Knowledge of the Relationship between Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Transmission Among Secondary School Students in Kabartonjo Division, Baringo District
Amiami, A. P.
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A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among secondary schools in Kabartonjo Division of Baringo District, Kenya, between October 2002 and April 2003. The study aimed at establishing the students' knowledge of the relationship between Sexually Transmitted Infections and the transmission of IDV. A total of three hundred and sixty five sampled respondents were interviewed and four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) held, in addition to interviews with key informants. Data was analyzed using the SPSS and figures done using MS-Excel before being transferred to MS-Word. The results show that more than half of the respondents (55.3%) were males with females constituting (44.7%). The knowledge of STI among the respondents was highest on gonorrhoea (99.6%), syphilis (97.1%) and IDV (84.7%) while poor on Herpes (35.4%), Chlamydia (19.4%), genital warts (14.5%), trichomoniasis (10.2%), Candidiasis (7.8%) and Hepatitis B were (6.5%). About 50% of the respondents were aware of clinical symptoms of STI in both males and females. Only few respondents (14.8%) reported noticing symptoms of STI in the last 12 months. The results further show that (86.0%) considered STI to be a serious problem, (39.7%) perceived themselves as being at risk of contracting STI and (39.7%) reported being at risk of contracting IDV. The respondents who had suffered from STI had poor health seeking behaviour as only (8.2%) sought professional help from health workers in clinics or health centre, while (4.7%) visited traditional healers, (5.8%) bought medicines from shops or pharmacies and (7.7%) asked friends for advice. The low knowledge of STI (X2 =19.287, df= 3, p= 0.000) accounts for the small percentage of respondents who reported symptoms of STI and the general poor health seeking behaviour elicited. There was good knowledge of relationships between common STI and mv being spread through sexual intercourse (89.3%). Chi-square test shows (X2 =8.766, df=3, p<0.05), that STI and IDV being spread through sexual intercourse; the presence of STI and IDV increases the chances of one acquiring IDV (83.6%) X2 =7.600, P< 0.05 did not agree with the working hypothesis. Knowledge of IDV infection prolonging the duration of STI was not significant (X2 =2.540, df=3, p> 0.05). The study revealed that knowledge of the relationship between STI and transmission of HfV was not significant with the level of education (X2 =1.360, df =3, p> 0.05) but only as individuals (X2 =1.360, df= 1, p< 0.05). The study therefore concludes that there is need to strategize on information, education and communication targeting adolescents on knowledge of STI as a measure of curbing the transmission of HIV.