Sustained Safer Behavior (Female Condom Use) in High-Risk Women to Prevent HIV and Project Supplement
This four-year study explored factors that enhance or impede initial use and long-term adoption of the female condom to prevent HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) once initial barriers to use, such as lack of information and access to free or low-cost female condoms, have been reduced. The study was conducted with high-risk urban women in Hartford, CT, where risk of HIV infection, especially among women of color, continues to be among the highest in the U.S. The study design used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. One component was a survey conducted at three time points with 575 women at intake, one month, and ten months. A second component was an ethnographic community assessment of female condom availability and cost, which was repeated four times throughout the study to monitor changes in the environment and examine how these changes might affect female condom use and adoption of time. The third component was a female condom trial in which 75 women with one of their male partners were asked to use the female condom for two weeks during their regular sexual activity and report on their experiences. Study findings indicated that many personal, sexual relationship, social network, and community factors affect women’s use of female condoms. The study also demonstrated that lack of availability and limited healthcare provider support for the female condom significantly constrain women’s uptake of this effective HIV/STI prevention method.
Margaret Weeks, Ph.D.
Coman, E.N., Weeks, M.R., Yanovitzky, I., Iordache, E., Barbour, R., Coman, M.A., Huedo-Medina, T.B. (2013) The impact of information about the female condom on female condom use among males and females from a US urban community. AIDS & Behavior, 17:2194–2201. PMID: 23212854. PMC3622782.
Weeks, M.R., Coman, E., Hilario, H., Li, J., and Abbott, M. (2013) Initial and sustained female condom use among low-income urban U.S. women. Journal of Women’s Health, 22(1):26-36. PMID23276188; PMC3546362.
Weeks, M.R., Hilario, H., Li, J., Coman, E., Abbott, M., Sylla, L., Corbett, M. and Dickson-Gomez, J. (2010) Multi-level Social Influences on Female Condom Use and Adoption Among Urban United States Women. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 24(5): 297-309. PMID: 20438372. PMC2933558.