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A Comparative Study of HIV/AIDS: The Knowledge, Attitudes, and Risk Behaviors of Schizophrenic and Diabetic Patients in Regard to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

Olawale O Ogunsemi, Rahmaan A Lawal, Gbenga T Okulate, Christopher O Alebiosu, Michael O Olatawura


Context: Studies on knowledge and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS reported from developed countries have shown that people with psychiatric disorders constitute a special risk group. In Nigeria, although similar studies have been conducted on various population groups, there has, so far, been no reported study on people suffering from psychiatric disorders.

Objective: The present study set out to compare knowledge, attitudes, and risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS among schizophrenic patients and diabetic patients.

Methods: Ninety-eight consecutive schizophrenic patients attending the outpatient clinics of a psychiatric hospital over a period of 8 weeks completed an interviewer's administered questionnaire. The interview covered demographics, risk behaviors, knowledge related to HIV/AIDS, and patients' attitudes toward people infected with HIV/AIDS. Their responses were compared with those of 56 diabetic patients who were similarly interviewed in a teaching hospital.

Results: Compared with the diabetic patients, the schizophrenic patients were significantly less sexually active in the previous 12 months (P < .05). They had more misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and were less tolerant towards people living with HIV/AIDS compared with the diabetic patients. They were also more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.

Conclusion: Mental health providers rarely educate psychiatric patients about HIV/AIDS and should be more involved in doing so. Despite being less sexually active, patients with schizophrenia engaged in risk behaviors as did the diabetic patients.

(Published: 29 November 2006)


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Journal of the International AIDS Society | eISSN 1758-2652 | Editors-in-Chief: Susan Kippax and Kenneth Mayer

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