To better understand trends in sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, specifically low prevalence of condom use with temporary partners, the aim of this study was to examine factors associated with condom use and perceptions of STI risk amongst individuals at risk, with the underlying assumption that STI risk perceptions and STI prevention behaviors are correlated.
A national population-based survey on human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexual habits of young adults aged 18–30 was conducted in Sweden in 2007, with 1712 men and 8855 women participating. Regression analyses stratified by gender were performed to measure condom use with temporary partners and STI risk perception.
Men’s condom use was not associated with STI risk perception while women’s was. Awareness of and disease severity perceptions were not associated with either condom use or risk perception though education level correlated with condom use. Women’s young age at sexual debut was associated with a higher risk of non-condom use later in life (OR 1.95 95% CI: 1.46–2.60). Women with immigrant mothers were less likely to report seldom/never use of condoms with temporary partners compared to women with Swedish-born mothers (OR 0.53 95% CI: 0.37–0.77). Correlates to STI risk perception differ substantially between sexes. Number of reported temporary partners was the only factor associated for both men and women with condom use and STI risk perception.
Public health interventions advocating condom use with new partners could consider employing tactics besides those which primarily aim to increase knowledge or self-perceived risk if they are to be more effective in STI reduction. Gender-specific prevention strategies could be effective considering the differences found in this study.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 2-June-2011
Author(s): Leval A., Sundström K., Ploner A., Arnheim Dahlström L., Widmark C., Sparén P.