Determining knowledge, attitudes and use of female condoms among male medical students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.
Mthembu, Nobuhle Lindekile.
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Determining knowledge, attitudes and use of female condoms among male medical students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban The HIV and AIDS epidemics have been identified as international key health challenges. Heterosexual transmission is the predominant mode of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.Women account for more than half of all infected adults in Africa. Prevention remains one of the most crucial steps in controlling the HIV epidemic. With men remaining dominant over women when it comes to sexual health issues, the need to increase their uptake of all available barrier methods has been recognized. While other female initiated HIV prevention technologies such as vaginal microbicides, are in the process of being developed, the female condom is a protection option which is already available. The purpose of this study was to determine knowledge, attitudes and behavioural practices associated with the use of the female condom as a barrier contraceptive method among first, second and third year male medical students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban. A purposive sampling method was used to extract a sample from male medical students attending the Nelson R. Mandela Medical School campus during 2010. One hundred and twenty nine male medical students participated in the study, (First year n=55, second year n=40 and third year n=34). Information was elicited using a self-administered questionnaire. This included demographic information as well as questions relating to sexual risk level. Students were then asked questions to elicit their knowledge about female condoms, where they could access these; whether they had used a female condom before; and their experiences with and views about female condoms. Results from the study data revealed that most male medical students have heard of and seen a female condom (98% and 96% respectively); however there is low uptake on the usage (7%). Although most perceptions expressed about the female condom were negative, 51% of students reported they would be willing to try the method in the future. Attention needs to be directed to interventions focusing on wide national promotion of and education about female initiated innovations especially female condoms. Female condom promotion should be aimed at young males as their cooperation is crucial in this exercise.
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