SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS

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Contraceptive practices in the era of HIV/AIDS among university students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

M Hoque, S Ghuman


University 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  experimentation and unsafe sexual practices. The objective of this
cross-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 ¼ 2.99). Fifty-nine
percent (n ¼ 442) were sexually active. Of the sexually active students, 90.7% (n ¼ 401) used contraceptives. Among contraceptive users, 90.5% (n ¼ 363) used condoms. Gender was not significantly associated (p ¼ 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 ¼ 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 ¼ 155) reported that they use contraceptives sometimes or rarely. The frequency of contraceptive use was not significantly related to gender (p ¼ 0.305). Among 60 participants those who disapproved of using contraception, 68.3% (n ¼ 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  interventions on contraception uptake.

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