oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Sexual practices among male undergraduate students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : original research

Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose a serious public health concern in South Africa. Young adults are continuously at higher risk of STIs and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and also unwanted pregnancies than the general public, because of their higher levels of sexual experimentation and unsafe sexual practices. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to establish sexual practices of male undergraduate students in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A total of 361 students were selected by multi-stage sampling methods and completed the self-administered questionnaire. The mean age of the students was 21.77±2.78 years. Of the respondents, 65.7% were sexually active and among them 55.3% had multiple sexual partners in the previous 12 months. The majority (92.0%) of the students used contraceptives and 97.2% of them used condoms. More than a third (36.2%) of the respondents used contraceptives sometimes or rarely during sex. Among sexually active students, 12.2% reported having been diagnosed with an STI. With regard to substance use, 21.0% and 9.4% drank alcohol and used drugs, respectively. Sexually active students were 2.3 times (OR=2.3, p<0.001) more likely to drink alcohol than those who were not sexually active. Also, students having multiple sexual partners were twice as likely to drink alcohol compared to those who did not have multiple partners (OR=2.0, p=0.012). Use of drugs was not associated with being sexually active or not (p=0.090), and having multiple partners was not related to having sex under the influence of drugs (p=0.157). A large number of male students engage in risky sexual in this institution. Thus it is necessary to modify social and educational activities to improve understanding of the consequences of unsafe sexual behaviour.

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