Background Increasing morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS may be attributable to the lifestyle of individuals. Appropriate sexual behaviour and lifestyle modification may be helpful strategies for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in many countries. Aim The study was designed to assess the impact of attitudes and sexual behaviour on control of HIV/AIDS among unmarried people living with HIV/AIDS in Uyo, a community in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Method A total of 365 unmarried individuals living with HIV/AIDS were assessed at the HIV clinic of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. Attitudes and sexual behaviour were evaluated using the Attitude and Sexual Behaviour Questionnaire adapted from previous studies. Results Of the 365 individuals living with HIV/AIDS, 142 (38.9%) were male and 223 (61.1%) were female. The majority of the subjects were below 50 years of age. The mean ages (± SD) of men and women were 36.8 ± 3.9 and 29.2 ± 1.7 years, respectively. Sexual attitudes and behaviours were variable. There was no change in the partner's reaction to sex for 28.9% of men and 27.8% of women, abstinence in 7.7% of men and 8.1% of women, and breakdown of the relationship with the partner for 4.9% of men and 7.2% of women. More women than men agreed to undergo testing after their partners had tested positive for HIV. Sexual activity was higher in women than men, with 4.9% of men and 10.3% of women reporting daily sexual intercourse, 16.2% of men and 15.7% of women reporting weekly intercourse, and occasional sexual intercourse being reported by 44.4% of both men and women. After testing positive, 58.4% of male partners and 56.9% of female partners were persuaded to use condoms during sexual intercourse. Conclusion This study has demonstrated unhealthy attitudes and sexual behaviour among individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This can potentially limit efforts and investment in controlling HIV/AIDS in this region. Therefore there is a need to initiate concrete policies and programmes that would encourage people living with HIV/AIDS in the Niger Delta region to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Nigeria; behaviour; sexual attitudes; unmarried people.
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