Published on June 21, 2004 at 8:43 AM
The authors report that the HIV epidemic is continuing to grow in Nigeria, despite efforts to control it. An estimated 5.8% of adults, or 3.5 million people, are now infected in the country. According to Nwokoji and Ajuwon, “these figures probably underestimate the real magnitude of the epidemic, because of missed diagnosis and inadequate resources for testing.”
Overall the knowledge of AIDS amongst the survey respondents was good, with the sailors scoring an average of 7 out of 10 on a test about AIDS and HIV. The majority knew that HIV could be transmitted through sexual intercourse, though this hadn’t stopped them from practicing unsafe sex.
This behaviour could be explained by the fact that many sailors thought that traditional medicines could protect them from HIV infection, and over half of those questioned (52.1%) believed that a cure for AIDS was available in Nigeria.
The authors suspect that, “this misconception may have been fostered because of the tacit support the local media gave to a Nigerian surgeon who claimed to have found a cure for AIDS, but would not subject his medication to scientific scrutiny.”
Knowledge about AIDS and HIV risk-related sexual behaviour among Nigerian naval personnel
Ugboga A Nwokoji, Ademola J Ajuwon
BMC Public Health 2004, 4:23
To be published Monday 21 June 2004
Article available free of charge online, according to BMC Public Health’s Open Access policy at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/4/23