Self-efficacy concept derived from Bandura’s social-cognitive theory, considers individual’s insights of their own capabilities to play a key role in changing their behaviors, motivations and experiences(1). It is one of the crucial components in learning effective behavior for dealing with AIDS crisis since many students engage in high risk sexual behavior even if they are aware of the risks. Enhancing self-efficacy for reducing HIV/AIDS-related risk behaviors is a critical element for HIV preventive programs among adolescence(2). Therefore, self-efficacy for HIV prevention is described as a person’s belief in his/her capacity to carry out necessary actions to perform a specific behavior for HIV prevention. It is being strongest predictors for HIV prevention(3).
In 2018, 510,000 adolescents below the age of 24 were newly infected with HIV worldwide and projected to rise from 250,000 in 2015 to nearly 400,000 annually by 2030 if progress in reaching adolescents stalls(4). In Sub-Saharan Africa these case seems serious which 89% of HIV cases were adolescents and girls being newly infected at four times the rate of adolescent boys(5). In Ethiopia 30% of university students, both male and female, were sexually active and they were at risk of complications related to unsafe sex such us STI including HIV and abortion(6).
University students are very mobile group, and if not protected and preserved from the scourge of HIV and AIDS, they can become dispersal agents for the spread of HIV in society(7). They are at higher risk of engaging in risky sexual behavior, especially if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and lack the necessary maturity in handling negative peer pressure(8).
Students with lower self-efficacy have less control over their lives and are more likely to be subjected to high-risk behaviors. In sum, low self-efficacy of the students can destroy their motivation, interfere with cognitive abilities and increase the possibility of high-risk behaviors and vulnerability for HIV infection (9). For instance the study found students with low condom efficacy had a higher risk of inconsistent condom use with a new sex partner(10).
According to study conducted on Mexican adolescence the level of HIV/AIDS preventive self-efficacy was found to be 95.14(SD ± 25.80)(11). Other study conducted on Turkey university students showed that the mean level of HIV/AIDS preventive self-efficacy was 87.66 (SD ± 23.94)(12) and further study conducted on Tawenness adolescence reported the mean level of 74.45(SD ± 17.05)(13).
In Ethiopian universities, students were reported to be engaged in different risk activities which facilitate the infection to increase. For instance in Debre Berhan University, (25.13%) students have at least one risky sexual behavior in their lifetime in which cigarette smoking and pornography exposure shows significant association with risky sexual behavior (14) and in Bahir Dar University, having sex after alcohol drinking and khat chewing ,watching pornography and inconsistent use of condom were the risk factors for HIV infection(15). In addition, a qualitative study carried out in higher educational institution of Ethiopia revealed that substance abuse and addictions, early initiation of sex, and exposure to pornography were reported as a problem for the increase HIV infection(16). Furthermore, other study found that characteristics of university students like; their age, ambition, experience of new events(17), and other contextual driving factors, increase their exposure to HIV/ AIDS (18).
Hence, keeping in mind high-risk behaviors of university students and their potential risk for all society, assessing their preventive self-efficacy regarding HIV/AIDS may be helpful in identifying their potential ability to engage in risk reduction behaviors. However, no study was found on HIV/AIDS preventive self-efficacy in Ethiopia in general and in the study area particularly. Thus, this study was aimed to assess level of HIV preventive self -efficacy and associated factors among undergraduate regular students at the study area.