Readiness for HIV testing among young people in northern Nigeria: the roles of social norm and perceived stigma

AIDS Behav. 2007 Sep;11(5):759-69. doi: 10.1007/s10461-006-9189-0. Epub 2006 Dec 27.


This study examined the predictors of readiness for HIV testing among young people in northern Nigeria, paying special attention to the role of stigma. Stigma is measured at two levels: individual and community (social norm). There are commonalities and differences in the correlates of readiness among men and women. For men and women, knowledge about HIV prevention, knowledge about a source for VCT, discussion about condom use for HIV prevention and perceived risk are strong predictors. Knowledge that an apparently healthy person can be HIV-infected is only significant for women. Perceived stigma is a significant predictor for both men and women although the specific dimension of note differs between the sexes. Social norm is strongly and directly associated with readiness among men but has no apparent influence among women. For both sexes, social norm appears to have strong mediating influence on the relationship between personal perceived stigma and readiness. The results strongly suggest that to eliminate HIV-related stigma, it is not enough to target individual cognitive processes; strategic efforts should target social structures in order to change negative social norms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception*
  • Social Values*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires