Background: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are very prevalent among young men and women, particularly in urban areas. To date, the primary prevention activity to reduce STIs among sexually active men and women is consistent condom use. However consistent condom use, in contrast to other forms of contraception such as IUDs, hormonally-based birth control pills, long-term injectable contraception and emergency contraception, requires consent and participation from both sexual partners.
Methods: The aims of this project are to determine the sexual partner relationship dynamics and the individual factors surrounding inconsistent condom use among young, sexually active men and women seeking care at the Locust Street Planned Parenthood Health Center for STI testing and/or treatment. We are interested in examining if the length of the sexual relationship, the exclusivity of the sexual relationship, the other types of contraception used, physical or emotional violence in the relationship, or any pregnancy coercion or reproductive control behaviors predict inconsistent condom use. In addition, we are interested in assessing individual factors that may be related to inconsistent condom use such as low self-esteem, low sexual self-efficacy, depressive symptoms, or a history of violence.
Results: Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted among sexually active men and women in long-term relationships and among sexually active women and men with multiple partners seen at the Center. Initial focus group results identified several factors related to consistent condom use including longer duration of an intimate relationship, higher self-esteem and higher levels of sexual self-efficacy.
Conclusions: The results from this project will provide useful information to identify the factors most strongly involved with inconsistent condom use among young, sexually active men and women. These findings will inform interventions and/or the design of health-related materials to promote consistent condom use among young, urban men and women.