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Background: Students in tertiary institutions are usually teenagers, adolescents and/or young adults and are known to be adventurous and engage in risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex. Unprotected sex carries a multitude of risks including sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, syphilis and even HIV, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, loss of education, to mention a few.
The objective of this study was to document tertiary institution students’ knowledge and experience with contraceptives and unprotected sex.
Methods: Pretested, semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 150 undergraduate students in the University of Lagos, Akoka Campus and the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, the two tertiary educational institutions selected for this study in Lagos State. Results obtained were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS. Descriptive and inferential statistics were carried out as required.
Results: A percent recovery of 80% was obtained. The mean age of respondents was 21.2 ± 2.5, and female to male sex ratio was 1.7: 1. From the findings, most of the students had good knowledge of contraception. The most common contraceptives known and used were condoms and contraceptive pills (OCPs). Just about half of the respondents used contraception and the most common reason for failure to use were pressure from partners and friends, perceived or real effects of some methods as well as difficulty of access. Less than a quarter of the respondents could correctly state outcomes of unprotected sex. There was a statistically significant association between those who engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse and their religion as well as their gender. There was no significant association between those engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse and age.
Conclusion: It can be concluded from this work that though undergraduate students had acceptable levels of knowledge about contraception and contraceptive methods, a good proportion still engaged in risky sexual behaviours such as having unprotected sex and the practice of withdrawal as a contraceptive method. Awareness campaigns should be mounted to further educate adolescents with a view to changing their practices.
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