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Condom-use errors and problems among teens attending clinics: better or worse than young adults?

Authors Crosby R, Charnigo, Shrier

Received 24 December 2011

Accepted for publication 24 January 2012

Published 5 March 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 17—22

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJC.S26440

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3


Richard Crosby1–3, Richard J Charnigo1, Lydia A Shrier4

1College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA; 2Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA; 3The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Bloomington, IN, USA; 4Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA

Objectives: To compare the frequency of condom-use errors and problems between teens (15–19 years of age) and young adults (20–24 years of age) attending clinics. Also, to assess whether the odds of experiencing condom failure were influenced by age group, gender, and motives for condom use.
Methods: As part of a larger study of condom effectiveness, youth (15–24 years of age) from five clinics, in three US cities, were recruited (N = 263). Data were prospectively collected using daily electronic diaries. For each episode of condom use with penile–vaginal sex, youths were asked to respond to questions assessing seven errors and five problems in condom use. Data analyses entailed statistical modeling with generalized estimating equations.
Results: Teens did not significantly differ from their older counterparts on any of the seven condom-use errors or any of the five condom-use problems. Of all condom-use events, teens reported that 20% did not involve condom use from start-to-finish of sex, 14.7% involved a condom that had dried out, 8.1% involved rushed application, 6.7% did not involve adequate lubrication, and other errors and problems occurred less often. Further, condom failure was not predicted by age group, gender, or motive for using condoms. Significant interaction effects were not observed.
Conclusions: Several forms of condom-use errors/problems occurred with similar frequency when comparing teens and young adults, suggesting a need to intervene to improve condom-use behavior regardless of age.

Keywords: condoms, teens, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual behavior

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