183980 HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors & Prevention Factors among Junior Secondary School Students in Ghana: Baseline Data from the 2007 Ghana GSHS

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Andrew Owusu, PhD , Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Peggy O'Hara Murdock, PhD , Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Cynthia Bosumtwi-Sam , School Health Education Programs, Ghana Education Service, Accra, Ghana
Kari Campbell , Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Laura Kann, PhD , Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Leanne Riley , Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Introduction: Global surveillance efforts by UNAIDS and WHO estimate Ghana's rate of HIV infection to be between 1.9% to 2.6% for adults (UNAIDS, 2008). Until 2007 no comprehensive national level data were available to determine risk behaviors and knowledge of HIV infection for Ghana's youth. In 2007, the Ghana GSHS (Global School-Based Student Health Survey) was administered. This presentation examines the baseline data collected on HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and selected prevention indicators. Methods: 75 sample schools, of over 8000, were selected for participation. 6236 junior secondary school students participated. Questions asking about behaviors and information relating to risks and prevention factors for HIV/AIDS were selected from the 2007 Ghana GSHS. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. Results: The findings indicate that approximately 15% of youths reported they have ever had sexual intercourse. Of those who were sexually active, over half reported they have had 2 or more partners and approximately 50% reported using a condom the last time they had intercourse. 70.1% of the youths had heard of HIV infection or AIDS, but over one third lacked information about mother to child transmission and how they could protect themselves from infection. 58.3% reported they have ever talked with their parents or guardians about HIV or AIDS. Conclusions: The GSHS baseline data show that information about HIV infection is lacking in a number of areas for Ghana's youths, ages 13-15. Many of those who are sexually active are engaging in behaviors that may expose them to risk of infection.

Learning Objectives:
Describe HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and prevention factors among youth in Ghana, West Africa

Keywords: Adolescents, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.D. Health and Human Performance (Health Specialization) Global School-Based Student Health Survey: Country Coordinator, Ghana, West Africa
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.