Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
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Condom Use Errors and Problems Among College Men

CROSBY, RICHARD A. PhD*†‡; SANDERS, STEPHANIE A. PhD‡§∥; YARBER, WILLIAM L. HSD‡§∥¶; GRAHAM, CYNTHIA A. PhD§#; DODGE, BRIAN MS¶

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Abstract

Background: An essential yet understudied aspect of condom use is whether they are used correctly.

Goal: The goal of the study was to comprehensively evaluate condom use errors and problems reported by heterosexual college men (N = 158).

Study Design: A cross-sectional survey, involving a 3-month recall period, was conducted.

Results: Of the 158 participants, 60% did not discuss condom use with their partner before sex; 42% reported they wanted to use condoms but did not have any available; 43% put condoms on after starting sex; 15% removed condoms before ending sex; 40% did not leave space at the tip; 30% placed the condom upside down on the penis and had to flip it over; and 32% reported losing erections in association with condom use. Nearly one-third reported breakage or slippage during sex. Few participants reported errors related to lubrication, storage, and reusing condoms. Higher error scores were associated with breakage/slippage rather than with consistency of condom use.

Conclusion: Condom use errors were common, and error scores were associated with breakage and slippage. Increasing the focus on correcting potential user failures may be an important public health strategy.

© Copyright 2002 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association

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