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Background of the Study

STIs are serious public health issues that disproportionately impact young people, not just in underdeveloped nations but also in industrialized ones. There is a high likelihood that an infection may be passed from one person to another via sexual activity, such as vaginal or oral sex, or anal sex. Sexually transmitted infection (STI) is any disease (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS, or a genital form of herpes simplex) that is usually or often transmitted from person to person by direct sexual contact. It may also be transmitted from a mother to her child before or at birth or, less frequently, may be passed from person to person in nonsexual contact such as in kissing, in tainted blood transfusions, or in the use of unsanitized hypodermic syringes. In a similar thought, Myless, (2001) averred that sexually transmitted infections are those diseases caused by variety of organisms which are capable of being transmitted sexually. However, Achalu (1993) defined sexually transmitted infections as group of infectious diseases in which the main form of spread is by sexual activity or contact. The researcher defines sexually transmitted infections as diseases that can be contacted through unprotected sexually activities.

Sexually transmitted infections usually affect initially the genitals, the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the oral cavity, the anus, or the rectum but may mature in the body to attack various organs and systems. Tertiary syphilis, or paresis, for example, may affect skin, bones, the central nervous system, the heart, the liver, or other organs. Persons infected by an AIDS virus may remain outwardly healthy for years before the disease takes hold within the immune system. Sexually transmitted infections have a long history. The best known of these diseases, syphilis, is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Syphilis was first widely reported by European writers in the 16th century, and some medical historians assume that it was imported into Europe by explorers returning from the New World. Other authorities believe that syphilis is of ancient origin and may at one time have been mistakenly identified as leprosy. At any rate, syphilis first became widely recognized and reported about the year 1500, when a virtual epidemic swept Europe (Billings, 1998). Urethritis is the infection and inflammation of the urethra (the passage that transmits urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body).

In addition, the issue of sex is at present the subject matter of youth club programmes, television show, art work and public laws. As a matter of fact, there is more divestment and nudity in advertisements, magazines, television show and movies pointing to a general trend to get liberated attitudes and values which promote open discussions of human sexuality that were once considered a taboo. This kind of permissive environment has influenced people to have liberal and permissive attitudes and behaviours towards sexuality both in premarital and extra-marital affairs. The sensitivity of sexuality and youth behavior seems to obstruct education on STIs despite the fact that there is now a stronger commitment to address STIs in schools.

Indeed, experts are in agreement that sexual attitudes and behaviours of present day secondary schools have become more liberal and permissive (Reiss, 1994, Roche, 1996, Bell and Chaskas, 1990.).These experts also pointed out that there are very high incidence of premarital sex in the society. Unachukwu and Nwankwo (1998) pointed out that many of those who have not engaged in coitus during their years of study in secondary school (very few indeed) will do so before they marry. Apparently, today, those who do not experience sexual intercourse before marriage are in minority.

Several studies on vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections have indicated that the most common reasons cited for having engaged in unwanted sex by street were being drunk and pressure from a sexual partner (Owen,1996, Morgan, 2004). Bridging the gap between knowledge and practice has emerged as a major behavior change communication challenge to reducing students’ vulnerability to STIs and unwanted pregnancies. It is not certain whether secondary school students are aware of STIs and also; whether they have right attitude towards it. Therefore, this survey will be conducted in order to investigate and assess the knowledge of STIs among secondary school students and their attitude towards sexuality taking into account the high prevalence of the AIDS pandemic. In the light of the above statement, the researcher is interested in investigating the knowledge, attitude and preventive practices towards sexually transmitted infections among students in Ondo State.

Statement of the Problem

Adolescents, especially those in secondary schools are likely to engage in risky sexual practices and this increase their chances of contacting sexually transmitted infections or infections. It is no longer an old tale about the existence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as it used to be relegated as superstitious. Just like the popular slogan that “AIDS is real” similarly, sexually transmitted infections abound but the problem is that adolescents and especially, secondary school students who indulge in sexual practices seem to have little or no knowledge of STIs and the right attitude towards it.

In a bid to explore and experiment on sex and its related activities, adolescents seemingly lurk in total ignorance of the existence, symptoms, mode of transmission, control and right attitude towards sexually transmitted infections. However, ignorance, they said, is not an excuse to grave consequences of contacting STIs. Sequel to the above statement, the problem of this study simply addressed in a question form is; what do adolescents in secondary schools know on the symptoms, mode of transmission and control of sexually transmitted infections. Also, what is the attitude of secondary school students in Ese Odo  LGA towards STIs.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the knowledge, attitude and preventive practices towards sexually transmitted infections among students in Ondo State. Specifically, the study aims at the following:

  1. To ascertain the level of knowledge of students on the signs and symptoms of STIs.
  2. To find out the extent to which the students know of the mode of transmission.
  3. To ascertain their knowledge of the control of STIs
  4. To find out the attitude of students towards STIs.
  5. To determine the influence of gender on students level of knowledge of STIs.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study if published will be of immense benefits to the ministry of Education, teachers, parents, curriculum developers and the general public.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will spur the Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to articulate effective programmes on sex education for Secondary School Students. It is hoped that these ministries will train and equip peer educators who will further educate secondary school students on the right knowledge and attitude towards sexually transmitted infections; steering through it’s related health hazards and consequences.

The study will also help teachers and counselors to know and acknowledge students knowledge and attitude to sexually transmitted infections and how best they can help students in the area of sexuality.

The result of the study will help to reawaken parents and teachers on their roles in educating the adolescents on sexual matters. It will at the same time help to challenge our adolescents to healthy sexual relationships in order to avoid contacting HIV virus and STIs, unwanted pregnancies and abortion among others.

Scope of the Study

The study is designed to find the knowledge, attitude and preventive practices towards sexually transmitted infections among students in Ondo State. The study will investigate the students’ knowledge and attitude towards Sexually transmitted infections, focusing on signs and symptoms, mode of transmission, and control.

Research Questions

To carry out the study, the following research questions were formulated to guide the study,

  1. What is the level of knowledge of students on the signs and symptoms of STIs?
  2. To what extent do students know the modes of transmission of STIs?
  3. To what extent are students aware of the control of STIs?
  4. What are the students’ attitudes towards STIs?
  5. What are the influence of gender on students’ level of knowledge of STIs?



The following null hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance to guide the study.

HO1: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female students on their knowledge of various STIs.

HO2: There is no significant difference between the mean scores on attitude of students towards STIs based on gender.


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