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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”



Knowledge of AIDS and HIV Risk-Related Sexual Behavior Among Nigerian Naval Personnel
BMC Public Health, (06.04) Vol. 4

BMC Public Health (06.04) Vol. 4; No. 24: doi:10.1186/1471-2458-4-24::Ugboga Adaji Nwokoji; Ademola J. Ajuwon

Nigeria's HIV epidemic continues to grow, and Nigerian military personnel are at increased HIV risk. While the sexual risk-related behavior of Nigerian police has been studied, less is known about their naval counterparts. The current study describes the knowledge of AIDS and sexual risk behavior of naval personnel stationed in Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2002, 480 naval personnel (mean age 34 years) completed a 70-item questionnaire about AIDS awareness and sexual behavior. Researchers also conducted group discussions and more extensive interviews of four key informants to gain insights into the context of sexual risk behavior and feedback about realistic HIV prevention interventions.

Out of a potential 10 points on AIDS knowledge, the respondents scored a mean 7.1 points. More than half - 52.1 percent - of respondents believed an AIDS cure was available in Nigeria, and 25.3 percent believed HIV infection could be acquired by sharing personal items with an HIV-infected person. The participants' had a mean of 5.1 lifetime sexual partners.

Nearly a third, 32.5 percent, had had sexual contact with a female sex worker, and 19.9 percent of the sailors had used a sex worker's services during the preceding six months. In terms of sexual risk, 41 percent of those who had sexual contact with a female sex worker did not use a condom during the most recent encounter. Sailors who had been transferred abroad reported significantly more risky sexual behaviors than others.

During discussions and interviews, researchers found that key informants believed that sex with multiple partners is a persisting tradition in the era of AIDS because many sailors presume AIDS affects only foreigners. The authors found the use of alcohol influenced sexual risk behaviors and that some sailors believe traditional medicine protects them against HIV infection.


Many naval personnel report high-risk sexual behavior that may increase their risk of acquiring and spreading HIV, the authors conclude. Naval personnel live and freely interact with the civilian population and are a potential bridge for HIV's spread into the general population. Feasible HIV prevention interventions include a sustained education program, condom promotion, and changes to policies covering transferals of naval personnel, the authors concluded.

Source: CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update 10/05/04