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CHAPTER ONE

                                                                       INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Information

Adolescents worldwide are sexually active and tend to engage in risky sexual behaviour. It is estimated that about 15 million adolescents aged 15 – 19 years give birth yearly, 4 million obtain abortion, and about 100 million become infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually (USAIDS, 1997). Globally, about 40% of all HIV/AIDS cases involve the youth aged 15 – 24 years and it is estimated that about 7000 youth are infected daily (UNAIDS,2001).

Educational institutions, especially those at the basic levels play a role in promoting positive sexual behaviour among young people. However issues relating to sex and its practices continue to challenge most educational facilities especially those in developing countries including Nigeria. Sexual health education for children and young adults is one of the most hotly debated and emotional issues facing policy makers, national AIDS programme planners and educators today. Arguments have raged over how explicit educational materials should be, how much there should be, how often it should be given, and at what age to initiate education. Indeed, the question has been asked: Why educate adolescents about sex, sexual health and sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) at all?

Nigeria has experienced a high growth rate of the youth population over the last two decades ( EU– Nigeria Cooperation, 2006 ) The early sexual maturation among girls and boys, together with a tendency for sexual activity to begin at younger ages than later, have increasingly placed adolescents at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS. In many African communities such as Nigeria, the transition from late childhood to adolescence occurs in the context of rapid social change that disrupts family life. Hence, social and religious institutions, such as the extended family, the church and mosques, which once governed values, rites of passage, and marriage, have been largely replaced by secular institutions (Ampomah, unpublished ). The extent to which these social changes affect adolescents is a source of concern in such societies like Nigeria. Policy and service organizations are focusing on perceived youth issues such as pre-marital sexual activity, unwanted pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, illegal abortions, STIs and high levels of HIV and drug abuse (Glover et al., 2003).

Educational institutions in Nigeria, play a collaborative role in shaping the total health development of the youth. The role is enshrined within the framework of the School Health Programme (SHEP). Relative to improving the sexual behaviour, all schools including Junior High Schools (Senior secondary school) are supposed to have lessons related to sex and safe sex practices and also encourage students to translate such lessons into practice. Junior High Schools in the Uyo Metropolis, a cosmopolitan area, are expected to ensure that students in the schools have adequate knowledge about sex and sex life. However, the extent to which the schools have executed this important role, of promoting positive sex life of students, and the extent to which the students put into practice what they have been taught is of concern and hence this study.

1.2 Problem Statement

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS, 2003), 38.0% of girls and 19.3% of boys aged 15-19 years are sexually active. Contraceptive prevalence rate among Nigerian young women 15-19 years old was 13.0% (GSS, 2003). There is little information on the extent to which Nigerian adolescents suffer from STIs, especially HIV, abortion and unwanted pregnancies. The reported cases of HIV/AIDS among adolescents aged 10-19 as at December 2000 was 949. This figure represents only about 40% of the actual number of cases. Infection among females outnumbers that of males (female : male ratio 2:1) (Dowuona, 2005).In the Uyo Metropolis, majority of teenagers aged 13 – 19 years are in senior secondary school. The schools provide tuition on sexual development and sexual practices for students. However, the students are exposed to varied environmental influences that could hamper positive sexual attitudes. This environment includes the exposure to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and discos among others. These exist and affect people living in cosmopolitan settings including the youth and students in senior secondary school for that matter. Despite these efforts made by school administrators and tutors, there has not been any evidence as to the Knowledge levels of students on sex and sexual practices coupled with the practices of safe sex amongst them. This study therefore is intended to bring to fore the sexual behavioural practices and challenges amongst senior secondary school students in the Uyo metropolis taking cognizance of the nature of organization of sexual education and behavioural change education in senior secondary school.

1.3 Research questions

1.      What is the extent of knowledge of students of senior secondary school on sexual behaviour in Uyo Metropolis?

2.      How does the knowledge about HIV/AIDS influence behaviour relative to alcohol, drugs and sex among senior secondary school students in Uyo Metropolis?

3.      What is the extent of sexual activity of senior secondary school students relative to sexual intercourse and use of methods against STDs in Uyo Metropolis?

4.      How is sex education organized in senior secondary school in the metropolis?

1.4 Main Objective

The main objective of this study is to assess the extent to which the organization of sexual education for students in senior secondary school influences their behaviour regarding safe sex conduct against the risk of HIV/AIDS and STDs in general.

Specific Objectives

1.      To describe the extent of effectiveness of organization of sex education at senior secondary school in the Uyo Metropolis.

2.      To assess students knowledge about sex and sexual behaviours against HIV/AIDS in Uyo Metropolis.

3.      To determine the extent to which student knowledge influences their exposure to alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex in Uyo Metropolis.

4.      To establish the extent of sexual activity and practices amongst students in Uyo Metropolis.

1.5 Rationale of the study

Young people are a great asset to a nation because they are the future leaders. The socio-economic cost of the effects of HIV/AIDS on this group of people cannot be underestimated. Huge costs relative to human and economics have attracted the attention of many nations including Nigeria. In fact, the essence of the existence of the Nigeria AIDS Commission is founded on the detrimental cost of HIV/AIDS to the nation. Unfortunately, exposure of young adults to unsafe sex, drugs and alcohol abuse seem to be on the increase. These practices constitute risk behaviours accounting for the incidence of HIV/AIDS.

In an attempt to address the problem of HIV/AIDS, all stakeholders and sectors of every country are involved. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Ministry of Education among others contribute significantly to this course. The latter teaches, educate and enculturate young students, including those in senior secondary school on positive and safe sexual conduct. Their efforts need to be improved to achieve greater success in building a healthy youth for this nation.

The evidence of this study therefore would assist all stakeholders especially the Ministry of Education, Local Government, Ministry of Health, among others on how strategies aimed at positively sensitising and developing better safe sex practices among the youth in senior secondary school enhanced. This study therefore would inform policy, curriculum development, instruction designs and also general information education and communication on HIV/AIDS and safe sex practices among the youth in senior secondary school in Nigeria.

Scope Of Study

The study aim at critical looking at the sexual behavior of students in senior secondary school in Uyo and the HIV\AID pandemic disease which has affected the life of many adolescents and youth of our generation. The study area was choosen due to the occurrence of sexual immoral behaviours among students in Uyo senior secondary and the greater chance of getting the Virus.


 





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