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Influencing preventive behavior with regard to HIV/AIDS among the Police Force of Harari Region, Eastern Ethiopia, 2011

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Background: HIV/AIDS has emerged as one of the serious public health challenges in Ethiopia. This disease has individual and institutional impacts, making difficult for the police services to act effectively in protecting the public from crime. Objective: To assess factors that influence HIV/AIDS prevention among police personnel in Harari Region, Ethiopia, 2010. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted in January 2010 involving 310 out of the 790 police personnel found in the Region. A simple random sampling technique was used to select study participants by using their identification numbers as sampling frame from registration books of the Personnel Department of the Regional Police Commission. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify determinants of sexual behavior. Results: Attitudes and perceptions of study participants showed significant association with their sexual behavior. Fifty two percent of the respondents were engaged in risky sexual practices and believed that they are susceptible to HIV infection. Twenty-nine percent had multiple sexual partners of which 60% did not use condom consistently. Overall, the study participants were of young age group and have habits of consuming alcohol. Almost all have access to VCT services and opportunities for peer education. Conclusion: The study participants were at risk of HIV because of their sexual behavior and misconceptions related to the risk factors and means of prevention. Hence, basic police training should include BCC on HIV/AIDS, expansion of HIV counseling and testing services, strengthening of peer education and establishing anti-AIDS clubs. [Ethiop. J.Health Dev. 2012;26(1):3-8]


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