THE KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTION OF HIV/AIDS RISK BEHAVIOR AMONG THE STUDENTS
Background of the study
The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a public health challenge of enormous magnitude in the world today. Studies in sub-Saharan Africa have indicated that youth are the hardest hit group by the infections. New HIV infections are heavily concentrated among young people aged between fifteen to twenty four years that is, youth. Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV infections because of the physical physiological, social and economic attributes of adolescents. Young adults are also at risk as a result of high risky sexual behaviours, attitudes and constraints of the societies in which they grow up. More so peer pressure to obtain luxury item such as expensive clothing, jewelleries, fashionable hair styles, accessories and makeup motivate young women to engage in transactional sex. Youths accounts for sixty percent of people living with HIV/AIDS and forty percent of new infections in Africa (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS,2006 ; Okonta,2007;Bankole,A.A Biddlecom,G.Guiella,S.Singh and E.Zulu,2007).
This pandemic has claimed lives of people in the world including those in working aged group that is young adults between the ages of twenty five and forty five years (Economically active population). This means that people are ill and die during the years in which they are most be economically productive and are expected to play the greatest role as providers and care givers in families and communities and consequently threatening economic development of countries which are severely affected by the disease(Alutu,2000;UNAIDS 2001). Due to its potential negative impact on economic development, prevention of new infections and further spreads of the pandemic is one of the ten millennium development goals (MDGs).
In most countries the HIV epidemic is driven by behaviours that expose individuals to the risk of infection. Information on knowledge and on the level and intensity of risk behaviour related to HIV/AIDS is essential in identifying populations most at risk of HIV infections and in better understanding the dynamics of the pandemic. Nigerian young adults are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic and often unaware of their personal risk behaviours which predispose to the risk of being infected. Universities in developing countries including Nigeria present a high risk environment for the spread of HIV/AIDS due to the; population of young people who in most cases experiment with sex.
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