PROJECT TOPIC : INFLUENCE OF GENDER AND LOCALITY ON THE ATTITUDE OF ADOLESCENTS TOWARDS AIDS
CHAPTERS: Chapter 1 – 5
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Keywords: attitude of adolescents towards aids, acquired immune deficiency syndrome aids
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The ravages of the AIDS epidemic have made this disease the highest priority of our health system. In the absence of a cure, or more effective prevention or treatment, it was projected in 1993 (Chesney, 1993) that the world could expect 30 to 40 million new cases by 2000 (Mann, 1991). These projections are on tract or are proving to be underestimated particularly in developing nations.
In 2000, the total number of people living with HIV was estimated at 34.3 million, in the hardest hit regions in Southern Africa, between 15% and 30% of the adults population are believed to be HIV positive. Furthermore, the United Nations estimated that at least 2 of every 5 girls and boys, who are 15 years old today, in the countries in Southern Africa, will die of AIDS (Schwartlanders, Garnelt, walkers, and Anderson, 2000).
AIDS/HIV is a disease which affects human immune system. AIDS has become the world’s fourth leading cause of death and number one killer in Africa, where in 1998 it took 1.83 million lives (balter, 1999). AIDS as it name tells us, is an immune disorder an acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which is spread by exchange of bodily fluids, primarily semen and blood. AIDS/HIV kills slowly; it ironically can be lethal to more people. When the HIV infections becomes manifest as AIDS, some years after the initial infection, the person has difficulty fighting off other diseases, such as pneumolystis, pneumonia, cancer, dementia, or a wasting syndrome in which the body literally withers away. Also after several months to several years with no symptoms, patients may develop minor health problems such as weight loss, fever, and night sweats, symptoms that make up the condition known as AIDS-Related-Complex (ARC).
On June 5, 1981, the centers for disease control reported the first case of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). In the decades that followed, AIDS grew from an unknown disease into a devastating worldwide epidemic for which no medical cure has been found. According to the world health organization (2002), about 16,000 new infections occur each day. Worldwide, 1 in every 100 adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with the AIDS virus, and the disease has so far claimed the lies of nearly 20 million people of the 3 million people who died from AIDS in 2001, 37 percent were woman and 20 percent were children. In some countries of Southern Africa, 25 to 40 percent of the population is infected, including a third of all pregnant women. Globally, only 5 to 10 percent of the cases now occur in homosexual men (the population typically identified with the Affliction), and women now make up half of all HIV cases (United Nation, 2002). In the early 2000’s, the rate of infection began to rise again among homosexual men in North America, Europe and Australia due to increases in risky sexual behaviour (CDC, 2003). The AIDS epidemic threatens to overwhelm the words health care financing and delivery systems.
AIDS is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which cripples the immune system. The patient then becomes vulnerable to invading viruses, bacteria, and tumors, which are the actual killers. Because the AIDS virus evolves rapidly, vaccines are at the present ineffective in preventing its spread. Moreover, the incubation period between initial infection and the appearance of the disease may be as long as 10 years, meaning that an infected needles in intravenous drug use; and exposure to infected blood through transfusion or in the womb.
In the absence of a vaccine or cure, the only existing means of controlling the AIDS epidemic is by changing the high-risk behaviours that transmits the virus. In this respect, AIDS is as much as psychological problem as a medical one. Prevention programs are typically designed to
- Educate people concerning the risks that attend certain behaviours, such as unprotected sex
- Motivate people to change their behaviour to people living with the virus
- Provide specific guidelines for changing the risky behaviours and teach the skills needed for changes and
- Give support and encouragement or the desire changes (O’Leary 2001).
Even when something as urgent as AIDS prevention is involve the research has shown that the success of prevention programs depends on the extent to which the individual social system supports the desires changes (Herd & Linden Baum, 1992).
On promising approach to attitude change which was inspired by Albert Banduras social cognitive theory. It involves the use of modeling procedures to change attitude and behaviour. In some of the poorest and most hopeless parts of the word (Bandura, 2000). The strategy is to produce highly engaging ‘entertainment-education” radio dramas to increase awareness and counter-act false beliefs. In Tanzania, for example, many people enoneously believe that AIDS is transmitted by mosquitoes and that using a condom while having sex could actually cause the disease. Health psychologists who focus on AIDS often design programs to educate people about AIDS and to help prevent AIDS. Attitudes are often unrelated to behaviour, that is, people know that consequences of high risk behaviour can be deadly, and they certainly have negative attitudes about acquiring AIDS, but their behaviour may still be risky.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The aims of this study are as follows:
To determine whether gender will significantly influence attitude of adolescents towards AIDS.
To examine whether locality will significantly determine attitude of adolescents towards AIDS.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Not withstanding all the efforts by both government and non-governmental organization against AIDS, the problem of the pandemic is still at increase. As a psychologist, I became worried on what could by the reason; on to this, thought that the major reason for the continued spread of the virus maybe attributed to the attitude of the public, especially adolescent towards this virus. Adolescent were chosen as the target population because they are not only the leader of tomorrow but thy engage more on illicit sex than adult who are married. Therefore in looking at the problem of attitude towards AIDS, the researcher decided to use gender and locality as reference. Therefore following problems were addressed in this study.
Will gender significantly determine attitude of adolescents towards AIDS? Will locality significantly determine attitude of adolescents towards AIDS?
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Attitude – Predisposition of a behaviour
Adolescents -Individuals between the ages of 12-20 years
Locality – Being urban or rural area
Gender – being male or female
AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
PLWHA – people living with HIV/AIDS.