Risky Sexual Behaviour, Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion Among Students in the University of Douala|
Njikam, PR. (née O. M. Savage)
There are about 9,335 students in the University of Douala, 6,686 males and 3,832 females with a mean age of 20 years. Knowledge of the transmission of AIDS is high as indicated by 95% of the students, 80% were also able to identify preventive strategies. However, there is a failure to translate knowledge into protective action and behaviour. Between 1998 and 2001, there has been a nearly three-fold increase in cases of STIs from 137 to 360. Tuberculosis, which is strongly linked to HIV/AIDS in Douala, has also increased from 7 cases to 38. HIV/AIDS prevalence among students is estimated between 3%-5%. Both male and female students constitute a high-risk group because of multiple partners due to the adoption of several supposedly emotional/financial safe strategies. These include sponsors1 or male friends who pay rents, furnish rooms etc, in addition to campus girl friends/boy friends 'safety belts' and other short-term relationships. Condom usage is irregular. The University of Douala as part of its health promotion-prevention strategy has intensified its information, education and communication programme on HIV/AIDS with the support of governmental, non-governmental organisations and students clubs on campus and Peer educators have increased their sensitization activities. Preventive strategies include valorising positive cultural norms, empowering and encouraging students to practice sexual abstinence and fidelity. There is a need to incorporate students more in the design of appropriate and acceptable intervention strategies towards the prevention, health enhancement, treatment and management strategies of HIV/AIDS in the university arena.