Friday, 16 August 2013

Women account for the majority of pupils that have HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

Being a citizen of Nigeria, it is paramount to talk about the issue and rise of HIV/AIDS in the country, Nigeria. The Federal republic of Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic consisting of 36 States and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It also has the third-highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS. This epidemic varies depending on region and social class. In some states, the epidemic is more concentrated and driven by high-risk behaviors, while other states have more generalized epidemics that are sustained primarily by multiple sexual partnerships in the general population. 

The acronym “AIDS” brings fear in many communities in Nigeria as the disease that ravages developing countries in Africa, Asia, and South America. But how much do people know about this terrible disease? This research will provide information for people with little or no knowledge about HIV/AIDS. It is intended to show that there is not enough awareness on how to prevent getting the disease. The disease, HIV/Aids, was first diagnosed in Los Angeles, USA, in 1981. HIV stands for Human Immuno Deficiency Virus, which is a lentivirus slowly replicating retrovirus that causes Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The human body has a natural in-built immune system (the body’s defense mechanism) that attacks and kills germs and viruses; therefore, without the human immune system as a means of protection, humans could very easily be killed. However, HIV infects vital cells in the human immune system, which makes the cell mediated immunity lost and the body progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections. (Prince A. Efere, 2010.) 

Africa has 11.6 million AIDS orphans. At the end of 2007, women were accounted for 59% of all adults living with HIV in subsaharan Africa. The population of people living with HIV/AIDS was drawn from the south south zone of Nigeria. This zone was chosen because it has the median HIV zero prevalence rate of 5.2 percent, the 2nd highest in Nigeria (National AIDS/STD control programme/FMOH, 1999). The main goal is reaching 80% of sexually active adults and 80% of most-at-risk populations with voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) by 2015.  Many risk factors contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS but the youths are yet unaware of these factors. These factors include prostitution, rape and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), shared needles or any sharp object(s) and irregular blood screening. With a population of 166, 629, 000 (world bank, 2011) Nigeria still retains a high level of poverty with 63% of the population living below the poverty line ($1 daily). 

Research Question
HIV/AIDS is chronically common among vulnerable people, it is a community problem in Nigeria: how can this problem be addressed? How should we decide what to translate and what factors affect the teachers willingness to communicate about HIV/AIDS in institutions and rural community setting? Do attitude functions (Traditional predictors) affect the teachers willingness to communicate HIV/AIDS in institutions and community settings? And lastly How can we encourage interdisciplinary research? Why does Stigma & Discrimination have a significant effect on HIV/AIDS?

Public health information has to be presented in simple language (without jargon) for it to be meaningful and effective. A country like Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages, values, ideas and customs; creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The largest ethnic groups are the Yoruba, Fulani/Hausa and Igbo’s, comprising 62% of population. As a fairly new “issue” research into HIV/AID’s have an impact on attainment in different ethnic diversity is limited and much of what exists predates current technologies and pedagogies. I have attempted to identify sources which have direct relevance to my task while maintaining contemporaneous relevance, also. I want to see how HIV/AIDS fits into the teaching of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, generally and how it fits with other teaching initiatives, such as the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV/AIDS Transmission (PMTCT) Support, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), TB/HIV integration. Whilst providing an understanding of how central government expects to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS in English; it offers no expectations to have an impact on attainment.

Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV/AIDS Transmission (PMTCT) Support, this process of MTCT (Mother-to-Child HIV/AIDS Transmission) is when an HIV positive woman passes the virus to her baby either through labour, breastfeeding or delivery. Without treatment around 15-30% of babies born to HIV positive women are infected; 5-20% will be infected through breast feeding. In high income countries, MTCT has been virtually eliminated due to voluntary testing and counseling, safe delivery practices and widespread of available breast milk-substitutes. If this process were used in Nigeria, it could save lives of thousands of children each year (Children HIV and AIDS, 2008). Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV/AIDS Transmission (PMTCT) Support could influence their teaching initiatives by teaching in simple language to ensure effective communication and prevent; unwanted pregnancies among HIV infected women, preventing the transmission from mother to their infant. 

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease (WHO, 2013) but this does not stop HIV/AIDS infected individuals from facing termination of appointment, hostility, denial of gainful employment, forced resignation or retirement. Leading to the crucial role of Stigma & Discrimination, experienced within the health sector represents one of the most inimical forms of institutional stigma. Discriminative acts among healthcare workers include, delivery of poor quality treatment and counseling services, early discharge from hospital, segregation of hospital wards, isolation, the marking or labeling of patients beds, files and ward, selective application of “universal” precautions and lack of confidentiality.
The background to educating people in Nigeria has led certain type of people to be stigmatized and discriminated upon (Emmanuel Monjok, Andrea Smesny and E. James Essien, 2009). They make some important observations on how the contextualization of use (situated learning) is having an impact learning. Stigma and discrimination are major obstacles to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care, globally, in HIV/AIDS context it is unique when compared to other infectious and communicable diseases. It tends to create a “hidden epidemic” of the disease based on socially-shared ignorance, fear, misinformation, and denial. This is particularly more intense in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, where a combination of weak health systems is entangled with poor legal and ethical framework. Significant and relevant research studies are needed to thoroughly understand the consequences of stigmatized and discriminated at the three levels and its effect on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care as it is directly related in the different socio-cultural settings in Nigeria.

According to Emmanuel Monjok, Andrea Smesny and E. James Essien, (2009). The argument of trying to measure the impact of HIV/AIDS on attainment is, on its own, a flawed approach. I agree with their idea that identifying successful techniques for contextual HIV/AIDS tools and developing its obvious disadvantages as a motivator and a tool for rebalancing pupils’ and conceptual misunderstandings. However, I would argue that accepting attitudes towards those living with HIV/AIDS should indicate better knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS rather than Stigma and Discrimination.

Written by Bolanle Adekunle

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