JOURNAL ARTICLE

The knowledge, attitude and practice of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV/AIDS among undergraduates in a polytechnic in southeast, Nigeria

I J Ikechebelu, G O Udigwe, N Ikechebelu, L C Imoh
Nigerian Journal of Medicine: Journal of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria 2006, 15 (3): 245-9
17111752

BACKGROUND: The identification of infected individuals is an important step in the control of the HIV epidemic. Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV/AIDS is a concept developed in this direction. The objective of this study is to determine the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) for HIV/AIDS among undergraduates in a Nigerian tertiary institution.

METHOD: This is a cross sectional study using a multistage sampling method to enroll students from different levels of the national diploma programme into the study. A structured questionnaire was administered to the 260 students with response rate of 70%.

RESULT: Only 115 (63.2%) of the students were aware of VCT with 68 (59.1%) having heard of it at least one year prior to the study. Mass media and Churches were the highest sources of information on VCT Most of the students did not know where VCT services could be obtained and knowledge of what VCT entails was also low. However, 127 (69.8%) students approved the necessity of counselling prior to testing and 117 (64.3%) were ready to take a positive result in good fate. At least one out of every four students (54 of 182) had been sexually active within three months preceding the study Only 48 (26.4%) students had taken an HIV test at one time or the other before the study. Majority (62.5%) of those who had been tested went for the screening just to know their HIV status. Premarital testing (18.8%) was the second commonest reason for taken an HIV test. Majority of the respondents (74.2%) were willing to go for VCT Among those who were not willing to go for VCT the commonest reason given was that they were certain they were not infected.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the need to step up efforts to increase the students' awareness of VCT, deepen their knowledge and create the right attitude towards VCT through the mass media and religious bodies. Teaching on HIV/AIDS and VCT should also be incorporated into the school curriculum. A shift from the present clinic based approach to a more routine and widespread public health model will increase access to VCT Stand alone VCT centres should therefore be cited in educational institutions, community centres, marketplaces, youth friendly centres etc. for proximity to the people.

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