Objective: To find out more about sexual and reproductive behaviour in male and female student nurses and midwives in Bulawayo.
Design: Anonymous self administered questionnaire.
Setting: Schools of Nursing Mpilo and Bulawayo Central Hospitals.
Subjects: Three hundred and twenty four students, student nurses (n = 99) and student midwives (n = 225).
Main outcome measures: Preferred family size, enjoyment and frequency of sexual behaviour, induced abortion, masturbation, pre- and extramarital sex and HIV risk.
Results: Male student nurses have far more pre- and extramarital sexual contacts than their female counterparts. Of the married females 67% had only ever had one sexual partner, (this figure was 15% in married males) and 33%, suspect or know that their husband has another sexual partner sometimes.
Conclusion: Promiscuity is rare in female student nurses. Their risk factors, if any, related to HIV infection are mainly caused by their partners' pre- and extramarital behaviour. HIV testing of these partners is their only realistic hope of reducing their risk. The enjoyment of heterosexual activity is like that in Western Countries although it starts at a later age.