Experts say that the use of sexual performance-enhancing drugs is an emerging public health issue that requires a university-wide health advocacy campaign to stop among unmarried students in Nigerian universities.
In a new study, researchers said 39.6 per cent of unmarried students in a survey at the University of Port Harcourt have used performance-enhancing drugs at least once and more males take the drugs than females (71.8 per cent).
According to the study, the most commonly used drugs are tramadol (33.5 %) and viagra (29.9%); about 8.9 % of those using performance-enhancing drugs do not use condoms and both males and females reported headaches (23.4 %) and abdominal cramps (19.6 per cent) lasting for more than 24 hours.
The study, based on an online descriptive cross-sectional study that involved 340 male and female students of the University of Port Harcourt from March to May 2022, said there was no significant association between the use of performance-enhancing drugs and school grade points, but anxiety, orgasmic dysfunction and low sexual desires were significant determinants of those that were likely to use these drugs.
Dr Hanson Pepple, one of the authors of the study presented at the 2nd edition of the Ibadan Public Health Conference, said while many think performance-enhancing drugs are the solution to sexual dysfunction, their use is associated with several health issues.
Dr Pepple said a lot of mismanagement in the media has led to many youths being misled about the effects of performance-enhancing drugs.
According to him, “we were interested in safe sex as well as good sexual and reproductive health. We wanted to have a picture of awareness of the adverse effect of the use of sexual performance-enhancing drugs because many get to use them without knowing the implications.
“The proportion we found is consistent with what is happening in the general population, meaning that it is a problem in all age groups. The side effects of performance-enhancing drug, in its most severe form, include rage, antisocial and violent behaviour as well as lack of sexual intimacy among the two partners.”