Sexual interaction between students may be different in co-educational (CE) and non co-educational (NCE) schools. The objective was to compare sexual behaviour and knowledge of prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among senior secondary school students in CE and NCE institutions in Ibadan. A comparative cross sectional study was carried out using a multi-stage sampling technique. There were 510 respondents; 250 from CE schools and 260 from NCE. We used semi-structured self administered questionnaires which included a 30-point STI knowledge scale with scores classified as good and poor. χ2 statistics was significant at p<0.05. The mean age of respondents was 15.9±1.5 years, 47.5% were girls. The main sources of sex education were parents (44%) and teacher (30.8%). There were no significant differences between the two types of schools. Significantly higher proportion of girls in CE schools have had one sexual intercourse with the opposite sex (25.6%-CE, 12.4%-NCE) and had multiple sexual partners (29.0%-CE, 0%-NCE) compared with girls in NCE schools. Girls in NCE schools had significantly better knowledge of causes and prevention of STIs than those in CE schools (28.8%-CE, 45.5%-NCE). There were no significant differences in the sexual behaviour and knowledge of causes and prevention of STIs among boys in the two types of schools. More girls in CE schools have had sexual intercourse compared to NCE schools whereas girls in NCE schools had better knowledge on sexually transmitted infections than those in CE schools. There is a need for strategies to increase reproductive health education in schools, particularly in CE schools.
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