Date Published: December 21, 2011
Publisher: BioMed Central
Author(s): Adeniyi F Fagbamigbe, Joshua O Akinyemi, Babatunde O Adedokun, Elijah A Bamgboye.
Behaviour change which is highly influenced by risk perception is a major challenge that HIV prevention efforts need to confront. In this study, we examined the validity of self-reported likelihood of HIV infection among rural and urban reproductive age group Nigerians.
This is a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of Nigerians. We investigated the concordance between self-reported likelihood of HIV and actual results of HIV test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to assess whether selected respondents’ characteristics affect the validity of self-reports.
The HIV prevalence in the urban population was 3.8% (3.1% among males and 4.6% among females) and 3.5% in the rural areas (3.4% among males and 3.7% among females). Almost all the respondents who claimed they have high chances of being infected with HIV actually tested negative (91.6% in urban and 97.9% in rural areas). In contrast, only 8.5% in urban areas and 2.1% in rural areas, of those who claimed high chances of been HIV infected were actually HIV positive. About 2.9% and 4.3% from urban and rural areas respectively tested positive although they claimed very low chances of HIV infection. Age, gender, education and residence are factors associated with validity of respondents’ self-perceived risk of HIV infection.
Self-perceived HIV risk is poorly sensitive and moderately specific in the prediction of HIV status. There are differences in the validity of self-perceived risk of HIV across rural and urban populations.
Effective behaviour change programmes are very important in the effort to reverse the global HIV epidemic. Broad-based behaviour change programmes have played a critical role in reversing the HIV prevalence and incidence in nations with generalized epidemics . One of the several challenges that prevention efforts need to confront is that of perception. Self-perceived risk is a core component of four of the most commonly cited theories used in HIV/AIDS prevention.
The HIV prevalence in the urban population was 3.8% (3.0% among males and 4.6% among females) and 3.5% in the rural areas (3.4% among males and 3.6% among females). See Table 1. About six out of every ten respondents (64.5%) from urban Nigeria and 61.7% from rural locations reported that they had no risk at all of being infected with HIV. A very small proportion of respondents from rural (2.2%) and urban (2.3%) areas believed that they had high chances of HIV infection. In the rural areas, females were more likely than males to report a high likelihood of having HIV but the reverse is the case in the urban areas.
This study has shown that the accuracy of self-perceived risk of HIV were quite close in urban and rural areas and also that self-perceived risk of HIV is poorly sensitive and moderately specific in the prediction of HIV status. There were similarities between males and females and for both gender in rural and urban areas in terms of the accuracy and predictive values. However, there are differences in the sensitivity and false positive rates.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
AFF and JOA conceived the study. AFF participated in the study design, in the statistical analysis and in writing the result and coordination. JOA participated in drafting the introduction, in the study design and in the statistical analysis. BOA participated in the study design and in writing the result. EAB participated in drafting the introduction. All authors contributed to the discussion, proofread and approved the final manuscript.