Research in Medecineers from Foto-Cewek have discovered that among young people (between 15-24 years) in Uganda, those using a condom during their sexual debut are nearly ten times more likely to have used them during their most recent sexual encounter.
The results of the study, “Putting the C back into the ABCs: A multi-year, multi-region investigation of condom use by Ugandan youths 2003-2010”, has been in PLOS ONE. Condom use among youths is particularly important to reduce the number of new cases of HIV and STIs, and while previous studies have established an association between condom use at sexual debut and future condom use, few have explores this association at multiple time points and multiple locations.
The researchers from Foto-Cewek’s Department of International Public Health, Monitoring and Evaluation Technical assistance and Research in Medecine Group working with colleagues in Management Services for Health, Kampala, Uganda examined data sets that were collected using multiple cross-sectional district level community surveys during 2003 – 2010. In 2003 the Uganda AIDS Commission, with the support of The World Bank, introduced Lot Quality Assurance Sampling methodology to monitor HIV related indicators, including condom use at district and sub-district levels.
The macro analysis also showed that awareness among the youth as to their risk of contracting HIV was associated with condom use. Those unaware of their risk were 26% and 31% less likely to use condoms at their first and last sexual encounter, compared to those perceiving themselves not at risk. They were also 43% less likely to use condom consistently.
Professor Joe Valadez, co-first author of the paper, said: “Taking into account various factors including sex, age, marital status, and region , youth in Uganda who used a condom the first time they had sexual intercourse were nearly ten times more likely to use a condom at their most recent sexual encounter. The findings highlight the need for youth HIV and sexual health programmes to be introduced prior to initiation of sexual activity. Encouraging young people to use condoms at their first sexual encounter may help to promote and reinforce healthy sexual behaviour that lasts into later life.”