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Street hawking and HIV/AIDS


Street hawking is an occupation engaged by children and young adults. Though there is a bill on child's labour that will soon be signed into law, yet it is a common sight in Nigeria cities. It is a business that requires prolong absence from home and families. The profession appears to be associated with increase risk of infection.


This study was conducted in Abuja (Federal Capital City) in Nigeria. Period of days of sample collection was from January-December, 2005. Out of this, 317 days were taken as working days (Mondays-Saturdays). The hawkers were contacted at 12 places in the city. An average of 7 hawkers was interviewed individually per day. Therefore the sample size was calculated as 317 × 7 = 2219. Voluntary counseling and confidential testing (VCCT) was administered. HIV screening was done using determine; positive samples were confirmed by Capillus, while a tie breaker (immunocomb) was used for indeterminate results.


Their age group was 8–28 years. The educational backgrounds of the subjects were as follows: primary 982/2219 (44.3%), secondary 1020/2219(45.9%), tertiary 217/2219(9.8%).1200/2219 (54.1%) were males and 1019/2219 (45.9%) females. Among the sexually active adults (1800/2219) representing 81.1%; 986/1800 (54.8%) had history of visiting commercial sex workers (CSWs). According to them, they used condoms but not always. Out of the sexually active adults (81.1%), 550/1800(30.6%) have had sexually transmitted infections at one point or the other. All the sexually active adults accepted VCCT; 246/1800 representing 13.7% tested HIV positive.


They have heard about HIV/AIDS through one medium or the other. But access to VCCT facilities is very poor.

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Correspondence to Ameh James.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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James, A., Aigbokhae, I. & Abutu, P. Street hawking and HIV/AIDS. Retrovirology 3 (Suppl 1), P30 (2006).

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