DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20171754

HIV/AIDS amongst street children in Cameroon: their relative knowledge, attitudes and sexual experience

Samuel Nambile Cumber, Joyce Mahlako Tsoka-Gwegweni, Ndenkeh N. Jackson Jr, Rosaline Yumumkah Kanjo-Cumber

Abstract


Background: Street children are victims of society and are up to 10 - 25 times more vulnerable and affected by HIV/AIDS than their counterparts who live with their families. Objective of study: To examine the HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and sexual experience amongst street children in Cameroon.

Methods: This study was an analytical cross-sectional survey conducted during the year 2015 through the administration of questionnaires to 399 street children that had been homeless for at least a month.

Results: Out of the 399 participants interviewed, more than 90% of them reported to have heard about HIV/AIDS. Though only 14% of the participants knew about the importance of HIV screening, an even smaller proportion of about 6.02% of them reported having been HIV screened before. Most of them stated that HIV could be transmitted through kissing, mosquito bites, eating utensils and through a hand-shake as well as believed that screening and use of Voluntary Confidentiality Counseling and Testing (VCCT) could help prevent its transmission. Many of them also thought of HIV/AIDS as a punishment from God for sins or as witchcraft; and that the disease could be cured through believing in God or even by a traditional practitioner.

Conclusions: The level of HIV/AIDS knowledge among street children in the study setting is sub-optimal. Their negative attitudes and incorrect beliefs about the disease could make them even more vulnerable to HIV infection. The use of peer educators would be an effective strategy to implement among this hard to reach population


Keywords


Street children, HIV, AIDS, Knowledge, Attitudes, Sexual experiences

Full Text:

PDF

References


Karmacharya D1, Yu D, Dixit S, Rajbhandari R, Subedi B, Shrestha S, et al. A study of the prevalence and risk factors leading to HIV infection among a sample of street children and youth of Kathmandu. AIDS Res Ther. 2012;9(1):1.

Mthembu S, Ndateba I. Exploration of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of street children on the prevention of HIV and AIDS in the Huye district, Rwanda. East Afr J Public Health. 2014;9(2):74-9.

Machimana EG. Perceptions of the association between alcohol misuse and the risk of HIV-infection among male youths in Soshanguve, Gauteng Province, 2012.

Nada KH, El Daw AS. Violence, abuse, alcohol and drug use, and sexual behaviors in street children of Greater Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. Aids. 2010;24:S39-S44.

Pandey GK, Dutt D, Nair NS, Subramanyam M, Nagaraj K. Interventions to modify sexual risk behaviors for preventing HIV infection in street children and youth people in developing countries (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2005;(4):10.

Dimbuene ZT, Defo BK. Fostering accurate HIV/AIDS knowledge among unmarried youths in Cameroon: Do family environment and peers matter? BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):348.

Messer LC, Pence BW, Whetten K, Whetten R, Thielman N, O'Donnell K, ey al. Prevalence and predictors of HIV-related stigma among institutional-and community-based caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children living in five less-wealthy countries. BMC Public Health. 2010;10(1):1.

Ziff MA, Harper GW, Chutuape KS, Deeds BG, Futterman D, Francisco VT, et al. Laying the foundation for Connect to Protect®: A multi-site community mobilization intervention to reduce HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence among urban youth. J Urban Health. 2006;83(3):506-22.

De Walque D. Who Gets AIDS and How?: The Determinants of HIV Infection and Sexual Behaviors in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania: World Bank Publications, 2006.

Hartell CG. HIV/AIDS in South Africa: AReview of Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents. Adolescence. 2005;40(157):171.

Boutayeb A. The impact of HIV/AIDS on human development in African countries. BMC Public Health. 2009;9 Suppl 1:S3.

Habtamu D, Adamu A. Assessment of Sexual and Reproductive Health Status of Street Children in Addis Ababa. J Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2013;2013:1-20.

Odujinrin M, Adebajo S. Social characteristics. HIV/AIDS knowledge, preventive practices and risk factors elicitation among prisoners in Lagos, Nigeria. West Afri J Med. 2000;20(3):191-8.

Lanouette NM, Noelson R, Ramamonjisoa A, Jacobson S, Jacobson JM. HIV-and AIDS-related knowledge, awareness, and practices in Madagascar. Am J Public Health. 2013;93(6):917-9.

Gańczak M, Barss P, Alfaresi F, Almazrouei S, Muraddad A, Al-Maskari F. Break the silence: HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes, and educational needs among Arab university students in United Arab Emirates. J Adolescent Health. 2017;40(6):572.

Dimbuene ZT, Defo BK. Fostering accurate HIV/AIDS knowledge among unmarried youths in Cameroon: Do family environment and peers matter? BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):348.

Kalichman SC, Simbayi LC. HIV testing attitudes, AIDS stigma, and voluntary HIV counselling and testing in a black township in Cape Town, South Africa. Sexually transmitted infections. 2003;79(6):442-7.

Bal B, Mitra R, Mallick AH, Chakraborti S, Sarkar K. Nontobacco substance use, sexual abuse, HIV, and sexually transmitted infection among street children in Kolkata, India. Substance use & misuse. 2010;45(10):1668-82.

UNAIDS, U. and World Health Organization., (2013). WHO: GLOBAL AIDS RESPONSE PROGRESS REPORTING 2013: Construction of Core indicators for monitoring the 2011 UN Political declaration on HIV/AIDS. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Thielman N, Ostermann J, Whetten K, Whetten R, O’Donnell K. Positive Outcomes for Orphans (POFO) Research Team. Correlates of poor health among orphans and abandoned children in less wealthy countries: the importance of caregiver health. PloS one. 2012;7(6):e38109.