Full Project – Awareness of health risks and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases among youths
Discussions on youths often assert that this period is an essential period in the sexual development of individuals. Most youths are rapidly developing in this period, as such experiencing constant changes physically, mentally as well as sexually. Sexually transmitted diseases are responsible for a variety of health problems and can have especially serious consequences for adolescents and young adults. An international comparison of levels and trends in STD’s would be useful to identify countries that are relatively successful in controlling the incidence of STD’s as a first step towards improving policies and programs in countries with high or growing STD incidence.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a group of infectious or communicable diseases in which the primary mode of transmission is through sexual contact (Gilson and Mindel, 2011) and are among the major causes of illnesses in the world especially in the developing countries (WHO, 2011; Usanga et al., 2010). Sexually transmitted diseases are spread primarily through person-to-person contact, although some of the pathogens that cause it, especially Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and syphilis, can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth, and through blood products and tissue transfer (Nsuami, Sanders and Taylor, 2010; WHO, 2011). STDs can be divided into those caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites (WHO, 2011). They are most common in young sexually active people. It has been reported that the incidence declines with age and that adolescents and young adults experience the highest risk of exposure to STD (Richard and Jay, 2002; Mudassir, Sulaiman, Ahmadi and Khan, 2010).
Worldwide, young people under the age of 25years, who represent nearly half of the world’s population, experience over 100 million new cases of STD’s yearly. Its estimated that 80-90% of the global burden of STI,s occur in developing world where there is limited or no access to diagnostics. In general, STD’s are more prevalent in African and Caribbean adolescents than in other regions of the world, partly because sexual debut comes as early as 10-11years in some African and Caribbean countries.
Most studies on knowledge and skills on STDs in this area have focused on the school, and young people have generally been considered at risk. There are several interest groups and the level of knowledge and awareness varies. In a comparative study in Imo State, Nigeria, a prevalence of 13.9% among elementary youths 11-25 years, 17.16% among youths 16 to 40 years. This pattern of sexually transmitted diseases in young people has been attributed to physiological vulnerability, peer pressure, specific sexual behavior and lack of access to appropriate treatment. In addition to the enormous costs associated with the detection and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, infected men and young women who form workforces, especially in developing countries, and therefore are in their ability to hold back for their families and contribute to the socioeconomic growth of the community , ,
Young women, especially adolescents, are more prone to the risks of sexually transmitted diseases caused by unprotected sexual activities, both biological and as a result of cultural norms that limit their ability to protect (UNFPA, 2013). For example, in young women, the immature cervix formed by cells change that make young women susceptible to certain sexually transmitted organisms (Romaniuk, 1968). In addition, firmly anchored gender norms continue to limit the control of young women over their sexual and reproductive life. The use of condoms remains rare for premarital sex and is extremely low in early marriage (Biddlecom, Hessburg, Singh, Bankole and Darabi, 2017, WHO, 2017). Condoms are useful to reduce the spread of certain sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, it does not completely protect against other infections such as genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis and AIDS (CDC, 2011).
STDs are preventable diseases, and their prevention is even a priority for the World Health Organization (WHO, 2011). For proper prevention, a good knowledge of the disease is very important. Knowledge about the complications of sexually transmitted diseases can play an important role in promoting safer sexual behavior (Mmbaga, Leyna, Mnyika and Klepp, 2017). According to the World Health Organization (2013), around 340 million new cases of curable STIs (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis) occur annually in adults aged 15 to 49 years.
Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the West African subregion and the third highest prevalence of any country in the world with a population prevalence of five percent, or more than 3.6 million people (UNAIDS/WHO, 2014). There is evidence of a high risk of sexual behavior and premarital sexual involvement in Nigerian adolescents (Unachukwu and Nwankwo, 2012). The tragedy of premarital sexuality in young people is that they often engage in sexual activities without knowing what it is about (Obikeze, 2017). Achalu (2016) argues that those who engage in high-risk behaviors such as sex with multiple partners indiscriminately or taking sex workers is more likely to get infected. Owolabi (2015) emphasizes that sexual practices such as anal intercourse, oral sex, homosexuality and deep kisses are associated with high risk of exposure to these diseases, especially the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, Owolabi (2015) found that the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in Nigeria is due to sexual promiscuity, prostitution and homosexuality, the lack of sex education, self-medication and drug abuse, among others. Teenagers, especially those in secondary schools, belong to the sexually active segment of the population and are also more likely to engage in risky sexual practices that increase their chances of getting infections (Hopkins, 2012).
Over the years, Nigeria has recorded high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and remains one of the biggest reproductive health challenges for adolescents in Nigeria (Sedgh et al., 2016). Nigerian youth (young adults in the age group of 18 to 25 years) are also most exposed to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (Orji, Adegbenro and Olalekan, 2015; Fatusi and Blum, 2012; Osakinle, Babatunde and Alade, 2013). In addition to the fact that these diseases are widespread in the urban population, there is also a rapid increase of these diseases in rural areas. ETS campaign in Nigeria in recent years has been heavily influenced by ethnic and linguistic differences (Oluwabamide, 2017). The knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases has increased enormously. It was concluded that the high school youths had good knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases. The opposite, however, applies to preventive practice (Aliyu et al., 2013).
Historically, knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases was very low in communities with a high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. Some communities considered sexually transmitted diseases to be unavoidable or “initiation into adulthood”. In Tanzania, knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases is very low (22.0%) (Mudassir et al, 2010; Mmbaga et al., 2017). Also in Nepal, knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases is low (about 40%) (Jaiswal et al., 2015). In Nigeria, 62% of young women and 40% of young men are unaware of the ETS (National Population Commission, 2014). It is estimated that sexually transmitted diseases account for 17% of the economic losses due to disease in developing countries, while in the United States the lifelong medical costs of sexually transmitted diseases acquired by young people aged 15 to 24 years in 2000 was estimated at 6.5billion dollars.
Nurses have an important role to play in the creation of awareness of health risk attributed to STDs in the health sector and educate the masses on how to prevent occurrence or spread of STDs amongst youths in our society at large. If this information is not passed onto the youths, it’s likely to increase the spread of STD’s there by reducing the work force in our society and reducing economic output rate, increase rate of discrimination and ignorance among youths and death of individuals affected by STD’s. This discrimination can lead to lack of confidence, isolation or death of that individual.
During the course of this research, the research observed that the youths of that community do not practice a healthy life style and are not ready to drop their old lifestyle in a hurry due to ignorance on their path. Negative attitude contributes to delay in undergoing screening process and adjustment of life style and to seek medical advice or education on risk factors of STD’s. In view of this, this present study was conducted among youths in Demekpe community Wadata, Makurdi, Benue State.
The purpose of the study is to create awareness of health risk and means of prevention of sexually transmitted diseases among youths of Demekpe community Wadata, Makurdi, Benue State. In specific terms, the objective of the study includes:
- To determine the various types of STDs prevalent among youths of Demekpe community Wadata
- To assess the level of knowledge and health risk of STDs among youths of Demekpe community Wadata
- To determine the knowledge of preventive measures of STDs among youths of Demekpe community Wadata
The research questions are formulated based on the objectives and statement of problem to include;
- What are the various types of STDs prevalent among youths of Demekpe community Wadata?
- What is the level of knowledge and health risk of STDs among youths of Demekpe community Wadata?
- What is the knowledge of preventive measures of STDs among youths of Demekpe community Wadata?
There is no significant difference in the health risk and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases within age groups among youths.
The findings of the study will be beneficial to youths who lack awareness of risk factors of sexually transmitted diseases because it will expose them to factors that cause sexually transmitted diseases. The findings will help the youths know how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease in the society. It will expose youths to the causes of sexually transmitted diseases and how to live with such conditions or with people affected by it. Also, findings from this study will educate youths on where and how to get treatment and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout life due to presence of health centers and health educators, provision of pamphlet or health talks related to sexually transmitted diseases. The finding will teach them how to cope with people living with sexually transmitted diseases without getting infected and how to make those infect feel comfortable and not stigmatized
Furthermore, Government and non-government organization could find the results of this study useful in formulating and implementing policies aimed at improving care of patients with sexually transmitted diseases. Other researchers interested in conducting a similar study may find the result of this study useful in building their empirical literatures.
This study is focused on the awareness of health risk and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases among youths in Demekpe community Wadata, Makurdi, Benue State. Only age 18 to 25 were used in this study. The variables covered include various types of STDs prevalent among youths, level of knowledge and health risk of STDs among youths, factors influencing knowledge and prevalence of STDs among youths, and strategies to encourage prevention and management of STDs among youths of Demekpe community Wadata.
Awareness: in this study, awareness refers to the state of being informed or the knowledge on health risks brought about by STDs and to what degree of prevention do respondents know.
Health Risk: refers to the factors and behaviours that endanger one’s health status as a result of infection with STDs
Prevention: this refers to the strategies and measures adopted by respondents to avoid the occurrence or spread of STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases: An infectious disease that spreads from person to person during sexual contact.
Youth: persons between the age 18 and 25 years in Wadata community.
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Full Project – Awareness of health risks and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases among youths