HIV Risk Perception and Assessment among Youths in Rivers State, Nigeria: A Comparative Cross-sectional Study

Foluke Olukemi Adeniji *

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria and Department of Community Medicine, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

Chigozirim Ogubuike

Department of Community Medicine, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Introduction: HIV/AIDS remains a major global public health issue with increasing cases among young people. Several risky sexual behaviours put these youths at higher risk of HIV infection affecting their health and general well-being. Perception of health risk is a key dimension of most health behaviour models. This study assessed the risk factors of HIV infection, HIV risk perception and assessment among youths in Rivers State, Nigeria.

Methods: This was a comparative descriptive cross-sectional study investigating HIV risk perception among youths in a rural and an urban local government in Rivers State. A multistage sampling technique was used in the selection of the youths from two LGAs.  A structured, pre-tested, questionnaire was used to elicit information from the respondent. Data was subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics set at P < 0.05 using SPSS version 21 and EPI INFO version 7.0.

Results: Respondents mean age was 19.04 + 3.34 and 18.50+ 2.86 years rural and urban community respectively. There were more female respondents 52.2% in the rural area and more male respondent 59.2% in the urban area. More youths in the rural than the urban (56.2% vs. 39.5%; p=0.018) were sexually active. The proportion that did not use condoms consistently in the last 12 months preceding the survey was more in the rural than the in urban area (72.6% vs. 46.6%; p<0.001). A larger proportion of youths in the urban areas than the rural areas (79.7% vs.61.5%) perceived themselves to have little or no risk. However, more of rural youths than urban youths (51.4% vs.36.6%) were assessed to be high risk. The sensitivity of perceived risk in the rural was higher than in the urban (37.4% vs.30.6%) while the specificity of perceived risk in the rural was lower than in the urban (63.3% vs.88.0%) population.

Conclusion: We found differences in the sexual risk factors to HIV among youths. Youths in rural area are more likely than their urban counterpart to underestimate their personal risk of contracting HIV. Training intervention to improve HIV/AIDS knowledge, risk perception and reduction in risky sexual behavior among the youths is crucial.

Keywords: Sexual behaviours, HIV, risk perception, risk assessment, youths

How to Cite

Adeniji, F. O., & Ogubuike, C. (2024). HIV Risk Perception and Assessment among Youths in Rivers State, Nigeria: A Comparative Cross-sectional Study. International STD Research & Reviews, 13(1), 32–42.


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