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Background of the Study

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) refers to any infection (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS, or a genital type of herpes simplex) that is typically or often spread from person to person by direct sexual contact. It can also be transferred from mother to child prior to or during delivery, or, less commonly, by nonsexual contact such as kissing, contaminated blood transfusions, or the use of unsterilized hypodermic needles ( Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008). Myless (2001) stated in a similar vein that sexually transmitted illnesses are those caused by a range of organisms that are capable of being transferred sexually. However, Achalu (1993) defined sexually transmitted illnesses as a subset of infectious infections that are disseminated primarily via sexual behavior or contact. Sexually transmitted illnesses are defined by the researcher as those that can be contracted by unprotected sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted illnesses often affect the genitals, reproductive tract, urinary tract, oral cavity, anus, or rectum at first, but may progress to attack other organs and systems throughout the body. Tertiary syphilis, on the other hand, or paresis, can impair the skin, bones, central nervous system, and heart, among other organs.

Other organs, such as the liver. Individuals infected with the AIDS virus may appear to be healthy on the outside for years before the illness establishes a foothold in the immune system. There is a long history of sexually transmitted illnesses. Syphilis is the most well-known of these infections, caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Syphilis was first widely described by European writers in the sixteenth century, and some medical historians believe it was brought to Europe by returning New World explorers. According to some scholars, syphilis dates all the way back to ancient times and may have been mistaken for leprosy at one point. In any case, syphilis first gained widespread recognition and reporting around the year 1500, when Europe was overwhelmed by a virtual pandemic (Billings, 1998). Infection and inflammation of the urethra are referred to as urethritis (the passage that transmits urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body). Sexual transmission accounts for the majority of instances of urethritis. The infection of the urethra produced by the gonococcus bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is referred to as gonorrhea and is one of the most well-known sexually transmitted illnesses. The Greek physician Galen coined the term “gonorrhea,” and it is believed to have been known to ancient Chinese and Egyptians. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, genital herpes became very prevalent. Herpes infections are significant not just for the discomfort they produce, but also for the possibility of serious infection in children delivered to moms who have genital herpes. Numerous therapies for genital herpes have been attempted, but none have shown to be completely effective. (2008, Britannica Encyclopedia)

The tragedy of the premarital sexuality among adolescents is that they engage in frequent sexual activities without proper knowledge of what is involved (Obikeze, 1997). In another opinion, Achalu (1996) emphasizes that those who engage in high risk behaviours such as indiscriminate sex with many partners or those who pick partners from the streets have increased chance of being infected. Furthermore, Ijezie, (1997), says that sexual practices such as anal intercourse, oral intercourse, homosexuality, heterosexuality and deep kissing are associated with high risk of contracting these infections especially the virus that causes AIDS. Also Owolabi, (1995), says that some of the prevalence of STIs in Nigeria is due to sexual promiscuity, and homosexuality, lack of sex education, self medication and drug abuse among secondary school students. The researcher, a school counselor, have observed with dismay that rate at which secondary school boys and girls patronize pharmacy stores for condom and pills is on increase in a bid to control sexually transmitted infections. At a particular occasion, such pills were found in the school bags of several senior secondary students who seemingly have no knowledge of these pills. To this effect, the researcher is set to ascertain the knowledge of students on the control of STIs



Statement of the Problem

A Adolescents, particularly those enrolled in secondary school, are more prone to engage in hazardous sexual behaviors, increasing their risk of contracting sexually transmitted illnesses or infections. It is no longer considered superstitious to believe in the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As with the famous tagline “AIDS is real,” sexually transmitted illnesses abound. The issue is that teenagers, particularly secondary school students who engage in sexual activities, appear to lack awareness and an appropriate attitude regarding STIs.

Adolescents appear to lurk in complete ignorance about the presence, symptoms, route of transmission, control, and appropriate attitude toward sexually transmitted illnesses in their quest to explore and experiment with sex and its associated behaviors. However, they stated that ignorance is not a justification for the catastrophic consequences of STI exposure.


Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the Knowledge and attitude of secondary school students towards Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in Nsukka Education Zone. Specifically, the study aims at the following:

  1. To ascertain the level of knowledge of students on the signs and symptoms of STIs.
  2. To find out the extent to which the students know of the mode of transmission.
  3. To ascertain their knowledge of the control of STIs
  4. To find out the attitude of students towards STIs.


Significance of the Study

The findings of this study if published will be of immense benefits to the ministry of Education, teachers, parents, curriculum developers and the general public.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will spur the Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to articulate effective programmes on sex education for Secondary School Students. It is hoped that these ministries will train and equip peer educators who will further educate secondary school students on the right knowledge and attitude towards sexually transmitted infections; steering through it’s related health hazards and consequences.

The study will also help teachers and counselors to know and acknowledge students knowledge and attitude to sexually transmitted infections and how best they can help students in the area of sexuality.

The result of the study will help to reawaken parents and teachers on their roles in educating the adolescents on sexual matters. It will at the same time help to challenge our adolescents to healthy sexual relationships in order to avoid contacting HIV virus and STIs, unwanted pregnancies and abortion among others.

To the general public, it is hoped that the findings of this study will; and especially Elders and the Clergy, they would also acknowledge their personal dispositions to guard the adolescents in words and action towards wholesome attitude and knowledge to sexually transmitted infections.


Scope of the Study


The study is designed to find the level of knowledge and attitude of Secondary School students of Nsukka Educational Zone towards Sexually transmitted infections. The study will investigate the students’ knowledge and attitude towards Sexually transmitted infections, focusing on signs and symptoms, mode of transmission, and control.

Research Questions

To carry out the study, the following research questions were formulated to guide the study,

  1. What is the level of knowledge of students on the signs and symptoms of STIs?
  2. To what extent do students know the modes of transmission of STIs?
  3. To what extent are students aware of the control of STIs?
  4. What are the students’ attitudes towards STIs?


The following null hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance to guide the study.


HO1: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female students on their knowledge of various STIs.

HO2: There is no significant difference between the mean scores on attitude of students towards STIs based on gender.

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