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Title:The geography of HIV/AIDS and an assessment of risk factor perspectives in Nigeria: the case of Benin City and Makurdi
Author(s):Djukpen, Richard
Director of Research:Kalipeni, Ezekiel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kalipeni, Ezekiel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McLafferty, Sara L.; Ruiz, Marilyn O.; Flynn, Karen
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Geospatial analysis
Geography of Place
Abstract:Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, scholars have attempted to understand the fast spread of this epidemic in parts of Africa. Several theoretical approaches to explaining the prevalence of HIV/AIDS have been advance since then. This dissertation uses a number of these theoretical perspectives to explain the prevalence of HIV/AIDS at the national and local levels in Nigeria. Among the theoretical perspectives deployed in this research are the political economy approach, the gender relations context, and the role of certain cultural practices in the proliferation of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. The study advances two central objectives. The first objective is to use a geographic approach to understand the spatial variation of HIV/AIDS at the national level. This objective sets out to examine the spatial landscape of this epidemic in order to identify regions of high prevalence versus those of low prevalence. The second objective of the study explores the factors that put people at risk of contracting HIV at the community levels using two carefully selected study sites, namely, Benin City and Makurdi. In trying to understand the spatial variation of the HIV/AIDS rates at the national level, the study uses geospatial analytical methods which include Moran’s I, and Getis & Ord’s Gi* statistic. These methods help to establish the presence or absence of clustering in terms of high or low levels of HIV/AIDS rates at the national level. For the micro level cases, the study of Benin City and Makurdi, using structured questionnaires and focus group discussions enabled an assessment of the understanding of risk factors by the residents. As such, this dissertation employs both quantitative analytical techniques (i.e. geographic information science or GIS and principal components analysis) and qualitative analytical techniques (questionnaires and focus group discussions). Both the principal components analysis and the focus group discussions assisted in unraveling the major HIV/AIDS risk factors that respondents identified in the two study sites. The results of the geospatial analysis indicated that Benue State is a major HIV/AIDS cluster in Nigeria both in time and in space. The intensity of HIV/AIDS prevalence radiates from Benue State to the southeast, northwest and southwest states of Nigeria. The results of the principal components analysis and the focus group interviews yielded very insightful results about the presence of key HIV/AIDS risk factors in the two study sites. The assessment by the respondents at the two study sites indicated the existence of both differences and similarities in their assessment of risk factors. For example, the major key risk factors that the respondents identified included truck stop activities, international sex trafficking of young females, international peacekeeping activities of Nigerian army officers, the presence of certain cultural practices such as wife inheritance and female circumcision, and more importantly the unequal gender relationships that greatly favor men over women. Other respondents mentioned the presence of a poorly funded and poorly structured health care system that has inadvertently contributed to the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In conclusion, the results of this study have broader societal impacts particularly in their contribution to devising management strategies that are relevant to each specific locality as informed by the understanding of risk factors by the residents. This study also demonstrates the usefulness of advanced geospatial analytical techniques in identifying major HIV/AIDS clusters. Researchers, politicians and policy makers can then draw their attention to the high cluster zones as demonstrated in this dissertation with the cases of Benin City and Makurdi in Nigeria.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Richard Ohwofasah Djukpen
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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