UNDERGRADUATES AND HIV VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (2022), there are presently 39.4 million individuals living with HIV globally, with 4.9 million new instances of HIV infection per year and 3.1 million deaths caused by.AIDS. Of the estimated 40 million persons infected with HIV/AIDS globally, the top three areas are in sub-Saharan Africa, with 25.4 million cases, followed by Asia and Eastern Europe with 9.6 million cases and North America with 1 million cases. In East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, the incidence of HIV increased dramatically between 2002 and 2004, according to a report published by UNAIDS and the WHO (WHO,2022).
Since the discovery of HIV/AIDS, several international health organizations have reported alarming rises in the incidence rates of the virus and illness, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Half of the approximately 15,000 newly HIV-infected individuals are teenagers between the ages of 15 and 29, making up the majority of college students. This frightening pace of HIV/ AIDS spread also covers Nigeria, where around 5.4% of adults (15-49) are HIV/ AIDS positive.
According to Okoregie (2022), University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, has a population of over 35,000 and 100 distinct cultures and ethnicities. The student life at the University of Lagos is extremely active and dynamic, and since these students are youths, it is not uncommon to find them with common interests that can lead to the best of times, the worst of times, or a time of marvelous new birth as a result of the friendship ties that are formed between boys and girls and that are frequently centered around sex (Peters, 2022).
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Okoregie (2022) further opined that HIV voluntary testing is a procedure in which an individual voluntarily submits to an HIV test and, prior to the test being administered, is coached to help him or her deal with stress and make personal decisions around HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the counseling is to prevent the spread of HIV and give psychosocial assistance to people affected. After the counseling, an HIV antibody test is administered to determine the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood, followed by post-test counseling based on the test result.
The attitude of undergraduates toward HIV voluntary testing is a crucial component in determining the HIV status of the population of a country like Nigeria, which is on the list of nations with low levels of understanding of safe sex and HIV. For instance, students who cultivate a negative attitude toward voluntary testing are a clear indication that their understanding of HIV/AIDS is inadequate; consequently, there is a need for intense advocacy for HIV voluntary counseling and testing, and all undergraduates should strive to voluntarily submit to an HIV test, which will aid in preventing the spread of HIV (Peters, 2022).
In the current context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, voluntary counseling and testing are of the utmost importance and are urgently required, especially among students, who are considered a susceptible demographic and who are continually impacted by their surroundings, especially their peers. Consequently, it is necessary to investigate the attitudes of undergraduates at the University of Lagos regarding HIV voluntary testing.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since the discovery of this killer virus, studies have shown a worrying increase in the incidence rates of the virus and illness, notably among adolescents and young people. This frightening rate of HIV infection and AIDS expansion includes countries such as Nigeria, where 5.4% of adults (ages 15-49) are HIV-positive (Ike, 2022).
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to get an understanding of how undergraduates at the University of Benin feel about HIV voluntary testing.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad aim of this study is to examine undergraduates and HIV voluntary counseling and testing. Specifically, other aims of this study are:
- To determine whether undergraduates are knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing.
- To determine the extent undergraduates are knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing.
- To find out whether there are enough HIV voluntary counseling and testingcenters in the university.
- To find out whether HIV voluntary counseling and testingaids in the reduction of HIV/AIDS in universities.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
- Are undergraduates knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing?
- To what extent are undergraduates knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing?
- Are there enough HIV voluntary counseling and testingcenters in the university?
- Does HIV voluntary counseling and testingaid in the reduction of HIV/AIDS in universities?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Since information creates action and informed reaction, there is a need to tell University of Benin undergraduates of the importance of HIV voluntary testing, which would allow them to determine their HIV status and place them at the forefront of stopping the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This study will offer students with the opportunity to become aware of safer alternatives and sustain safer sexual and drug-related behaviors.
It will also offer the chance to lessen the spread, burden, and stigma of HIV/AIDS.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on undergraduates and HIV voluntary counseling and testing. Specifically, this study focuses on determining whether undergraduates are knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing, determining the extent undergraduates are knowledgeable about HIV voluntary counseling and testing, finding out whether there are enough HIV voluntary counseling and testing centers in the university and find out whether HIV voluntary counseling and testing aids in the reduction of HIV/AIDS in universities.
Selected students of the University of Benin, Edo State will be the respondents of the study.
- LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.
Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.
- DEFINITION OD TERMS
HIV/AIDS: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.
Voluntary Counselling and Testing: Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV usually involves two counseling sessions: one prior to taking the test known as “pre-test counseling” and one following the HIV test when the results are given, often referred to as “post-test counseling”.