Background: Africa accounts for 70% of all PLWHIV about 35% of those needing ART in Africa are currently on it. 1 HIV+ are at increased risk of cancers. 2 Active screening programs are required otherwise they will present in advanced stages. 3 Early diagnosis depends on high levels of awareness. There is need to provide contextual, culturally sensitive health education in LMIC. 4 We evaluated knowledge, practice and attitude of PLWHIV in Nigeria in order to provide foundation for client education.
Materials and Methods: Random sample of HIV+ and HIV- participants at 4 randomly selected hospitals in Nigeria who consented to participate were invited to FGD on AIDS Associated Malignancies. Each FGD consisting of 10 persons, was managed by a researcher using a discussion guide. Data was recorded, transcribed and analyzed.
Results: In northern Nigeria most participants had heard about cancer and considered it a fatal disease, but they had poor knowledge of the causes. None had heard of any of the common cancers that occur in PLWHIV and the few that knew about CC did not associate it with HIV. They did not believe it is possible to have HIV and cancer. Most think cancer is incurable or treatable by traditional means only. No respondents had ever heard about screening and none has ever been screened. They emphasized respect in order to earn trust before introduction of screening. Some will not like to be screened but rather not know about cancer if present. They emphasized use of mass media, community engagement, pre-test counseling and confidentiality as issues that need to be addressed. In the South, all participants in the FGD had heard about cancer, usually through the mass media and considered it to be fatal, but they had poor knowledge of its risk factors. Many believed that AIDS is associated with cancers but were not certain of which.
Conclusions: This study showed that levels of awareness of cancer among PLWHIV varied across the country and may be related to different levels of education and socio-economic parameters.
(C) 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.