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Background: The establishment of a Youth Friendly Centre (YFC) is to ensure that the reproductive and sexual health needs of young people are adequately met. However, data have shown that a number of them are not even aware of such Centres in their vicinities or the services they offer, how much more utilize them. Therefore, this study aimed at assessing the level of HIV knowledge, awareness, and utilization of Youth Friendly Services (YFS) among undergraduates in Rivers State University, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Methods: A total of 520 students were given structured self-administered questionnaire which had been validated and pretested. Four hundred and forty-six questionnaires were returned properly filled. Information regarding knowledge of Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), awareness, and utilization of Youth Friendly Services were obtained from the students.
Results: Two hundred and nineteen (49.1%) of the students indicated HIV had no cure, while 73(16.4%) reported that there was a cure and 154 (34.5%) specified they were uncertain. The female respondents had a better knowledge compared to their male counterparts. The respondents exhibited a high knowledge of HIV preventive measures with the majority 357 (80%) indicating that abstinence was the best means. All the students agreed that everyone was at risk of HIV if they engaged in risky behaviors. In spite of this good knowledge on HIV, only 112 (25.1%) of the students were aware of a YFCs on campus.
Conclusion: The high knowledge level of HIV exhibited by the students did not translate to the awareness and utilization of the YFS. There is still so much to be done by health workers and the university committee if the students are to be encouraged to use the services offered at the Centre.
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