BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) also referred to as sexually transmitted infections(STIs) and Venereal Disease (VD) are illness that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. The sexually transmitted diseases are groups of communicable diseases that are transmitted predominantly by sexual contact. According to Karnataka and Maharshtra (2002), sexually transmitted diseases are worldwide and it has a high prevalence from one to fourteen percent in the vulnerable population groups. Sexually transmitted diseases are very common especially among young people ages 15 – 24. According to WHO (2002), early sexual habit places young people at increased risk for acquiring STDs. This vulnerability is because of biological and behavioural factors. The biological factors among young women have more to do with their sexual anatomy being more susceptible to abrasions that can allow the organisms to enter the body. The immature reproductive and immune system makes adolescent more vulnerable to infections by STD agent. According to the Joint United Nations Programme (JUNP, 2001), it is doubtless that these youths and even adults have been associated with sex scandal causing them to be plague with venereal diseases. It is estimated that over four million people are infected with sexually transmitted diseases, over twenty million people have died from the effect of venereal diseases (AWAKE Magazine, 2002). Never before in history has this death rate of such magnitude been seen among youth. Sexually transmitted diseases are so widespread thus, they are considered as an epidemic and Africa has a high rate of STD. In Nigeria, research on STDs among young people is limited, although there is some evidence that STDs are indeed a common problem in this population. According to a study conducted in the country’s rural south east, the prevalence of STDs among adolescent females was high at 17%. When one sexually active women were tested, 17 – 19 years olds had the highest prevalence of Chlamydia (11%) and candidiasis (26%) and were also the age group most likely to have had any STD (44%), women younger than 17 had the highest prevalence of trichononiasis (11%) and nearly (20%) also had symptomatic candidiasis. Another study conducted in Urban Port-Harcourt confirmed the high rates of STDs among adolescents and reported an overall adolescent STDs prevalence rate of 14%. On the basis of these evidences, the promotion of prompt and appropriate health services among Nigerian adolescents should be a public health priority. However, very little information exist about whether and where young people seek care for their STDs. Evidence from some developing countries suggest that majority of adolescents who have tested positive for STDs or reported STDs symptoms first try to treat their infections themselves or seek treatment from non-professional providers (e.g traditional healer, patent medicine sellers) and only turn to public health clinics or formal health care providers as a last resort. According to Kristin N. Mmari et al (2010), female adolescents with self reported STDs preferred to seek treatment from a pharmacy, followed by a local healer, spiritual healer or private practitioners. There are specific reasons why it may be difficult for adolescents or students to seek treatment for STDs, particularly in formal health care settings. First and foremost, many adolescents lack knowledge and information about infections and diseases. According to the 2003 Nigerian Demographic Health survey more than 70% of 15 – 19 year old females and 54% of same aged males had no knowledge of any STD. In other African settings, young people or women were especially uninformed about contracting an STD and had difficulty distinguishing between normal and abnormal vaginal discharge. In addition to this knowledge and information barriers, many students and adolescents simply prefer not to get treatment from formal health care providers. Some adolescents often feel shy or ashamed while others report other barriers such as the cost of seeking medical treatment at public health facilities including the fear that the services might not be confidential or fear of meeting people they know at the health care facility.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Globally, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have reportedly reached an alarming prevalence in several countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than twenty STDs have been identified by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2003). Some of the bacterial infections are Venereal Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamidia, Candidiasis, HIV/AIDS and some others. The data on the incidence and prevalence of STDs in Nigeria is limited. This is as a result of under reporting of STDs which is attributable to inadequate diagnostic and treatment facilities, especially in the rural areas, asymptomatic episodes, the stigma of having an STD, limited access to health care facilities. The use of traditional healers and self-treatment with antibiotics among those contracting STDs further increase the extent of under-reporting and ineffective treatment (Green, 1992).
- What are the commonly reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among students between 2010 and 2013?
- What are the differences in the distribution of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among male and female students between 2010 and 2013?
- What is the sex ratio of students with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) attended to at the University Health Centre between 2010 and 2013?
- What is the age distribution of students with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) attended to at the University Health Centre between 2010 and 2013?
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study was to find out the commonly reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among students, to ascertain the differences in the distribution of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among male and female students, to determine the sex ratio of students with STDs attended to at the University and to examine the age distribution of students with STDs attended to at the University Health Centre.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study was to provide the needed information on commonly reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases among students and to provide an effective school based prevention education programme for the control of STDs in the University community.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The research covers Ugbowo campus of the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, therefore applicable only to the above mentioned institution.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
The data on the incidence and prevalence of STDs are limited. This is as a result of underreporting of STDs which is attributable to inadequate diagnostic and treatment facilities, the stigma of having an STD and limited access to health care facilities. The use of traditional healers and self-treatment with antibiotics among those contracting STDs further increase the extent of under-reporting and ineffective treatment.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
EPIDEMIC – A widespread occurrence of a disease in a community at a particular time.
DIAGNOSIS – Identification of a disease by means of a patient’s symptoms.
ASYMPTOMATIC – Exhibiting or showing or producing no symptoms.
PREVALENCE – Generally existing or occurring, predominant