists, include changes in interest, attitudes, social sophistication, earlier interest in sex, love and marriage, greater tolerance of others, increased seriousness and social awareness.

According to Akinboye (1987), the sudden changes in adolescents may result in behavioral, social, peer and developmental problems. In the same vein, Sokan and Akinade (1994) highlighted adolescent problems as those of health, adjustment, frustration, lack of concentration and sex problems. There is high sexual awareness, sexual activity and interest in the opposite sex. Various studies have established that the adolescents and young adults are the most sexually active or promiscuous element of the population who have sex with different partners more than any other group in the society (Oloko & Orobuloye, 1993; IsiugoAbanihe; 1993; Ogbuagu & Charles, 1995). Predicated on these implications of developmental secular trend is the issue of adolescent girls personal risk assessment of HIV/AIDS, which is the focus of this study. …

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