Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increase transmission of HIV. Vulnerability and sequelae are attributable to biological susceptibility and behavioural factors including sexual practices and health-care seeking behaviour. The aim was to document sexual risk and protective behaviours of the general population in Lagos State.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 300 people in 10 randomly selectedLGAs in Lagos State was carried out using interviewer-administered questionnaires for knowledge, attitude and practice of STIs. Results were presented as frequencies, means and modes in tables or charts as appropriate. Tests of significance using chi-square and comparison of means were also used.
Results: Cronbach alpha determination put reliability of the instrument at 0.86. Only 293 questionnaires were retrieved giving a response rate of 97.7%. Males accounted for 63.8% of the respondents and the modal age group was 21 to 25 years. About a third of the respondents (35.8%) had poor knowledge of gonorrhoea and its consequences. Only 8.5% have had gonorrhoea before. About 21% did not believe that gonorrhoea can be prevented. Sixty percent of the respondents said they use condoms with eight of them re-using the condoms (all between 15 to 35 years of age and mainly due to cost considerations). Only about 52% of the respondents indicate that they have one sexual partner currently while 68% of them have had more than two lifetime partners. Statistically significant differences exist between sex and age range of the respondents and use of condoms, number of partners ever and those that have suffered from gonorrhoea before.
Conclusions: It is concluded that risk for STIs in Lagos is high as sexual protective behaviours are inadequate and about a quarter believing gonorrhoea cannot be prevented. Public enlightenment campaigns using various media should be embarked upon to enhance awareness of the risks they are exposing themselves to.