Prevalence of non-barrier contraceptive methods use among female students in the University of Nairobi
Introduction: Sexual activity among the unmarried youth is common. The major complications of unprotected sex in this group are unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV/AIDS. Knowledge of contraceptive methods prevents the two, if barrier methods are used. A study was done at the University of Nairobi in October and November of 2013 to find out the degree of non-use of barrier methods and therefore the risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy.
Objectives: The main objective was to determine the prevalence of use of non-barrier contraceptive methods and the challengesof its use in the 18-24 years old age group. The specific objectives were to determine the degree of awareness of contraceptive methods available currently, the level of awareness of STDs especially HIV/AIDS, and the prevalence of use of non-barrier methods.
Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was done using a semi-structured questionnaire to collect data from 443 participants after obtaining a written consent. The target population was female students at the University of Nairobi and the study population was female students aged 18-24 years. The results were presented in form of tables and diagrams and data analysed using the SRSS 18.0 version.
Results: 303(68.6%) respondents had engaged in sexual intercourse while 139(31.4%) had never had sexual contact. 333(75.2%) of the participants had knowledge of contraception, while 271(89.4%) of the sexually active participantshad used different forms of contraception in their lifetime.106(35%) had used non-barrier methods, while condom was the most commonly used contraceptive method, 197(65%).Awareness of the various methods of contraception was, 403 (91%) for the oral contraceptive pills, 393(88.7%) for the emergency pill, 386(87.1%) for condoms, 337((76%) for the implants,306(69%) for the surgical methods,273(61.6%) for the intrauterine devices,260(58.7%) for the injectable methods and 16(4%) for other methods. 247(55.8%) of the participants were aware that contraceptives are used for preventing pregnancy, and 75(17%) were aware it is for preventing both pregnancy and STIs. 434(99.3%) were aware of STIs and HIV/AIDS. There was no statistically significant association between use of non-barrier methods of contraception and a history of STIs among the respondents, P=0.614, 95% CI.
Conclusions: Sexual activity among the youth is high (68.6%). Awareness of contraception and the various methods and use among those who are sexually active is high (91%, and 89.4% respectively). Use of non-barrier methods of contraception is high (35%) despite awareness of exposure to STIs and HIV/AIDS. This calls for concerted efforts to stem the tide of unnecessary exposure to STIs and HIV/AIDS.
Recommendations: The university administration and health services in collaboration with the ministry of health and other stake holders should produce and include programs very early in the students’ life during the orientation week for newcomers and in their curriculum to increase awareness and use of contraception to prevent pregnancy and STIs and HIV/AIDS.