oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Contraceptive use and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among women seeking termination of pregnancy at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal : original research
Termination of pregnancy (TOP) is one of the components of female reproductive health and rights that are freely available in South Africa within the public health system, and yet unwanted pregnancies still remain a challenge. The objectives of this study were to determine the level of knowledge and use of contraceptive methods among women seeking TOP services and to evaluate the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections in this group of women. This population-based study was conducted at Northdale Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Four hundred and ninety-seven women seeking TOP were interviewed over a period of six months, using a structured questionnaire. The mean age of the women was 25 years. The majority of the participants were black Africans (n = 424, 85.3%,) and single (n = 423, 85%), respectively. Most participants (n = 354, 71%) were unemployed, having obtained a secondary school education level. The majority (n = 420, 84.5%) indicated that they had previously used some form of contraception. However, condom use was used by only 18% (n = 78). The HIV prevalence among women requesting TOP was 39%. Nearly half of the participants (45.9%) had abnormal vaginal discharge and 50% of those who had tested for syphilis received an abnormal result. This study reinforces the need to intensify sexual and reproductive health programmes among women seeking TOP.
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