KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS HIV/AIDS AND SEXUAL NETWORKING AMONG INTERCITY COMMERCIAL DRIVERS
This study investigated the Knowledge and Attitude towards HIV/AIDS and Sexual Networking among Intercity Commercials Drivers in Eti-Osa L.G.A of Lagos State. The purpose of this research was to examine the knowledge of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS, to examine the attitude of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS, to examine the attitude of intercity commercial drivers toward usage of condom and to examine the ways of managing sexual desire among intercity commercial drivers. The descriptive research survey was used to assess the respondents’ opinions using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. In this study, 100 (one hundred) respondents were selected and used as samples to represent the population of the study. Four (4) research questions and two (2) null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study. Also, the ANOVA statistical tool was used to test and analyses the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the exercise, the following results were obtained:Hypothesis one revealed that intercity commercial drivers have significant relationship between adequate knowledge towards HIV/AIDS.Hypothesis two indicated that intercity commercial drivers have significant relationship between positive attitude towards HIV/AIDS. Based on the findings from the study the following recommendations were made on the basis of the findings of this study which include the following: The findings of this study clearly indicate that government, non-governmental bodies and educators must provide more than just accurate information about HIV/AIDS. They must be aware of the differences between men and women’s attitudes and behaviours with regard to HIV/AIDS. It is important for future research to focus on: a) the level of knowledge of the staff or other educators on the same issue, in order to ensure that they impart right knowledge and attitude; and b) methods which help citizens to realistically assess their risk for HIV/AIDS, it is highly likely that HIV/AIDS will still dominate as one of the main health concerns of the nation for years to come. As education has been found to be one of the most powerful tools to contain this pandemic, government, non-governmental bodies and educators should take professional and moral responsibility to pro-actively implement HIV/AIDS education and prevention strategies in their respective institutions. As this study has shown there is a momentum and it is equally the responsibility of these bodies to keep it going.
Background to the Study
HIV/AIDS have become a global crisis that threatens to reverse a generation of accomplishments in human development. The gravity of HIV/AIDS epidemic and its negative impacts on individuals, families and communities thus constitute an unprecedented challenge to the establishment of a sustainable socio-economic development. HIV/AIDs is a rapidly growing epidemic in sub-Sahara Africa. The report of the 2005 sero-prevalence sentinel survey in Nigeria indicates that the current prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 4.4%1. Traditional beliefs, cultural factors, lack of knowledge about the disease and poverty were the most important factors related to the increasing HIV/AIDS prevalence in Nigeria (Omokhodion, Osungbade, Ojanen and Barengo, 2007).
Infection with HIV and STD occurs in specific risk situations and scenarios. Among young people, girls are pressured into having sex with their boyfriends and/or older men, syringes with drugs are shared with friends, and boys are pressurised to join friends for a night out with girls of no virtue. For adults, especially in sub- Saharan Africa, sexual contact has been shown to be by far the dominant mode of HIV transmission, followed by blood transfusion and exposure to needles, syringe and skin piercing instruments (Hope, 2001).
The great majority of HIV-infected adults in sub-Saharan Africa are known to have acquired the virus through heterosexual intercourse and infected women outnumber men by ratio 6:5. The frequent presence of other STDs tends to facilitate HIV transmission. Central and East Africa are the hardest hit by the epidemic, which accounts for one sixth of the regions’ populations but between half and two-thirds of its infections. In several towns and cities, a quarter or even one third of all men and women aged 15–49 years are estimated to be HIV positive. In many Nigerian cities, HIV prevalence is above 10% and there are indications that the situation might become worse if drastic interventions are not implemented (Hope, 2001).According to UNAIDS, over 70% of the people who have contacted HIV live in sub-Saharan African. Nigeria has entered a stage where the epidemic could increase at an exponential rate unless adequate national and regional responses are mounted to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS (Onwuliri and Jolayemi, 2102).
Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated 33.4 million people living with HIV globally in 2008 (UNAIDS, 2009) and about 3.11 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in Nigeria by the end of 2010, thereby making about 9% of the global HIV burden (FMH, 2010).
Heterosexual transmission accounts for 80% of all HIV infections in Nigeria (USAIDS, 2003). The HIV epidemic in Nigeria is characterized by one of the most rapidly increasing rates of new HIV/AIDS cases in West Africa (HIV/AIDS). This infection rate, although lower than that of neighbouring African countries, should be considered in the context of Nigeria’s relatively large population. In 2007 alone, approximately 170,000 people died from AIDS (UNAIDS, 2008). With AIDS contributing to loss of so many lives, Nigeria’s life expectancy has declined from the average life expectancy of 53.8 years for women and 52.6 years for men in 1991 to 46 for women and 47 for men in 2007 (WHO, 2008).
HIV/AIDS Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBSS) was conducted in 2007 among subpopulations whose behaviours or occupations expose them to higher risk of acquiring or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI). These sub-groups included men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSW), intravenous drug users (IDU), transport workers (TW) and uniformed service personnel. The survey was conducted across five states namely: Anambra, Cross River, Edo, Kano, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the objectives of obtaining baseline data on risk behaviour; determining the prevalence of HIV infection and syphilis; and assessing their knowledge and beliefs about STI (FMH, 2007). HIV prevalence was highest among female brothel based sex workers (37.4%); followed by non-brothel- based sex workers (30.2%); MSM (13.5%); IDU (5.6%); transport workers (3.7%); police (3.5%) and armed forces (3.1%). These sub-populations engaged in multiple partnerships in the past 12 months of the survey with armed forces, police and transport workers having 37.3%, 29.4% and 37.9% respectively (Beyrer, 2007).
Men’s sexual behaviour greatly places women at risk of acquiring the infection. Male behaviour contributes to HIV infection in women who often have less power to determine when, how and even where sex takes place. Some sub-groups of the population, such as female sex workers and long distance drivers, have been shown to be particularly at increased risk of exposure to HIV (Ekanem, Afolabi, Nuga and Adebajo, 2005).
A study in which the knowledge and attitudes of intercity commercial drivers concerning sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and sexual behaviour were surveyed revealed that 317 (99%) of the subjects had heard of AIDS and were aware of the correct risk-reducing behaviour. Though they knew that the use of condoms can prevent the transmission/acquisition of STDs, only 32% had ever used condoms despite the fact that 61% admitted to visiting prostitutes.
Short term or long term separation between spouses due to the demands of long distance driving profession has increased the opportunities to have sexual relationship with multiple partners, thus becoming a critical factor in the propagation of HIV/AIDS. In Nigeria, there is always heavy presence of commercial sex in most of the places where heavy truck drivers use as stop-over, which indicates high possibility of patronage of these sex workers by the drivers (Lawal, Akintunde Mutairu and Olalude, 2015).
United Nations against AIDS (UNAIDS, 2008) estimated that only 18 percent of women and 21 percent of men between the ages of 15 and 24 correctly identify ways to prevent HIV. Lack of accurate information about sexual health has meant there are many myths and misconceptions about sex and HIV, contributing to increasing transmission rates as well as stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV/AIDS. It is on this note that the study examined the knowledge and attitude toward HIV/AIDS and sexual networking among intercity commercial drivers in Lagos State.
Statement of the Problem
The intercity commercial drivers are exposed daily to very close interaction with different segments of the population with their divergent views about the infection. It is suspected that this interaction may be one of many ways that expose them to multiplicity of sexual partners hence this study which aimed at assessing HIV-related knowledge and sexual behaviour, particularly condom use, among intercity commercial drivers. Socioeconomic factors indirectly influence HIV/AIDS transmission since they influence the individual’s decision to indulge in HIV/AIDS risk behaviours. Poverty was considered a major factor influencing indulgence in heterosexual activities, an established sociocultural and sexual behavioural HIV-risk factor, in these areas.
Short or long distance travelling has been implicated to be a risk factor in HIV infections. The drivers are mostly at risk because of they leave their families frequently to satisfy their sexual need by patronizing commercial sex workers (CSWs) and engaging in casual relationship with female hawkers in stop stations. The sexual risk behaviours that lead to increased incidence of HIV and STIs include unprotected sexual intercourse, premarital sex, extramarital and commercial sex, multiple sexual partners and extra-vaginal sex as in homosexuals as Peter, (2002) stated.
The resulting co-mingling of the two mobile, sexually active, high-risk populations explains high prevalence of HIV and STI rates in intercity commercial drivers and the subsequent spread of the disease through the African continent. In addition to having sex with CSW, most truck drivers have regular girlfriends or wives at home who are likely to become infected with HIV by their husbands and boyfriends, and continue spreading the virus in their local communities.
Purpose of the Study
The aim of this research work is to examine the knowledge and attitude toward HIV/AIDS and sexual networking among intercity commercial drivers in Lagos State. The following objectives are to achieve the purpose of the study.
1. To examine the knowledge of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS.
2. To examine the attitude of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS.
3. To examine the attitude of intercity commercial drivers toward usage of condom.
4. To examine the ways of managing sexual desire among intercity commercial drivers.
The study will raise the following question in the course of the study:
1. What is the knowledge of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS?
2. What is the attitude of intercity commercial drivers towards HIV/AIDS?
3. What is the attitude of intercity commercial drivers toward usage of condom?
4. What are the ways of managing sexual desire among intercity commercial drivers?
H1: Intercity commercial drivers do not have any significant relationship between adequate knowledge towards HIV/AIDS
H2: Intercity commercial drivers do not have any significant relationship between positive attitude towards HIV/AIDS
Significance of the Study
An empirical study of this nature can help to ascertain the level of awareness of the efficacy of condom in preventing HIV transmission among the sexually active members of the society. The knowledge of the level of awareness about the use and efficacy of condom in preventing HIV transmission through heterosexual intercourse can enable the government, non-governmental organization and other service providers, to embark on programmes geared towards encouraging the sexually active people in the society, especially intercity commercial drivers, to engage in safe sexual activities that will reduce their exposure to HIV infection. The information gathered formed input for the design of an appropriate STIs and HIV prevention education intervention programme for the target population. Finally, the research will also be of practical relevance to the government, non-governmental organizations and social researchers who may be interested in this field of study.
Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study is to examine the knowledge and attitude toward HIV/AIDS and sexual networking among intercity commercial drivers in Lagos State with focus on Ojota new garage terminal.
Definition of Terms
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus): It is a virus transmitted through bodily fluids which weakens the immune system and causes AIDS (incurable disease characterized by a deterioration of the immune system)
AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome): It is a severe immunological disorder caused by the retrovirus HIV, resulting in a defect in cell-mediated immune response that is manifested by increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections and to certain rare cancers, especially Kaposi's sarcoma. It is transmitted primarily by exposure to contaminated body fluids, especially blood and semen.
Sex: It is regarded as any consensual behavior between two or more individuals involving genital contact and bodily penetration.
Knowledge: It is described as the familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.
Attitude: It is a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation.
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