Assessing the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS preventive measures among in-school and out-of-school youth in the Ejisu-Juaben District, Ghana

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Globally more than 16 million people have died of HIV/AIDS and more than 16.000 people become newly infected each day. The HIV epidemic continues to spread at ferocious speed in many parts of the world. Developing countries are the hardest hit, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa where HIV/AIDS has surpassed malaria as the number one killer (CDC 2002). In Africa alone, 10.000 people become infected each day, according to AIDS Epidemic Update (UNAIDS, 1999). Research has shown that the rate of prevalence of HIV infection is very high between the ages of 15 - 24. At this age bracket, people are either in the Junior Secondary School, Senior Secondary Schools, tertiary institutions or are Out-of-School. These young adults have become focal point for discussions on prevention of [IIV/AIDS. OBJECTIVE: In relation to the series of HIV/AIDS control programmes held and still ongoing, in the live (5) sub-districts, the rate of prevalence keeps rising, thus, calling for the study, to assess the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention measures in the Ejisu sub-District of the Ashanti Region. METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional design was used for the study. Data was collected from 242 in-school youth and 1 52 out-of-school youth all between the ages of I 5-24 years, as well as. 24 key informants. Open and closed - ended Questionnaires were administered and interview Guide was used. RESUL’I’S: The study revealed that as many as 99% of the youth responses were that, they were aware of the I-IIV/AIDS menace and have confirmed the existence of HIV/AIDS prevention programmes in the district. The study also revealed that the impact HIV/AIDS education programmes have had on the youth indicates that the HI V/AIDS preventive programmes are effective. About 72.62% of the In-School and 62.5% of the Out-of-School youth said the programmes have had impact on them, meaning, about 27% of the In-School and about 37% of the Out-of-School youth are at risk. Investigation on the level of impact measured showed 50.42% of the In-School and 28.29% of the Out-of-School rated it as very high. The researcher’s rating is average for the In-school and low for the Out-of-School. The prevention measures practised by the youth; 49.73% of the In-School and 47.5% of the Out-of-School youth practise abstinence and about 24% for both categories practise condom use. The study showed that peers, poverty and parental influence were the major factors influencing the youth into promiscuity. 34.26% of the In-School and 37.95% of the Out-of- School were influenced by peers, closely followed by poverty, parental influence, ignorance and other factors (e.g. educational level). Looking at the resources to make the prevention measures effective, the study showed that the district lacked; VCT centres, funds (transport and human resource) to facilitate Health Education and Promotion interventions, addressing of gender inequality was difficult since females were least considered, as 11w as, education was concerned, hence, increase in more female youth (56.58%) in the Out-of-School category as compared to the In-School (43.8%). Implementation of Poverty Alleviation programmes to reduce poverty since poverty is the vehicle to promiscuity. The study also revealed lack of community participation, hence strategies to mobilise community members and get them involved in community issues was necessary. Due to the discrimination and stigmatization attached to PLWIIA, campaigns together with PLWI IA (to serve as proof) to reduce rate of infection is virtually impossible.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management, 2004