Objective: To investigate the prevalence and sexual behavioural dynamics of HIV infection in students of institutions of higher education (IHEs) as a guide to the design of a tailor-made HIV intervention programmes. Methods: A total of 9 709 sexually matured students from five IHEs in Southeast Nigeria aged 19–24 years were recruited to obtain representative data from the institutionalised student population. HIV status was confirmed using enzyme based immuno-assay technique. Demographic and behavioural information were obtained through a structured questionnaire. Association of HIV infection with behavioural risk factors was done using multiple logistics regression model. Results: IHEs in Southeast Nigeria have a higher HIV prevalence of 3.69% against the national projected rate of 2012. The age-specific prevalence among male students (2.91%) is non-significantly (P>0.1) lower than that of females (4.31%). Female students had higher rate of infection, multiple sexual partner, transactional and forced sex, unusual genital discharge and low condom use when compared with their male counterparts. These risk factors were associated with increased HIV seropositivity. HIV prevalence and sexual risky behaviour were high among students of IHEs when compared with previous estimates of their non-institutionalised age brackets. Unprotected sexual activity have a 4.2 times higher chances of infecting the partner with HIV. Conclusions: The data showed a higher prevalence of HIV infection in students of IHEs in comparison with non-institutionalised persons of the same age bracket. Specifically, it could be inferred that appropriate HIV intervention measures was absent with higher incidence of the infection and risky behaviour found in female students. Therefore, a prioritised tailor-made policy for HIV control for students of IHEs should be considered.
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 4 (2)
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