Knowledge on HIV/AIDS, Prevalence of Sexual Activities and Condom use Among Students in Higher Learning Institutions in Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania. A case of Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP)
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ABSTRACT: HIV/AIDS is among the major health challenges facing the world, specifically in Sub-Saharan African countries. Youth are the most affected group, with most of new infections occurring among youths. Students in higher learning institutions in which most of them are youth are also at risk of the infection. Increased condom use can help in preventing the spread of the infection. This study was carried out at Institute of Rural Development planning in Dodoma municipality, central Tanzania to determine awareness among students to HIV/AIDS, sexual activities including condom use, and the attitude and perception towards condom among students. This study involved a cross-sectional survey to 220 students from different undergraduate courses. Data were collected from respondents through interviews using a pre-tested questionnaire. Furthermore, three Focus Groups Discussions, and two in-depth interviews with key informants were also carried out to collect qualitative information. Data from questionnaires were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences program version 16. Results of this study revealed that despite high level of awareness to HIV/AIDS among students, sexual activities were prevalent at substantial rate. For example, 69% had sex in past 12 months prior to survey, and for those who had sex in that period 38% had ever had sex with non-regular partner, while 35.5% had multiple sexual partners. Main reasons for engagement in sex included poverty (sex for money), peer pressure, body temptation. Result also indicated substantial number of students (61.2%) that had sex within the past 12 months prior to survey did not use condom in all sexual encounters despite majority were not married. Identified reasons for not using condom include trusting each other, and negative altitude and perception towards condom. Based on these findings it is recommended that campaign to reduce sexual activities among students should be initiated, this could be through Youth Clubs; Seminars to tackle negative attitude and perception towards condom should also be initiated.