AUTHOR: DR. NGOZI OKEKE
DEPARTMENT: COMMUNITY MEDICINE
AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA
HIV/AIDS is one of the leading developmental problems in the developing countries including Nigeria and there are about 4 million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS, women, teenagers and young adults being the most affected. The projections of annual deaths caused by AIDS have increased in Nigeria from less than 50,000 in 1999 to about 350,000 in 2003-2004 and the number of Nigerian children orphaned as a result of parental AIDS-related deaths is projected to be near 2 million in 2003-2004. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of health education intervention on knowledge, attitude and perceptions of Nigerian Police personnel in Nnewi about HIV/AIDS as well as identify undesirable sexual behaviors among them that lead to contracting the disease and to assess how they acquire information about HIV/AIDS. Nnewi North was selected by random sampling out of the twenty one local government areas in Anambra state. A total of 215 out of 299 Nigerian police personnel was selected using stratified random sampling technique. The proportion of personnel in each cadro was also used to enrol participants from all the three stations of Nigerian Police in Nnewi, Anambra state. Interviewer-administered semi structured questionnaire was used to seek information about their knowledge on prevention and their perceptions of high risk behaviours leading to infections. with the virus among other things. A health education intervention was conducted to the respondents on same parameters of interest immediately after the baseline, The same tool for data collection was administered again immediately after and six (6) months after the health education intervention. Analysis was done using SPSS version 13, chi square test was carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of health education on respondents pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention and six months after. A P value of <0.05 was regarded as significant. The mean age of the respondents was 34.65±8years and the majority of the respondents have attained secondary education and above (78.9%). The most frequent age group was 30-39years (35.6%). Females are of the younger age group (20-29 years). The findings are that at baseline knowledge was apparently satisfactory as 58.3% of respondents could define HIV/AIDS and an average of 66% know the prevention methods, modes of transmission, signs and symptoms and various methods of prevention though it did not have much impact on their risky behaviour. One hundred and twenty three (123) respondents had correct knowledge and meaning of AIDS. The Radio was the main source of information about HIV/AIDS pre-intervention but immediate post-intervention the workplace was the main source of information because there was the observed ability of the respondents to share knowledge amongst themselves, but 6 months after the radio was still the main source with a slight drop in no of respondents. More than half of the respondents (62%) sought medical treatment when infected with STI before having sex again. Over 40% (42.9%) know about intravenous drug use (IDU) but only 18% indulged in it. In conclusion there is good knowledge by Police personnel at baseline though it does not translate to their involvement in risky sexual behaviour but they lack in-depth knowledge as regards some misconceptions. Immediate post intervention showed tremendous increase in the level of knowledge but six(6) months after the level of knowledge dropped though not to the baseline.This shows that the level of knowledge drops after sometime so there is need for sustained and sustainable health education.
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Tags: AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), development of HIV in Africa, Knowledge of HIV/AIDS, most at risk groups(MARPS) for HIV infection, Police, Prevention of HIV/AIDS, Public Health Thesis, Risk behaviours in the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sources of information on HIV/AIDS