The purpose of this study is to investigate the knowledge, practices, and attitudes among female university students in South Africa regarding emergency contraceptives (EC).
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 582 female university students who were selected using multi-stage sampling techniques. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to find significant predictors for EC awareness.
The average age of the female students was 20.9 years (SD = 3.0) and 57.2% were presently sexually active. Overall, 49.8% of the participants reported having heard about EC prior to the study. Regarding sexual activities among the female students, 53.2% reported to have sex, and 21.2% of the sexually experienced students used EC prior to the study. Regarding the effectiveness of EC, 29.5% students said it could be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse, and 8% said it could be used just before sex. About two-thirds (61.8%) would recommend the use of EC and 63.2% would use it if they needed. The multivariate analysis indicated that students who were older (>20 years), presently sexually active, and living with their parents were more likely to be aware of EC (p<0.05).
The students’ knowledge and utilization of EC were low. Health education and promotion should be targeted towards these students, and the EC services should be offered on campus.