BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroy or impair their function and it is the etiology of the epidemic disease - acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (World Health Organization, 2013). Since its discovery among New York and California homosexuals in 1981 and as subsequently discovered in Nigeria by 1986, HIV infection and AIDS’s epidemic has attracted a global importance and there is a need to strategize and re-chart efforts to focus adolescents, on whose most new infections occur (Paul-Ebhohimhen, et al., 2008). HIV/AIDS has become the leading cause of death in Africa and it is responsible for one in every five deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also the leading cause of death and disease burden among women of reproductive age (15 – 49 years) in Nigeria. Some section of the world’s population have little or no control over their sexual lives and childbearing, others engage in behavior that puts them and their partners at risk, while yet others simply do not have access to the right kind of information and services. The magnitude of HIV epidemic and current evidence of relative lack of sexual health interventions targeting young people in sub-Saharan Africa calls for wider awareness and strategic approach-based advocacy.
Presently, the attitude of adolescents towards HIV and AIDS is that of “it doesn’t concern me” or “man must die of something someday”. Many studies had been carried out in Nigeria on the knowledge of adolescents about HIV and AIDS. For instance, Odujinrin and Akinkuade (1999) found that the adolescents have poor knowledge of HIV and AIDS, while Harding, Anadu, Gray and Champeau (1999) indicated that their respondents were knowledgeable about transmission of HIV but had some misconceptions about the mode of transmission which affect their attitude. There are no consensuses on the group of adolescents whether male or female that have favourable or unfavourable attitude towards HIV and AIDS. Onoja (2004) studied gender influence on the level of awareness of HIV and AIDS among adolescents in Otukpo, Benue State, and came up with the conclusion that the females’ level of awareness is more than that of the males. This, according to the author, may be due to time given to them in enlightening them on safe health method. Eze (2006) revealed in her study on strategies for empowering in school female adolescents against sexual behaviour related to HIV and AIDS Transmission in Enugu State that male adolescents are more aware of the existing phenomena than the females.
This present study will try to clarify the controversy of issue of gender on awareness and attitude. In Nigeria, there is no formal HIV and AIDS education in the school curriculum; the main strategies for empowerment used are mass media campaigns and condom promotion. More often than not these are merely superficial panaceas that have little effect on the infection prevalence. In the same vein, in Enugu State, there is no strategy that is exclusively directed towards HIV and AIDS prevention among secondary school students. Whatever awareness or skill they have, they acquired through televisions and radios for those who have access to them. With the epileptic power supply, the maximum benefits from the use of mass media, as a medium for HIV educational prevention strategy is greatly hampered. As a result of the above, the adolescents might be depending greatly on the views of their peers. Their knowledge level and awareness are would be enhanced through peer education. Therefore, this study focuses on the role of the mass media on the attitude of teenagers on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, a case study of Makurdi local government.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Adolescence is a period when individuals become socially responsible for themselves and for their actions. At this stage, they are affected by various developmental transformations including physical, emotional and social changes. With these changes come many responsibilities and privileges that are different from those of childhood or adulthood as they try to discovery by themselves against the wish of the adult. This experimentation subjects them to risky sexual behavior that may expose them to HIV and AIDS. Generally their risky behavior increases their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS. Lacking the judgment that comes with experience, adolescents often cannot appreciate the adverse consequences of their actions. The risks of HIV and AIDS may be particularly hard for them to grasp.
The adolescents are usually in different levels of schools such as secondary schools and tertiary institution. However in Nigeria, there is no formal HIV and AIDS education in the school curriculum. The main strategies for creating awareness about the dreaded disease are mass media campaigns and condom promotion. In Enugu State, there is no strategy also that is exclusively directed towards HIV and AIDS prevention among secondary school adolescents. This therefore makes them to rely on peer education information as a source of empowerment. These problems make it glaring that there is a need to the role of the mass media on the attitude of teenagers on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to investigate the role of the mass media on the attitude of teenagers on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, a case study of Makurdi local government. The specific objectives are:
1. To determine the accessibility of teenagers in Makurdi LGA to the mass media.
2. To ascertain the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among teenagers in Makurdi Local government.
3. To find out the impact of the mass media in enhancing the knowledge of teenagers on the effect of HIV/AIDS.
4. To examine if the mass media influences the attitude of teenagers in Makurdi Local government towards sexual purity.
5. To find out if the mass media has programmes that educates teenagers on how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS.
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. What is the accessibility of teenagers in Makurdi LGA to the mass media?
2. What is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among teenagers in Makurdi Local government?
3. What is the impact of the mass media in enhancing the knowledge of teenagers on the effect of HIV/AIDS?
4. Does the mass media influences the attitude of teenagers in Makurdi Local government towards sexual purity?
5. Does the mass media has programmes that educates teenagers on how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study would be useful to policy makers, counsellors, adolescents, curriculum planners, researchers and the society at large. This study will furnish counsellors as well as adolescent psychologists with essential information on the effect of peer education on adolescent awareness and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS. It will also make available to them empirical information on interaction effect of gender and peer education on adolescent awareness and attitude towards HIV and AIDS. These data provided will enable counselors and psychologists to carry out more research that will help in better understanding of adolescents’ awareness and attitudes toward HIV and AIDS. An understanding of the finding would further assist towards the virus and disease. The study would help policy makers to see the need for fashioning out a means of empowering the
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