World Journal of Preventive Medicine
ISSN (Print): 2379-8823 ISSN (Online): 2379-8866 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
World Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015, 3(3), 73-83
DOI: 10.12691/jpm-3-3-4
Open AccessArticle

Knowledge on HIV/AIDS and Sexual Risk Behaviour among Pregnant Women in Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja, Nigeria

Aboh O. Otokpa1, , Taiwo. O. Lawoyin2 and Michael C. Asuzu2

1Department of Community Medicine, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja

2Department of Community Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

Pub. Date: July 31, 2015

Cite this paper:
Aboh O. Otokpa, Taiwo. O. Lawoyin and Michael C. Asuzu. Knowledge on HIV/AIDS and Sexual Risk Behaviour among Pregnant Women in Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja, Nigeria. World Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015; 3(3):73-83. doi: 10.12691/jpm-3-3-4


Background: HIV/AIDS sexual risk taking is often related to lack of knowledge about HIV and its modes of transmission. We obtained information on the level of HIV knowledge and sexual risk behaviour from women in Gwagwalada Area Council (GAC) of Abuja in order to assess the influence of HIV knowledge, or lack of it, on their sexual behaviour. Methods: Four hundred and twenty women attending ante-natal clinics in GAC were selected and interviewed from the three levels of health care, using total sampling approach. Data was collected on their level of HIV knowledge and sexual risk behavior using semi-structured pretested questionnaire. The respondents HIV status was obtained from ante-natal record where available, or tested for HIV where not available. Data was analysed using Epi-info version 6.04. Findings: Majority of the women were aged between 20- 34 years and most (96.2%) were married. Over 84% had some form of formal education with 64.1% attaining post-primary education. General awareness about HIV was high (94.8%). Knowledge on modes of HIV transmission was also high with 82.8% aware that transmission could occur through unprotected sexual intercourse. About 56.1% and 82.4% were aware that homosexuality and multiple sexual partnerships respectively were risky behaviours. The earliest age at first sexual intercourse was 9 years and 9% had experienced sex by age 14, but majority (66.7%) first experienced sex between 15 and 20 years. Nearly half (49.5%) had premarital sex and 4.8% had sex outside marriage (extramarital sex). Sex before marriage was significantly more common among women with higher level of education (X2 = 14.61, p = 0.000), who married late (≥30 years) and who had ever used condom (X2 = 28.64, p = 0.000). Only 37% had ever used the condom while 38.6% had multiple sexual partners. About 45% were aware that HIV-infected persons may look and feel quite healthy while 36% believed that they always look and feel ill. Respondents who knew that HIV infected persons may feel and look healthy were significantly more likely to use condom (X2 =10.03, p = 0.007). The high HIV/AIDS knowledge level did not translate to low involvement in premarital sex or high condom use, nor did it result to reduced HIV prevalence among this group. Conclusion/recommendation: Knowledge on HIV/AIDS was high but sexual risk behaviours persisted in spite of the high knowledge. Control programs should redirect efforts at sexual behaviours that put women at greater risk of infection and also target young adolescents before sexual debut. Formal and HIV education are key to such efforts.

antenatal HIV knowledge sexual risk behavior HIV/AIDS pregnant women

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Mark Cichocki, R.N. ‘The History of HIV’, Updated May 28, 2014. Website: (accessed 11/2/15).
[2]  Weller SC, Davis-Beaty K. ‘Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission (Review)’. The Cochrane Collaboration. Wiley and Sons, 2011.
[3]  Linda Morison. ‘The global epidemiology of HIV/AIDS’. Br Med Bull (2001) 58 (1): 7-18.
[4]  UNAIDS. ‘Report on the global AIDS epidemic 2008: Executive Summary’. UNAIDS, 20 Avenue Appia CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland 2008. Website: Conference/AIDS2008/UNAIDS (accessed 27/8/2010).
[5]  AMERICAN COLLEGE HEALTH ASSOCIATION. ‘HIV infection: What everyone should know’. A brochure by American Health Association, Baltimore M.D (1999); 1-4.
[6]  CDC. ‘HIV transmission risk’. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, United States. Website: (accessed 3/02/15).
[7]  Patel P, Borkowf CB, Brooks JT. Et al. ‘Estimating per-act HIV transmission risk: a systematic review’. AIDS. 2014.
[8]  AIDSMAP. ‘Vaginal intercourse’, [Online]: (accessed 3/02/15).
[9]  Olayinka B.A, Osho A.A. ‘Change in attitude, sexual behavior and risk of HIV/AIDS transmission in South West Nigeria’. East African Medical Journal, 74 (9), 554-555, 1997.
[10]  Savanna R Reid. ‘Injection drug use, unsafe medical injections, and HIV in Africa: a systematic review’. Harm Reduction Journal 2009, 6:24.
[11]  FMOH. National HIV seroprevalence sentinel survey among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Nigeria: Technical Report 2010. Department of Public Health, National AIDS/STI Control Program, Nigeria, 1-4, 2010.
[12]  Kish and Leslie. Survey sampling. John Wiley and sons, New York 1995.
[13]  Seth Agyemang, Daniel Buor, Eva Tagoe-Darko. ‘The extent of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among young people in the Ejura-Sekyedumase district of Ghana’. Journal of AIDS and HIV Research, vol. 4(11), pp.241-247. Dec 2012.
[14]  van Loggerenberg F, Dieter AA, Et al. ‘HIV prevention in high-risk women in South Africa: condom use and the need for change’. PLoS One, 7(2), 2012:e30669.
[15]  GIRLS NOT BRIDES. ‘What is the impact of child marriage?’. [Online]: (accessed 2/3/15).
[16]  Yasuko Hayase, Kao-Lee Liaw. ‘Factors on polygamy in sub-Saharan Africa: Findings based on the demographic and health surveys’. Dev Econ., 35(3):293-327, Sept. 1997.
[17]  SENEGAL – Impact of Westernization. [Online]: (accessed 2/3/15).
[18]  William Smith, Daniel Salinas, David P. Baker. Multiple Effects of Education on Disease: The Intriguing Case of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Alexander W. Wiseman, Ryan N. Glover (ed.) The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Worldwide (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Volume 18) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.79-104, 2012.
[19]  Anarfi JK, Appiah EN. ‘Mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in Ghana: The role of education’. Paper presented at the International Conference on Ghana at half century. ISSER and Cornell University. M-Plaza Hotel, Accra, 18-20, July 2004.
[20]  Adewole DA, Lawoyin TA. ‘Knowledge, attitude to HIV/AIDS and sexual risk behaviour among unmarried male youths of the University of Ibadan’. International Conference on AIDS, Bangkok, 2004 July 11-16.
[21]  Unuigbe, Evelyn O.O. ‘Sexual behavior and perception of AIDS among adolescent girls in Benin City, Nigeria’. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 3(1): 39-44, 1999.
[22]  Lema LA, Katapa RS, Musa AS. ‘Knowledge on HIV/AIDS and sexual behaviour among youths in Kibaha District, Tanzania’. Tanzan J Health Res., 10(2): 79-83, April 2008.
[23]  National Populations Commission, Nigeria. Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 1999. Calverton, Maryland; National Populations Commission ORC/Marco 2000.
[24]  Musie Ghebremichael, Ulla Larsen, Elijah Paintsil. ‘Association of age at first sex with HIV-1, HIV-2 and other Sexual Transmitted Infections among women in northern Tanzania’. Sex Transm Dis., 36(9): 570-576, Sept. 2009.
[25]  Hallett TB, Lewis JJ, Lopman BA, etal. ‘Age at first sex and HIV infection in rural Zimbabwe’. Stud Fam Plann, 38(1): 1-10, March 2007.
[26]  Olubunmi Akinsanya Alo. ‘Premarital sexual activities in an urban society of southwest-Nigeria’. ea, , vol. 2 No 1. ISSN 1852-4680, August 2010. [Online]:
[27]  Kiragu K.. ‘Youth and HIV: can we avoid a catastroph?’ Population Reports. The John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Population Information Center, series L, 12:3-32, 2001.
[28]  Anna M. Gerard, Jeffrey Applegate. ‘Utilising social norms theory to delay the sexual debut of early adolescents: an intervention strategy’. Doctorate in social work (DSW) dissertation 2013. Paper 45. (Accessed: March 2015).
[29]  Jeremiah Chikovore, M.T. Mbizvo. ‘AIDS-related knowledge and sexual risk behavior among commercial farm residents in Zimbabwe’. The Central African journal of medicine, 45(1):7-10. Feb. 1999.
[30]  Kwena Z, Mwanzo I, etal. ‘Prediction of extramarital partnerships among women married to fishermen along Lake Victoria in Kisumu County, Kenya’. PLoS One. 18;9(4), Apr 2014:e95298.
[31]  Kyung- Hee Choi, Joseph A. Catania, M. Margaret Dolcini. ‘Extramarital sex and HIV risk behaviour among US adults: results from the National AIDS Behaviour Survey’. Am J Public Health Dec 1994; vol. 84, no. 12: 2003-2007, Dec. 1994.
[32]  Orubuloye I.O, John C. Caldwell, Path Caldwell. ‘Sexual networking in Ekiti District of Nigeria’. Studies in Family Planning 1991; 22, 2: 61-73.
[33]  American Psychological Association. ‘HIV/AIDS and Socioeconomic Status’.[ Onilne]: (accessed 21/03/15).
[34]  UNAIDS. ‘Gender and AIDS Almanac’. UNAIDS Information Center, Geneva. pp 1-15, 2002.
[35]  Quigley M, Munguti K, et al. ‘Sexual behavior patterns and other risk factors for HIV infection in rural Tanzania: a case-control study’. AIDS. 11(@): 237-48, 1997.
[36]  Mnyika K. S, Klepp K.I, Ole-Kingori N. ‘Determinants of high risk behavior and condom use among adults in the Arusha region of Tanzania’. International journal of STD and AIDS, 8(3):176-83, 1997.
[37]  Seth C. Kalichman, Dolly Ntseane, etal.’ Recent multiple sexual partnerships and HIV transmission among people living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana’. Sex Transm Infect. 83(5): 371–375, Aug. 2007.
[38]  Web MD. HIV and AIDS Health Centre. [Online]: (22/3/15).
[39]  Georges Reniers and Susan Watkins. ‘Polygyny and the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: a case of benign concurrency’. AIDS, 16; 24(2): 299–307, Jan.2010.
[40]  Reniers G, Tfaily R. ‘Polygyny, partnership concurrency, and HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa’. Demography, 49(3):1075-101, Aug. 2012.