ATTITUDE OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS TOWARDS HIV VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS estimates that currently, there are 39.4 million people living with HIV worldwide, with 4.9 million new cases of HIV infection in the year and 3.1 million deaths due to .AIDS. Of the approximately 40 million people afflicted with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the top threelocations are in nations of sub-Saharan Africa, with 25.4 million, cases, .followed by 9.6 million combined cases in nations of Asia Eastern Europe and 1 million cases in North America. A joint report on the AIDS pandemic by .UNAIDS and the WHO pointed to steep increases in HIV inflections in East Asia Eastern Europe and Central Asia between 2002-2004.
Many World health bodies since the discovery of HIV / AIDS ·have been reporting frightening increases in the prevalence rates – the virus and syndrome, particularly between adolescent and youths. Half of the newly HIV infectedpersons are about 15,000. 6,000 per day and they are aged 15-,29 largely adolescents under which undergraduates’ falls. This alarming rate of spread of HIV/ AIDS also includes Nigeria, where about 5.4% of adults (ages 15-49) are living with HIV / AIDS.
University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria of about 35,000 populations with 100 different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Student life in University of Lagos is very active and dynamic and since these students are youths therefore, it is a common thing to find them with common interests which can lead to best of times or worst of times or atime of marvelous new birth as a result of the friendship tie that are formed between boys and girls and that are often centered around sex.
HIV voluntary testing is a process whereby an individual willingly accept to go for a HIV test and before the test is conducted, he or she is counseled, the counseling is aimed at enabling the client to cope with stress and take personal decision relating to HIV/AIDS. The counseling is provided to prevent further transmission of HIV and provide psychosocial support to those infected. After the counseling, HIV antibody test is conducted to identify the presence of antibodies to HIV in the blood and afterwards a ·post – test counseling is carried out which will depend on the test result.
Research evidence show that undergraduate attitude towards HIV voluntary testing is a very important factor in knowing the HIV status of the population of a nation like Nigeria who is named among those countries where levels of knowledge of safe sex and HIV remain low. For instance, student who cultivate negative attitude towards voluntary testing are pure evidence that their perception about HIV/AIDS IS very poor therefore, there is the need for intense advocacy for voluntary counseling and testing and all undergraduates should endeavour to willingly go for voluntary HIV· test which will held in curbing the increasing number of HIV transmission.
In the present circumstance. of this scourge of HIV/AIDS, voluntary counseling and testing is paramount and this is urgently needed, especially by the undergraduates who are seen as a vulnerable group and who are constantly influenced by the environment in which they live, particularly among their peers. Hence; there is the need for this research work to determine the attitude of undergraduates of the University of Lagos towards HIV voluntary testing.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The issue of increasing’ number of HIV infections and AIDS have become a global debate, since the discovery of this killer virus reports have shown’ the frightening increase in the prevalence rates of the virus and. syndrome, particularly among adolescent and youths. This alarming rate of spread of HIV infections and AIDS also includes country like Nigeria where 5.4% of adults (ages 15-49) are living with the HIV infection and AIDS.
Therefore, the study is conceived to gain insight into the attitude of undergraduates of University of Lagos towards HIV voluntary testing. It will try to find answers to the following:
1. Will students of University of Lagos be knowledgeable able voluntary counseling and testing?
2. Will students of University of Lagos consider VCT as useful in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS?
3. Will students of University of Lagos know where to access VCT Centres?
4. Will students of University of Lagos know their HIV status?
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY .
The major purpose of this study will be to:
1. Find out whether the attitude of undergraduates towards HIV voluntary testing will be positive.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Since knowledge breeds action and informed response then, there is the need to inform undergraduates of University of Lagos the need for HIV voluntary testing which will make them to know their HIV status and when this is known they are at the epicenter of preventing the progression of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The result of this research will provide undergraduates the opportunities of awareness on safer options, maintain safer sexual and drug- related behaviours.
It will also provide an opportunity to further reduce the spread, burden and stigma of HIV/AIDS.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. Will the student of University of Lagos want to go for HIV voluntary test?
ii. Will the student of University of Lagos accept the fact that VCT helps in curbing HIV transmission?
iii. Will the student of University of Lagos be able to name
two VCT Centres?
iv. Will the student. of University of Lagos know their HIV status
1. Students In University of- Lagos will not be knowledgeable about HIV Voluntary Counseling and testing.
2. Students in University of Lagos will not know their HIV status.
3. Students In University of Lagos will not consider HIV voluntary counselingand testing useful in preventing the spread of HIV
4. Students in University of Lagos will not be aware of facilities offering HIV voluntary counseling and testing.
The study was delimited to only undergraduates of University of Lagos from two faculties namely:-
b. Social Sciences
The major constraint In the course of study Was that of fatigue experienced by the researcher and the administration of questionnaires, as most of the respondents were not ready to sit and tick any questionnaire, most of the respondents were afraid to answer questions on HIV / AIDS.
The collection and coalition of data really proven difficulty due to the nature of research and subject used.
1.3 DEFINITION OF TERMS
AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
VIRUS: The smallest of the microorganisms that causes diseases.
ENDEMIC: An endemic disease is always present in a particular place.
PREVALENT: Common at a particular time or in a particular place
PANDEMIC: A disease that affects the population of a large area.
IMMUNE SYSTEM: The system by which your body protects itself against disease.
INTRAVENOUS: An injection that is done into a vein. CIRCUMCISION: The act of cutting off the skin at the end of the penis (male] the Clitoris (female).
SCARIFICATION: The making of small cuts on an area of skin using a sharp knife.
VCT: Voluntary Counseling and Testing.
SPECIFICITY: Of a HIV test is the percentage of HIV negative cases that are correctly identified as negative by the test.
SENSITIVITY: Of a HIV test is the percentage of HIV positive cases that are correctly identified as positive by the test.
FHI: Family Health International
SWAAN:- Society for Women And Aids In Africa Nigeria Chapter.
STIs: Sexual Transmitted Infections
PLWHA: People Living with HIV/AIDS
ARV:- Antiretroviral Drug