Background: While STD messages have resulted in increased condom utilization at sexual debut, contraceptive usage shifts towards pills once young people transition into longer relationships. Little is known, however, about how predictive stopping of condoms during first partnership is of subsequent use with next partner.
Methods: This study uses a French national survey conducted in 2010 comprising a random sample of 2,611 young people ages 15 to 29. This analysis uses the 1,834 heterosexual participants who reported more than one intercourse and their condom usage with their first two partners. Outcome measures are condom use and discontinuation in first relationship as well as condom use at first sex with second partner. Socio-demographic and family variables were used as controls in multiple logistic regressions.
Results: A total of 92% of respondents reported condom use at first intercourse, while 81% used condoms at first sex with second partner (p<0.001). The odds of condom use with second partner were 4.7 (CI: 2.9-7.9) times greater if condoms were used at very first sex. Nearly 30% of respondents stopped condom usage before the end of their first partnership, with gender and relationship length being the most significant predictors (p<.05). The odds of condom use with second partner were reduced by 20% when condoms were discontinued during first partnerships (OR=0.8, CI: 0.7-1.0). Educational level, gender, and immigration status were also significant correlates in all models suggesting important social inequities in condom use.
Conclusions: Important in the STD context, we found significant declines in condom use during early sexual life, with non-use at first sex and discontinuation within first partnership both strong predictor of non-usage with second partner. Results also suggest persistent social inequalities in use of condoms over time as women, those with lower education, and immigrants were all less likely to use condoms at any point.