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PROJECT TOPIC: HIV/AIDS AWARENESS, LOCALITY, AND GENDER AS FACTORS INFLUENCING ATTITUDE TOWARDS SAFE SEX PRACTICE AMONG UNDERGRADUATES

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CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION    Human immunodeficiency virus infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).During the initial infection, a person may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is typically followed by prolonged period without symptoms. As the illness progresses, it interferes more and, more with immune system, making the person much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumors that do not usually affect people who have working immune systems.    In 1985, homosexual men became the first case of AIDS diagnosed in the United State. The number had risen by 1995 to almost 500,00 people. In fact, AIDS is already the leading cause of death in the 35 to 44 age group and will shortly surpass accidents to become the leading cause of death in people age 25 to 34 as well (centre for disease control and prevention (CDC 1994). On a larger scale, the World Health Organization reports over 4.5 million case world wide. Moreover, 20 million people are infected with HIV and that number is growing at the astounding rate of 6,000 new infections per day (World Health Organization, WHO, 1997).    Nigeria recorded her first case of AIDS in 1986. Since then, the epidemic has ballooned through sera-prevalence sentinel survey of 11.8 million young people aged 15-24 were young women and 4.5 million young men and 5% in 2003. The low literacy level and poor health-seeking behaviour of most Nigerians, as well as the limited access to health services due to several reasons have strengthened skeptics’ opinion that the epidemic might have been underreported in the country to date.     The advent of democratic rule in 1999 brought about a significant change in the attitude of government to the epidemic as well as the response to it. This is indicated by council and the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) in 2001. At the state level, coordination is led by the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) while the Local Government Action Committee on AIDS (LACA) holds forth at the Local Government level. Coordinating structures were put in place and an Interim Action Plan (IAP) was developed to combat the epidemic. The strategy was named the HIV/AIDS Emergency Action Plan (HEAP 2001 – 2003).     The HEAP had two major objective including:1.    The creation of enabling environment for interventions and control of the epidemic and;2.    The emergency of specific HIV/AIDS intervention to prevent and mitigate the impact of the epidemic in Nigeria.Eight different strategies were then recommended to enable us achieve these objectives. A national response review was commissioned in June 2004 to access the degree of implementation and attainment of these objectives and its findings led to the development of a new HIV/AIDS National Strategic Framework (NSF) 2005 -2009.The NSF 2005-2009 is a good plan due to the detailed attention paid to the interplay between gender and HIV, the specific attention and focus on women, youth and specific groups as well as its many innovation strategies that seek among many others to address:1.    The prevention of new infections among all groups through behaviour change. 2.    Effective coordination and management of resources. 3.    Universal access to care treatment and support by 2009 beginning with the implementation of the presidential directive to provide treatment to 250, 000 people living with AIDS by 2006.4.    National capacity for research new technologies and local manufactures of commodities. 5.    Operating environment. The creation of awareness through the mass media (electronic point and the non traditional channels) has been ongoing at all levels in the country.Research reports have indicated high level of awareness and low level of knowledge among the population, but this has not been matched by corresponding change in behaviours for prevention nor it translated into a slowing down of the epidemic.     The HIV/AIDS in the city programme seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the factors in particular urban localities, specifically urban informational settlements that contribute to the spread of HIV and that influence the coping capabilities of individuals, communities, and local government institutions when affected by HIV/AIDS.Poverty, inequality, inadequate shelter, overcrowding and other symptoms of underdevelopment are fundamental drivers in increasing the risk of HIV infection. These factors also affect the ability of individuals, households and communities to cope with the subsequent health and socio-economic effects of infection. Gender issues are very critical to HIV and AIDS transmission, prevention and control. Female are at greater risk of HIV infections for biological and social factors. There are also differences in the implication of HIV and AIDS for males and females. While gender issues are often addressed specifically to women’s issues, gender by definition also involved men. It is men’s behaviour that most often put women at risk. So men need to be engaged in discussion about their roles, responsibilities, assumptions and actions in their relationship with women. Behaviour change can not be the sole responsibility of women when confronted by this reality without the engagement of the men in re-focusing their attitudes and behaviours, no real societal and individual behaviour change can happen. To fully address gender issues around HIV/AIDS. There is need for:1.    A systematic effort to expand access to information and counseling about innovative and meaningful HIV/AIDS prevention approaches and productive health. 2.    A reduction in the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS and developing expanded treatment, care and prevention programme for women and girls. 3.    Engaging in high-level public advocacy campaigns focused on the gender dimension as a central part of the HIV/AIDS crises.4.    Expanding support for training of law enforcement and judicial personnel as well as educators and health care providers on the link between gender-base violence and HIV/AIDS.The University of Uyo has expressed its willingness to promote family life education among its students, teaching and non-teaching staff population. The former vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Akaneren Essien gave the assurance in Uyo while declaring open a workshop on citizenship education organized by the general studies directorate of the University in conjunction with the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA). December 2006.Again, the former Director of the General Studies directorate of the University, Prof. Effiong Onwioduokit said that a new course to be titled “Citizenship Education, GST 123” has been approved by the University senate. The course is expected to imbue the students with appropriate knowledge on day to day survival.    HIV transmission and skin piercing instrument: owing to hetero-sexual intercourse, HIV can be contracted from either semen or blood. The later due to minor abrasions that often occur during love making or to cuts or lesions in the men to the women is much more likely but many cases of female to male transmission have also been documented (Carey and Kall chamen, 1995). Oral sex can also transmit the virus when there is even a tiny cut or core in the mouth with recent evidence suggesting that it may be even more dangerous than intercourse, (Carlin, Miller and Bauag, 1994). Anal intercourse, whether with a man or women is a particularly dangerous practice that appears more likely than vaginal intercourse to result in infection. Many people contract HIV through one of either through sexual, blood transmission and skin-piercing instrument. These sexual activities downplay the likelihood that their partner could be infected. Although HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic, the intensity and the rate of infection are most rapid in sub-saharan Africa. According to Olubo (2001), NNAIDS report (1999) shows that sub-Saharan African has about 70% of global total HIV positive people. This places a heavy burden on the socio-economic production and reproduction of the nations. According to the report of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) (2005) HIV/AIDS is a cross-cutting issue, with links to education, health, agriculture, defense, labour and other sectors.The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria had extended beyond high risk groups. More than 2.7 million Nigerian are now infected with the virus. An estimate based on a 2001 sentinel survey conservatively puts prevalence at 5.4 percent of the population. The figure suggests that the nation is in real danger of facing explosive growth in the epidemic with dire consequences for economic growth health and social development. HIV/AIDS is already having a disastrous impact on social and economic development in Nigeria.If not adequately contained, the epidemic will prove to be the greatest single obstacle to reaching national poverty reduction and other targets for social and economic development (NEEDS, 2005). The devastation caused by HIV/AIDS is unique, because it deprives families, communities and the entire nation of their young and productive people. The epidemic has deepens poverty, reducing human development achievements, increases gender inequalities, erodes the ability of government of provide essential services, reducing labour, productivity and supply, and putting a brake on economic growth (NEEDS, 2005).Some researches have shown that the use of condoms during sex might not actually provide as much protection from infection as it is said to. In fact one research showed that condoms actually provided some protection from the spread of AIDS and gonorrhea. They reduce the spread of genital herpes, syphilis and the cancer-causing human papillomavirus virus (HPV).Statement of the ProblemFrom the forgoing, the researcher seeks to provide answers to the following questions:1.    Does HIV/AIDS awareness influence undergraduates attitude towards safe sex practice?2.    Does locality has an effect on attitude towards safe sex practice? 3.    Does gender exert a significant effect on safe sex practice among undergraduates? Purpose of the Study1.    The purpose of this study is to investigate whether HIV/AIDS awareness has any significant influence on safe sex practice among undergraduates. 2.     To determine whether a place of residence (locality) has a relationship with safe sex practice. 3.    To explore the relationship between gender and safe sex among the undergraduates.Operational Definition of TermsHIV/AIDS Awareness: This refers to the process of being informed or knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS as measured by the HIV/AIDS Awareness Scale. Where scores ranging from 50-150 shows negative attitude and scores ranging from 157-250 positive attitude.     In this study, attitude is seen from two perspectives: positive and negative. Positive attitude refers to favourable evaluation of participants reaction towards safe sex practice as a result of awareness. While negative attitude is unfavourable evaluation of participants reaction to safe sex practice as measured by Safe Sex Questionnaire (SSQ), where scores ranging from 40 -65 shows positive attitude and scores raging from 13 – 39 shows negative attitude.Locality: Refers to the place of residence of participants or place of domiciliarity. In this work, it is dichotomized under two levels: On – campus residence and off – campus residence. Gender: It is a biological differentiation of participants of either a male or female.Safe Sex: Refers to being careful and conscious about sexual intercourse and other sexual activities through the application and observation of sex – oriented knowledge as measured by the Safe Sex Questionnaire (SSQ).  Where scores ranging from 40-65 shows positive attitude and scores ranging from 13-39 show negative attitude.


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