Risky sexual behaviour of university students: Perceptions and the effect of a sex education tool

  • KM Born
  • L Wolvaardt
  • E Mcintosh
Keywords: University students, sex-education, intervention, sexual health, risky sexual behaviour.


The increasing HIV incidence amongst people aged 15-24 years and the reported gaps in sexeducation received at school and reported risky sexual behaviour in South Africa justifies the importance of this study. This study examines the risky sexual behaviour and perceptions among first-year students enrolled at Monash South Africa in South Africa. This four-phased mixed methods pilot study explored whether a sex-education intervention tool positively influenced risky sexual behaviour. Phase 1 used self-administered questionnaires to obtain quantitative and qualitative baseline data. In Phase 2 a sex-education intervention tool was designed to address identified gaps. In Phase 3 a prospective cohort of 12 mixed-gender students participated in the sex-education intervention sessions and was followed up a month later (Phase 4) to evaluate the effectiveness of the tool. Phase 1 participants (139) were between 18- 21 years. The level of sexeducation knowledge amongst the participants was low and of a poor quality; this could be a result of poor preparation at school. The results suggest the necessity of sex-education programmes for university students considering the low proportion of students entering university with basic sex education. Of the 139 participants, 27 were identified with risky sexual behaviour and considered for an intervention. The intervention participants felt more able to be responsible for their behaviour after the intervention. The participants reported that the sexeducation intervention tool influenced their risky sexual behaviour positively. This pilot intervention study can be adopted by universities interested in engaging their students about their sexual health and augmenting school-level interventions.

Keywords: University students, sex-education, intervention, sexual health, risky sexual


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939