Contraceptive practices in the era of HIV/AIDS among university students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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AbstractUniversity students as a population of young adults are reportedly at a higher risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection than the general public due to their higher levels of sexual&#160; experimentation and unsafe sexual practices. The objective of thiscross-sectional study was to find the patterns of contraceptive use among university students at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A total of 752 students were selected by stratified random sampling techniques. A self-administered questionnaire probing contraceptive usage and reasons for non-usage was used to collect data. The results were summarized using means (SD) for continuous variables and percentages for categorical variables. Chi-square test was used to find the association between gender and contraceptive use. The mean age of the participants was 21.25 years (SD &#188; 2.99). Fifty-ninepercent (n &#188; 442) were sexually active. Of the sexually active students, 90.7% (n &#188; 401) used contraceptives. Among contraceptive users, 90.5% (n &#188; 363) used condoms. Gender was not significantly associated (p &#188; 0.327) with contraceptive use, but there was a significant association between gender and condom use as males used condom more than females (p , 0.001). Eighty-one percent (n &#188; 323) of the sexually active students reported that they had used a contraceptive the last time they had sex. Regarding frequency of contraceptive use, 38.7% (n &#188; 155) reported that they use contraceptives sometimes or rarely. The frequency of contraceptive use was not significantly related to gender (p &#188; 0.305). Among 60 participants those who disapproved of using contraception, 68.3% (n &#188; 41) were afraid that contraception would cause sterility and 6 students reported that contraception would make their partner promiscuous. In conclusion, a large proportion of university students at MUT in South Africa are sexually active and use contraception, but the use may be inconsistent. Thus, more research is needed to create&#160; interventions on contraception uptake.