Contributory factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS

Ignorance on the concept, means of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS has greatly contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS. This ignorance is based on different factors which include:

  • Inadequate HIV/AIDS Information
  • Limited Access to Health Care services
  • Poor Sexual Health Attitudes and Behaviours
  • Cultural and Socio-economic factors

Inadequate HIV/AIDS information

Research has shown that a large proportion of people are not concerned about becoming infected with HIV. This lack of HIV/AIDS awareness can translate into not taking measures that could protect their health (UNAIDS 2006). In the context of HIV/AIDS, having information implies ability to recall facts concerning causes, transmission, prevention, concerning HIV/AIDS. Most individuals’ lack of HIV/AIDS information is the primary reasons for not taking adequate preventive measures.

It is expected that when one has the information of HIV/AIDS, the accompanying behaviour would be logical.  That is having the information of prevention, transmission and other facts would motivate logical safe sex behaviour among the youths.  In relation of HIV/AIDS; the possibility that the possession of adequate and correct information is highly correlated to preventive efforts and is a strong motivating factor since it help to overcome fear, denial and also contribute to behaviour modification.  The power of increased information to motivate logical sexual behaviour to reduced HIV infection and modify sexual behaviour among the individuals is therefore crucial and should be highly considered (UNAIDS 2009).

Limited access to health care services

There is a general  assumption that most people have considerable faith in the health care system and seek its services may not hold for people who are at risk of HIV infection or living with HIV/AIDS due to general apathy in the discussion of HIV/AIDS related matters . The health system itself is partly responsible for the poor health outcomes evident in these populations, as individuals often face barriers to accessing the care and treatment they need (Martin, 2012).

These issues are particularly relevant for youths, who face considerable challenges regarding access to youth friendly health services which are isolated from the mainstream facilities. As a result many youths shy away from accessing health care especially when it is about their reproductive health related.  According to the Ministry of health, many youths do not seek health care services. This has been attributed to lack of youth friendly facilities, ignorance by youths on their health, few medical personnel to handle youths and governments limited budgets to health matters. In sub-Saharan Africa, only half of the youth population has easy access to health care (UNAIDS, 2009).

Sexual health attitudes and behaviours

In many parts of the world, a culture of silence surrounds most reproductive health issues. Many adults are uncomfortable talking about sexuality with their children. Others lack accurate sexual health knowledge. Many people feel unable to discuss sexuality across perceived barriers of gender and age differences. There is a general reluctant to provide sexually active adolescents with condoms (Sharp & Hahn, 2011).

Some people believe that men are biologically programmed to need sexual intercourse with more than one woman. Polygamy among is a central, social institution that reinforces this belief. Moreover, some men believe that this “biologically programmed need” makes high-risk sex unavoidable. In these communities high HIV infection rates may be partly explained by early sexual initiation, consensual or coerced (Evian, 2006).

Cultural and socio-economic factors

Some faith traditions in Africa teach that AIDS is a shameful disease and a punishment for those who have been sexually promiscuous, and many adults are reluctant to admit to a disease that seems to imply promiscuity (Gallo, 2006).

Poverty and HIV transmission are linked in a variety of ways. Poverty often leads to prostitution or to trading sexual favours for material goods. Young women may be especially vulnerable due to societal practices that deny them education and work opportunities. Poverty also leads to poor nutrition and a weakened immune system, making poor people more susceptible to tuberculosis and to STDs (Mandell, 2014).

Prospect of HIV/AIDS victims in Nigeria

The problem of HIV/AIDS control in Nigeria notwithstanding, there is hope that the disease shall be eventually eliminated. This is because some of the initial impediments to testing and treatment have been greatly minimized. One of them; stigmatization and discrimination is gradually being reduced as a result of the presence of antiretroviral drugs, which have removed the erroneous belief that HIV/AIDS carriers are already dead men and women. As such, those who are living with the disease do not hide their faces because the society appreciates their condition as carriers of any other diseases. People can now come out confidently to be tested and treated. This position was earlier held by UNAIDS (2016) that as “as HIV/AIDS become a disease that can be both prevented and treated, attitudes will change and denial, stigma and discrimination will rapidly be reduced.”

The signing of a new partnership agreement between Nigeria and the USA is quite monumental in the fight against the disease. The agreement that is for the period of six years is an agenda of cooperation  that would focus on closing the gaps in prevention,  care and treatment services and ensure that Nigeria has the full capacity to plan, manage, implement and ultimately finance HIV/AIDS programs. This independence, it is expected would enable the Nigerian government to tap the resources available to all development partners (NACA, 2010). Earlier, the Nigerian government had demonstrated its desire to ensure proper treatment of HIV/AIDS victims by initiating back-up legislation that requires hospitals to only use blood from the National Blood Transfusion Service, which has far more advanced blood-screening technology (UNAIDS 2006).

There has been remarkable improvement in the area of research, which accounts for the production of antiretroviral drugs that have made the disease less harmful and with little negative human impact. With regards to cure of the disease, drugs have been produced that can kill the virus but they have equally the same magnitude of negative impact on human life. However, it is being expected that the commitment of WHO, UN, and other international organizations and governments of nations across the globe, better cure drugs would emerge very soon.


Evian, C. (2006). Primary HIV/AIDS care: a practical guide for primary health care personnel in a clinical and supportive setting (Updated 4th ed.). Houghton: Jacana

Gallo, M. F. (2006). A review of the effectiveness and acceptability of the female condom for dual protection.Sexual health, 9 (1), 18–26.

Mandell, G. F. (2014). Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone.

Martin, H. (2012). Principles and practice of clinical virology (6th ed.). New Jersey: Wiley.

NACA (2010). “National HIV Response Review 2005-2009. Nigeria National Guidelines on PMCT,” 2(13), 7-12.

Sharp, P. M. & Hahn, B. H. (2011).Origins of HIV and the AIDS Pandemic.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, 1 (1), a006841.

UNAIDS (2006).The 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. Geneva: UNAIDS.

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