Background of the study
AIDS is a diseases of the human immune system precipitated by HIV. It interferes with the body’s system of resisting diseases and therefore, it is rendered rather feeble or powerless to infection. According to Summer (2009), HIV/AIDS is a condition that disempowers the body immune system from fighting diseases. Joint United Nations Programmme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNAIDS (2004) stated that today’s youth is the largest in history with nearly half of the global population being younger than 25 years of age. The Nigerian youths especially College students have a moderate awareness of the existence of HIV, though some in the past did
not know of its existence in Nigeria. More than two decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the vast majority of young people remain uninformed about sex and sexually transmitted infections (STIS).
The knowledge of every individual about an event is a determinant of their attitude towards such an event. The issue of sexual behaviours of higher education students has generated a lot of interest among researchers (Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme [HEAIDS], 2009). Knowledge about the spread of HIV and safe sexual practices has a critical impact on the prevention of HIV/AIDS globally. HIV/AIDS is a major public health problem globally and in Nigeria. In the context of overall prevalence of HIV in all institutions, workplaces, and communities, higher education institutions (HEIs) are affected and impacted upon by HIV and AIDS the most. Research has shown that male students are engaging in risky sexual behaviour (Kamali, Naar-King, Shah, Stanton, Thomas & Wang, 2007). This issue has become a societal problem, because some students might not be able to carry on with their studies due to ill- health and other consequences of HIV/AIDS.
Young people, especially university male students, are vulnerable due to a general lack of HIV information and prevention services due to their attitude towards HIV/AIDS (Emoteso, (2003). Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major health problem in many parts of the world, and is considered as a pandemic disease (Addis, Yalew & Shiferaw, 2013). Young people ages 15–24 represent 45% of all new HIV infections. HIV/AIDS affects young members of the societies especially adolescents between the age of 15 to 24 who are vulnerable and at risk of the disease. It is also estimated that most regular undergraduate university students lie within the age group of 18 to 24 years. Every day, 6,000 young people become infected with HIV- more than five every minute (Addis Z, Yalew & Shiferaw, 2013).
Risky sexual behaviours like unprotected sex, multi partnership, no or inconsistence use of condoms and drug abuse are extremely determinate to the health of adolescents putting them at high risk to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (Shiferaw, Alemu & Girma). It is reasonably possible to think that University students are educated, inspired, able to practice upon the information they receive and as a result, they are among a low risk population. Nevertheless, most sexual risk behaviours among University male students might have been acquired through a period of campus life (Regassa & Kedir, 2011) and hence they are likely to be a risk of HIV/AIDS. Therefore, preventing the transmission and the acquisition of HIV must focus upon behaviour and behavioural changes. Knowledge is very important for acquiring optimum health. Attitude formation is not essentially a function of the amount of information one receives but a function of how that information was acquired (Agbedia, 2013).
Moreover, increasing knowledge of HIV/AIDS can be a powerful means of fostering positive attitudes and building safe practices among university male students. Hence, a clear understanding about knowledge, attitude and controls among male undergraduate students of university is very important for planning to control and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
As part of the young age bracket, undergraduate university students are an important group exposed to a range of risky behaviours. The increased privacy afforded by living outside of their parents. Home provides greater opportunity for sexual expression. Risky behaviour among undergraduate students may be further worsened by the fact that they mostly live in campuses without boundaries or security; peer pressure; economic problems and lack of youth friendly recreational facilities (Agardh, Cantor-Graae & Ostergren, 2012). Particularly, risky behavior such as the consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, or the use of illicit drugs by adolescents have been shown to be associated with increased risks of sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners and lower rates of condom use (Certain, Harahan, Saewyc & Fleming, 2009).
Statement of the problem
The knowledge, attitude and risk behaviour of individual is very important when it comes to prevention and control of any epidemic. Since the knowledge of individual will pre determine his attitude towards a specific epidemic and that will help him to prepare the precautionary measure. Over the years the researcher observed that the widespread of HIV/AIDS has been on the very high side when compare with other known epidemic like malaria, typhoid, cholera etc.
In any tertiary institution, undergraduate students are seen as potential adult and this lay emphasis on why they needs to have well updated and informed information on the causes, transmission, prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. As potential adult, male undergraduate students will want to express their feelings in the midst of opposite sex and try to have the feelings of liberty they have as an undergraduate. In the course of this many may fell that sex is worth doing to have sense of belongings among their peers and this eventually takes them into unprotected sex and other risk behaviour that leads to transmission of HIV/AIDS.
However, if male undergraduates students of university lack the perquisites knowledge and right attitude towards prevention and control of HIV/AIDS is not only going to cause havoc to the health of the students but also has very significant effects on future of education in Nigeria. Therefore, the researcher is stimulated to investigate the knowledge, attitude and at risk behaviour of male undergraduate students of university of Nigeria, Ikere Campus, Ikere towards HIV/AIDS prevention and control.