Awareness and practices of contraceptive use among university students in Botswana
In Botswana, unplanned pregnancies, especially among the youth constitutes a growing health and social problem. Research in the field of contraceptive practices, and the causes of sexual practices in Botswana, remains scarce and relatively limited. The objectives of this study was to investigate the awareness and utilization of various contraceptive methods, among university students in Botswana. A descriptive, cross-sectional, research study was conducted among 346 randomly selected students, who completed confidential, self-administered questionnaires. The average age of the respondents was 21 years (SD ¼ 2.8 years). The level of awareness among students regarding contraception was good (score ≥9). Both the male and the female students had almost similar awareness level of contraceptive use, as their mean scores were 8.79 and 8.72, respectively (p ¼ .733). All the female students (100%) were ‘aware’ that the effectiveness of the contraceptives used, as compared to male students, being 93.7%. A greater proportion of the female students (90.6%) knew that using contraceptives irregularly would result in pregnancy, in contrast to 76.4% males. More than half (59.0%) of the students indicated that they had engaged in sexual acts. Significantly, more male students (68.5%) had sexual experiences prior to the study, compared to 54.5% of their female counterparts (p ¼ .038).The majority of the students (76%) reported that they had always used contraceptive methods. The most commonly used contraceptive method was the condom (95.6%), followed by oral contraceptive pill (86.7%). There was no significant association found between the level of awareness and the use of contraceptives. Results suggested that many students still engaged in risky, contraceptive practices by engaging in unprotected sexual acts. Therefore, there is a need to educate the students about sexually transmitted infections, the different contraceptive methods and the regular use of the available contraceptives.
Keywords: awareness, utilization, contraception, university students, Botswana