Objectives: Older people are at increasing risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The use of condoms which can protect both partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV during vaginal and anal sex is mostly neglected by them. In fact, postmenopausal women may not see the need for condom use when they are no longer at risk for pregnancy. Even though HIV/AIDS in older patients carry a high mortality, it is many times neglected by even healthcare providers because of the belief that older persons are no longer sexually active. This study aimed to determine the perception and knowledge of condom use as a strategy for HIV/AIDS prevention among midlife and older adults in Calabar, Nigeria.
Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out to identify the perception and knowledge of HIV transmission and condom use among adults over 50 years of age, in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was used to get the demographic data, sources of information about the disease, knowledge about the use of condom and its efficacy in preventing the disease.
Results: A total of 488 participants were interviewed, comprising 263 males (53.9%) and 225 females (46.1%). Most of them (83.8%) were married and the rest (16.2%) were single. The majority of the respondents (368, 75.7%) got their information about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention from the television. Other sources of information for respondents on HIV/AIDS were awareness campaigns (43.5%), newspapers (38.6%), friends (37.3%) and neighbours (27.1%). Three hundred and four (62.3%) of the respondents said that they had used condoms and believed that condoms could effectively prevent transmission of STIs including HIV compared to the one hundred and eighty-four (31.7%) who opined otherwise. Abstinence was the major mode of prevention of the disease among respondents while unprotected sexual intercourse was identified by the majority of the respondents (87.5%) as a high risk factor.
Conclusion: There should be more public education on HIV/AIDS to midlife and older adults.