SCHOOL COUNSELORS’ ROLES IN PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF HIV AND AIDS IN NIGERIA

SCHOOL COUNSELORS’ ROLES IN PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF HIV AND AIDS IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1              BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

One of the leading causes of premature death in the last twenty years has been the scourge of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The disease, AIDS, was first heard of in 1981. Within twenty years, it spread to all continents of the world and remains a great killer to which no man has found a solution. In 1988 alone, about 5.8 million new cases occurred, bringing the total number of people living with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/AIDS by December, 1998 to approximately 33.4 million. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2007) estimates that there are now 40 million people living with HIV or AIDS worldwide. Since the beginning of the epidemic, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide. It has replaced malaria and tuberculosis as the world’s deadliest infectious disease among adults and is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Fifteen million children have been orphaned by the epidemic. Young people worldwide are the sub-group most affected while about half of new HIV cases are occurring in people aged 15-24. According to Okonofua (1999) it is no longer news that the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus is now well established in Nigeria. Although the virus was first identified in Nigeria in 1988, over 4 million Nigerians were estimated to have contacted the virus by the end of 1998. This makes Nigeria the second country in Africa with the heaviest burden of the disease, in terms of absolute number of those afflicted, second only to South Africa.

The disease has now permeated the entire Nigeria society. It affected men and women in urban and rural areas, as well as adolescents, commercial sex workers, traders, high profile politicians and socialites, servicemen and women, truck drivers and students. Indeed, everyone must feel vulnerable to the disease, which is fast rampaging the most productive age groups in the Nigerian population. Several thousands have died from the disease, and this has brought untold hardship and disorganization to many Nigeria families.

In Nigeria, the burden of HIV/AIDS on the citizenry is alarming. Statistics on the spread of the disease show that Nigeria records about 1,400 new infections every day. This figure represents one new infection per minute. By October 1998, it is believed that Nigeria records about 571,036 cases of HIV infection. In the hierarchy of the world’s most infected AIDS nations, Nigeria is said to occupy the 27 position, constituting 8.9 percent of global infection and 12.5 percent of the African HIV/AIDS burden. Professor Debo Adeyemi, one time health minister in Nigeria, describes the spread of HIV/AIDS as alarming. According to him, about 25 million adults in Nigeria are already infected with the disease. He reasons that with his figure, assuming that there are no new cases of infection, fatality from the disease will surpass the totality of deaths recorded from the Nigeria civil war by the year 2010. The disease up till now has got no cure despite many years of drug and vaccine research activities.

Although few drugs are now available that could prolong the lives of infected persons through reduction of the load of the virus and improvement in the number of white blood cells. Such drugs are, however, very expensive, globally, and quite scarce in Nigeria. Good nutrition and prompt treatment of presenting diseases can also prolong the life of an infected person. Thus, the only effective way of controlling

HIV/AIDS, presently, is by prevention, with education as the main thrust of this approach.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

How counselors react to a counselee and how they communicate feelings are of critical importance in counselling. Adolescents come to the counselor for help and understanding. They bring to the counselor confused feeling, ideas, fears and hopes with which they are struggling. The counselors attitudes toward them determine in large measure the extent to which they will attempt to cope constructively with their problems and undertake positive actions. If the counselor demonstrates a genuine acceptance of these adolescents, they will feel that they are received.

The Inadequate knowledge of HIV/AIDS among adolescents, particularly secondary school students calls for a study that will assess the role of school counselors in the prevention of the disease. This study specifically investigated the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Osun State and assessed the precautionary measures taken by secondary school students against the transmission of HIV/AIDS. This was with a view to assessing the role of school counselors in the prevention of the pandemic among secondary school students in Osun State.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

(a) Investigate the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Osun State;

(b). assess the precautionary measures taken by secondary school students against the transmission of HIV/AIDS;

(c). appraise the activities of school counselors in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

1.2              RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypotheses one

Ho: There is a low level of awareness of HIV/AIDs among secondary school students in Osun State.

Hi: There is a high level of awareness of HIV/AIDs among secondary school students in Osun State.

Hypotheses two

Ho: Counselors are not effective in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.

Hi: Counselors are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study on the role of school counselors in preventing the spread of HIV in Nigeria will be useful to counselors. It will help them know the effectiveness of their positions and duties in passing relevant information to students. This will enable curriculum organisers and educators to formulate course contents and arrange academic calendars to accommodate the creation of awareness of HIV and AIDS in secondary schools. It will also be useful to other researchers who intend to embark on the same or similar topic as it will serve as a reference material.

 1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is primarily concerned with school counselors’ roles in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. This study covers secondary school students in Osun State. The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following.

a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study    

b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

COUNSELORS: A counselor is a person whose job is to give advice to people who need it, especially advice on their personal problems.

HIV: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

AIDS: By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study     


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