Background Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are a major

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are a major health problem affecting young people in
both developed and developing countries. The problem with most STDs is that they occur
symptom-free and thus can be transmitted unawares through unprotected sexual intercourse.
Females of child-bearing age are at a higher risk of contracting STDs compared to their male
counterparts mostly because of their anatomic structure and also because their partners are
generally older. There has been a declining age of first sexual intercourse and this can be the
cause of increase in the numbers STDs. Most youths start becoming sexually active as early as
age 16 years hence increasing the probability of having various sexual partners. Another reason
forthe rise of STDs isthe reluctance of young adults to use condoms.
This survey was conducted in order to explore the awareness and knowledge of university
students in UON on STDs. This will help identify differences in awareness and knowledge by
demographic and other variables and what intervention steps may need to be undertaken. The
results would also help point out areas where STDs communication needs to be improved.
To survey the level of knowledge, attitude and information seeking behavior of non- medical
students as pertains to STDs.
Survey conducted at the University of Nairobi main campus halls of residence. The study
population includes first to fourth yearnon- medical students of academic year 2013/2014.
Study design was a cross sectional descriptive study. A semi-structured questionnaire identifying
socio-demographic characteristics, sexual patterns, mode of transmission and knowledge and
prevention of STDs was administered to 288 non-medical university students.
Majority of the students had heard about STDs but they had inadequate information. The most
known STDs were HIV1AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis, with the females being more
knowledgeable compared to their male counterparts. They had knowledge on the general
symptoms of these infections with only 70% being able to identify specific symptoms of
HIV/AIDS.85.42% of the males and 60.42% of the female were sexually active with the mean
age of first sexual encounter being 16.96forthe males and 19.28for the females. Knowledge on
prevention was high(>80%) but this was not reflected in their sexual behavior with the females
having a higher percentage of inconsistent condom use (50.57%) and males having multiple
sexual partners(36.84%).
More than 90% of the respondents knew that those who engage in unprotected sex were at risk of
contracting STDs and the females (72.92%) knew that STDs are treatable.
Internet, teachers, peer groups and mass media are the main ways by which students learn about
STDs and more females than males' students got information from their parents.