CONCEPTION OF VULNERABILITY FORCES TO HIV/AIDS INFECTIONS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOLS STUDENTS IN TANZANIA
Joseph Manase & Enedy Mlaki
The University of Dodoma, College of Education, Department of Educational Foundations and Continuing Education(Community development Unit), P. O Box 523, Dodoma, Tanzania.
The study designed to assess forces for vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infections among secondary schools students in Dodoma Municipality. Cross sectional survey was employed. Both probability and non probability techniques were used to obtain the sample. Objectives of the paper were to determine vulnerability forces to HIV/AIDS infection among students in Dodoma Municipal and identification of risk behaviors that lead to HIV/AIDS infection in the study location. Data analysis was done by statistical package for social science (SPSS) computer soft ware. The findings show that vulnerability forces leading to HIV/AIDS infection among students are among others, lack of awareness and drug abuse, High rate of HIV infection through blood transfusions and widespread sharing of contaminated injecting equipments were the risk forces for HIV/AIDS spread. Some media disseminates HIV/AIDS miss-information, prejudice and myth. Drug abuse, poverty, adolescence stage, peer group, ignorance, carelessness of the students and engagement in sexual intercourse were the main forces for HIV/AIDS spread. Finally it was recommended that Counseling agencies for HIV/AIDS to assist Peer group/friends, the community to fight against Female Genital Mutilations, agencies to disseminate HIV education to secondary students to increase their awareness. The government should empower the community economically for Poverty reduction. Integration of HIV/AIDS education in all social subjects curricula to be a must.
Key words : vulnerability forces, HIV/AIDS, secondary school students, media, dissemination, education
Despite the world’s third decade of the fight against HIV/ AIDS pandemic, the evidence of its impact is undeniably a profound human tragedy. It is a threat to the economies of the countries and of the resources and the capacities on which human security and development depends (UNAIDS, 2004). It is evident that HIV/AIDS pandemic is an increasing phenomenon in pa most parts of the world and needs somewhat combined efforts to mitigate this problem. Based on current information, about 33 million of the world population is living with the HIV virus, majority of whom are in their prime years as workers and parents. 45% of all new infections among adults are young people aged between 15-24 who are for this facts believed to be in their formal schools, more notably in secondary schools (UNAIDS, 2004).
Young people aged between 10-24 years are the AIDS generation, they have never known a world without AIDS of over 60 million people who have been infected with HIV/AIDS in past 20 years and about half of them become infected between the ages of 15-24 years. (URT, 1996). Over the 25 years of the AIDS epidemic in Tanzania, emphasis has been placed on the development of strategies and approaches to scale up the interventions and deal with the epidemic. Despite all the efforts that have been made the number of students infected continue to grow, students in urban areas have a higher prevalence in relations to those in rural areas (URT,2007).It is estimated that about 2.2 million people are living with the virus and about 400,000 are in need of anti-retroviral therapy. So it has been seen that the impact of the disease is almost incomprehensible. Consequences of the epidemic have been affecting all spheres of life (MOH, 2004).
The human resources loss has a serious social and economic impact in all sectors and at the community and individual levels. The flow of many opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis and some forms of cancer is a result of HIV infection. Increase in infections result in many resources being diverted from other areas to HIV prevention, care and treatment. Also it has been seen that poverty significantly influences the spread of HIV/AIDS, which ultimately leads to a loss of the most productive segment of the society, leading to reduction of income and suffering for individuals and communities.Students on the other hand are in a group that is being infected in an alarming rate in Dodoma Municipality (MoEVT,2008).This paper in particular seeks to find out key vulnerability factors leading to HIV/AIDS infection among secondary school students in Dodoma, Tanzania.
Students are a group which is vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other STDs in Tanzania and Dodoma in particular. The knowledge of teenage students, boys and girls is lower than that of their older ones due to the fact that there is an increase in HIV infections for teenage students in the region. Kapinga (1991) reported that students were less likely to be informed from the mass media than the grown up people due to the Tanzania social-cultural context, although the results of the study did not confirm this.
The government of Tanzania through various agencies has been educating young people, especially students to avoid AIDS infections by being involved in various life styles. The impact of this education is seen to bring no significant improvement in terms of lessening HIV infections among students in Dodoma. There is, instead, an increase in HIV infections among students in the country, Dodoma Municipality in particular. This study therefore, intends to assess factors leading to students’ vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Dodoma Municipality.
This study intended to determine the vulnerability factors to HIV/AIDS infection among students in Dodoma Municipal, identify risk behaviors that lead to HIV/AIDS infection, identify the sources of HIV/AIDS information for students and identify the factors leading to HIV/AIDS transmission in Dodoma Municipality.
Vulnerability of HIV/AIDS among Students at Global Level
AIDS Is considered as one of the most devastating stating public health problems in recent history. In June 2000, the centers for Diseases control and prevention (CDC) reported that 120,223 (includes only those cases in areas that have confidential HIV reporting). Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic about 65 million people have been infected with HIV and 28 million people have died of AIDS. In 2003, an estimated 40 million people worldwide were living with HIV, five million of who were newly infected. More than three million people died of AIDS in 2003. The most at risk of HIV/AIDS are young people. About 6,000 people aged between 15 and 24 get infected with HIV every day (Heelen, 1990).
Globally, between 5 and 10 percent of all HIV infections result from injecting drugs but in some countries it is more than 50 percent. Injecting drug uses (IDUs) are a key population group to target to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, in most countries, the response has been grossly inadequate and has had little impact upon HIV rates among IDUs. Some countries, however, have managed to prevent, slow or stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among IDUs. They have achieved this by adopting wide ranging harm reduction programs (Heguye, 1995).
In the late 1970s HIV entered the United States. By then shooting galleries, places where people buy, prepare and inject drugs, were fully established. In this setting, widespread sharing of contaminated injecting equipment occurred and HIV spread rapidly. Since the start of the epidemic, 36 percent of all AIDS cases have been directly, or indirectly, linked to injecting drug use. Over half of all women infected with HIV in the United States are either drug users of the sexual partners of drug user (Berlin, 1990).
Most children who are born with infections of HIV have one or other parent who is a drug user. Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) are now found in 39 of the 50 states but most programs are too small to reach the estimated 1 – 1.5 million IDUs. Some cities, such as New York, have seen a reduction in HIV incidence among IDUs attending NSPs but overall the United States has failed to cope with the dual HIV/AIDS epidemic (WHO, 1995).
The government structures of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Central Asia collapsed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s following years of economic crisis and social unrest. Many people sought escape from the hardship and growing social uncertainties and turned to drugs. At the same time the illicit drug industry flourished (Lugoe, 1996). A rapid spread of drug injecting reached epidemic proportions and this new phenomenon coincided with an explosive HIV/AIDS epidemic. An estimated four million IDUs live in the region and an estimated 1.2 million people in the region have HIV/AIDS. Injecting drugs is the primary mode of transmission: in Russia drug use. Currently only 11 percent of IDUs in the region have access to harm reduction programs.
In the United States there are HIV positive, and 311,701 are living with AIDS. Of these patients, 44% are gay or bisexual men, 20% are heterosexual intravenous drug users, and 17% are women. In addition, approximately 1000-2000 children are born each year with HIV infection. The world Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 33million adults and 1.3 million children worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS in 1999 with 5.4 million being newly infected that year. Most of these cases are in the developing countries of Asia and Africa.
Vulnerable Populations at Greatest Risk
Country data indicate that the number of people living with HIV continues to rise in all parts of the world despite the fact that effective prevention strategies exist. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the hardest-hit region with extremely high HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15-24 reported in a number of countries. In Asia, for example the HIV epidemic remains largely concentrated in injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, sex workers, clients of sex workers and their immediate sexual partners. Effective prevention programming coverage in these populations is adequate. Diverse epidemics are under way in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Injecting drug use is the main driving force behind epidemics across the region (Kenya, 1995).