Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years are both the most at risk of HIV and the greatest hope for turning the tide against HIV/AIDS. Although various surveys have been done on sexual behaviour of youth in Ethiopia, studies assessing the effect of emergency oral contraceptives on condom utilization of university students are lacking.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in two major universities of Ethiopia from January to May 2011 using structured self administered questionnaire with the aim to assess the effect of introducing oral emergency contraceptive pills on condom utilization and sexual risk taking behaviours among female university students. Study participants were selected by simple random sampling using the list from the associate registrars of each University. Data were entered, cleaned and analyzed using SPSS version 17.0. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with condom utilization.
a total of 623 students out of 660 were included giving response rate of 94.4%. A total of 103(16.5%) had history of sexual intercourse and nearly half (45.6%) of them had sex before the age of 20 years. Forty (6.4%) students had history of sexually transmitted infections (STI). Sixty seven percent of students had heard about emergency oral contraceptives. One hundred and ninety one (45.7%) of students believe that EOC is effective in preventing pregnancy. Believing that EOC is effective in preventing pregnancy (adjusted Odds ratio, AOR = 0.22 95% CI 0.06, 0.87), condom prevents STI (AOR = 10.37, 95% CI 1.73, 62.24) and younger age below 20 years (AOR = 11.68 95% CI 1.25, 109.19) were statistically significantly associated with condom use.
a significant number of students had history of sexual intercourse and used emergency contraception. The belief in the effectiveness of EOC negatively affects condom use. The preference for the pill may make teenagers less prepared to practice STI protective behaviours in specific situations. Therefore, there is an urgent need to educate young people in universities about reproductive health and family planning and skills on how to prevent HIV/STIs including unwanted pregnancy.