Background: Incorrect condom use is a common problem that can undermine their prevention impact. We assessed the prevalence of 2 condom use problems, breakage/slippage and partial use, compared problems by partnership type, and examined associations with respondent, partner, and partnership characteristics.
Methods: Data were collected at 3-month intervals during a 12-month period (1999–2000) among urban sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic users. Condom use problems were compared between partnership types using z tests for equality of proportions. Logistic generalized estimating equations modeling accounted for within-participant correlation of repeated measures.
Results: Overall 3297 respondents reported 9304 main and 6793 non-main partnerships; condoms were used at least once in 4942 (53.0%) and 4523 (66.6%) of these partnerships, respectively. Condom breakage/slippage was reported during 6.0% of uses (5.1% main, 9.4% non-main) and partial use during 12.5% of uses (12.8% main, 11.5% non-main). The proportion of respondents experiencing any condom use problem in the prior 3 months was higher among main compared with non-main partnerships: 39.1% versus 29.9% had either problem; 22.5% versus 19.0% had breakage/slippage only; 21.8% versus 18.7% had partial use; and 8.7% versus 7.1% had both use problems. In multivariable analysis, factors associated with condom use problems varied by partnership type and respondent sex. The most common predictors of problems across models were sex while high and inconsistent condom use.
Conclusions: This study highlights the diverse set of risk factors for condom use problems at the individual, partner, and partnerships levels.