The large majority of women who acquire HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are in their childbearing years and are current or potential users of contraceptive methods. Using contraceptives has two main benefits; the primary benefit of preventing unplanned pregnancy and the potential secondary benefit of protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unfortunately, the contraceptive with the best records for pregnancy prevention offers little if, any protection against STIs. The study aimed at assessing the pattern of sexually transmitted infections among hormonal contraceptives and intra-uterine contraceptive devices users attending family planning clinic, University College Hospital Ibadan.
Methods This is a cross-sectional study in a population of women using Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Devices (IUCD) and hormonal contraceptive methods attending Family Planning clinics at University College Hospital, Ibadan. Detailed medical history, Endocervical and high vaginal swabs were collected from the participants to establish diagnosis after clinical examination and informed consent.
Results There were 200 participants with a mean age of 31.92 years (SD=8.33, range=16–55). The mean age of sexual debut of participants with any STI was 19.5 years. 102 (51.0%) of the women were using different methods of hormonal contraceptives while 84 (42.0 %) had intrauterine contraceptives devices inserted. About 54.5 % (109) had various STIs in both groups. The most common STI diagnosed was bacterial vaginosis (26.5%). Other STIs diagnosed were vaginal candidiasis (26.0 %), HIV (8.5%), trichomoniasis (7.5%), Chlamydia cervicitis (7.0%), syphilis (3.5%), Genital warts (3.5 %) and gonorrhoea (2.5 %). Even though bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis were diagnosed more in women with IUCD while Chlamydia cervicitis, syphilis and gonorrhoea occurred more in women using various types of hormonal contraceptives, there was no statistical relationship between the STIs and their sexual behaviours.
Conclusion Women seeking contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy are as much in need of education about prevention of STIs as much as the counselling regarding the most effective contraceptive methods. Younger age, increased numbers of sexual partners and oral mode of sexual intercourse were significantly associated with increased risk of acquiring vaginal tric.