A cross sectional study to determine the knowledge of HIV/AIDS and sexual practices of adolescents was undertaken in Benin City, Nigeria. Benin City the capital of Edo State, Nigeria, has 40 government owned secondary schools comprising 6 boys, 10 girls, and 24 mixed. Out of these 3 schools were randomly selected for survey viz; Adolor (boys only), Iyoba (girls only), Army Day (mixed). The sample size for the survey was 920 while the total population for selected schools was 1692 giving a sampling ratio of 1:2. Using the systematic sampling method and class register as sampling frame every other child was selected for the study. However, only 852 students consented to participate giving a response rate of 92.6%.
An overwhelming majority of the adolescents were aware of HIV/AIDS but only 16.2% knew the cause of the disease. The submission that kissing, living with infected persons and sharing their utensils could lead to infection was an indication of ignorance. Sexual intercourse was the predominant route of transmission mentioned by 60.0% while multiple sexual partners was prevalent among age group 13-15 years. Playing with sharps, frequent clean head shave with unsterilised instruments in the barbing saloon and promiscuity were some of the activities that adolescents were involved in that could lead to HIV/AIDS infection.
In conclusion, the knowledge of the study population was poor and correlates with their reckless sexual practices. Prevention is the best option to the disease. Better informed youths on HIV/AIDS will enhance the principle of prevention.