Background: A survey was conducted to evaluate the pattern of sexual behavior and contraceptive use among female students aged 15 to 24 years attending tertiary institutions in Ilorin, Nigeria.
Study design: A valid and reliable semistructured questionnaire was self-administered to a sampled population of 600 students aged 15 to 24 years.
Results: Of the 600 students, 562 (93.7%) completed the questionnaire. Most (98.6%) of the respondents were unmarried, 77.6% have had sexual intercourse, 67.8% have had an unwanted pregnancy while 63.5% have had induced abortion. All the respondents were aware of contraceptives, but only 25.4% have ever used any contraceptive method. The most common sources of information about contraception among the respondents were friends/relatives (73.7%), while the fear of side effects of modern contraceptives was the most common reason (77.5%) for nonuse.
Conclusion: The fear of side effects is the main reason for low contraceptive prevalence among young female students of tertiary institutions in Ilorin. Reproductive health services should focus more on delivery of adequate and accurate information about contraceptives to improve use among young women.