Factors predisposing teachers in public primary schools in Thika district to HIV/AIDS
Wahome, Eunice Wanjiku
MetadataShow full item record
HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21s' century. Cure continues to elude researchers and infection leads to death. Current estimates indicate that over 2.0 million people in Kenya are living with HIV/AIDS and about 1.5 million have already died. According to the Teachers' Service Commission (TSC), annual teachers' deaths rose from 450 in 1995 to 1500 in 1999. Current estimates by TSC indicate that about 4 - 6 teachers are dying daily of AIDS related illnesses. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors pre-disposing teachers in public primary schools to HIV/AIDS in Thika district. A cross sectional study was carried out in Thika district among teachers in public primary schools. The sample population was comprised of male (n=108) and female (n=242) teachers in the age bracket 20 - 49 years. Data were collected using pre-tested questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions and analysed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Chi-square test and one factor ANOVA were used to determine the relationships between variables. Although teachers had high knowledge on HIV and AIDS, 15.2% were engaging in risky sexual behaviour. Indeed the results indicated a non-significant relationship between knowledge and sexual behaviour (F=0.003; df = 1; P = 0.959) at 0.05 level of significance. A proportion of teachers (92.3%) had a negative attitude towards people living with HIV/AIDS and 19.8% blamed the HIV positive teachers. The majority of teachers (89.4%) advocated HIV testing but only a small proportion (34%) had actually been tested. About 49.7% of the teachers advocated condom use as a means for safer sex but only 1 l . I % used them. The results indicated a significant relationship between attitude and sexual behaviour (F = 8.767; df = 1; P = 0.003) at 0.05 level of significance. Factors that were statistically found to have a significant relationship at 0.05 level of significance were gender and condom use (x2=4.814: df =1: P=0.028), marital status and STIs (x2= 11.204; df = 1; P = 0.001) and type of marriage and STIs (x2= 16.868; df = 1; P = 0.000). Factors that were perceived by teachers to be pre-disposing them to HIV/AIDS were in three categories, namely; cultural, social and economic. The cultural factors included; wife inheritance and polygamous marriages. Low salaries and lack of other sources of income were the economic factors. The social factors included un-protected sex, alcohol consumption, social status of a teacher in the society and living far away from spouse. The results of the study could be useful to TSC and other relevant stakeholders in mounting up intervention strategies which could focus on changes of attitude and sexual behaviour. The TSC could also use the results as a basis for formulating policies and programmes to arrest the spread of the scourge in the teaching fraternity. The various faith groups could use the results as a basis for reviewing the impact of their beliefs and practices.