Peer-driven contraceptive choices and preferences for contraceptive methods among students of tertiary educational institutions in Enugu, Nigeria
CA Iyoke,1 FO Ezugwu,2 OL Lawani,3 GO Ugwu,1 LO Ajah,3 SG Mba1
1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu; 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Purpose: To describe the methods preferred for contraception, evaluate preferences and adherence to modern contraceptive methods, and determine the factors associated with contraceptive choices among tertiary students in South East Nigeria.
Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study of sexual habits, knowledge of contraceptive methods, and patterns of contraceptive choices among a pooled sample of unmarried students from the three largest tertiary educational institutions in Enugu city, Nigeria was done. Statistical analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics at the 95% level of confidence.
Results: A total of 313 unmarried students were studied (194 males; 119 females). Their mean age was 22.5±5.1 years. Over 98% of males and 85% of females made their contraceptive choices based on information from peers. Preferences for contraceptive methods among female students were 49.2% for traditional methods of contraception, 28% for modern methods, 10% for nonpharmacological agents, and 8% for off-label drugs. Adherence to modern contraceptives among female students was 35%. Among male students, the preference for the male condom was 45.2% and the adherence to condom use was 21.7%. Multivariate analysis showed that receiving information from health personnel/media/workshops (odds ratio 9.54, 95% confidence interval 3.5–26.3), health science-related course of study (odds ratio 3.5, 95% confidence interval 1.3–9.6), and previous sexual exposure prior to university admission (odds ratio 3.48, 95% confidence interval 1.5–8.0) all increased the likelihood of adherence to modern contraceptive methods.
Conclusion: An overwhelming reliance on peers for contraceptive information in the context of poor knowledge of modern methods of contraception among young people could have contributed to the low preferences and adherence to modern contraceptive methods among students in tertiary educational institutions. Programs to reduce risky sexual behavior among these students may need to focus on increasing the content and adequacy of contraceptive information held by people through regular health worker-led, on-campus workshops.
Keywords: modern contraceptives, preference, young people, sexual behavior
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