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Consistent condom use in the heterosexual relationships of young adults who live in a high-HIV-risk neighbourhood and do not use "hard drugs"

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This study was set up to determine the predictors of condom use in the heterosexual non-commercial sexual relationships of young adults who neither inject drugs nor use cocaine, heroin or crack, in a neighbourhood with widespread drug-use-connected HIV. The analytic sample is 279 young adults, aged 18-24, who have never injected drugs and who have not used heroin, cocaine or crack in the last year. They were recruited in the Bushwick neighbourhood of New York City, July 1997 to September 1999. A face-to-face interview included items about their sociodemographic background, substance use and sexual networks. Sexual relationship and self-reported consistent (100%) condom use over the prior year with the partner in a given relationship was examined. Subjects had 337 heterosexual non-commercial relationships. Consistent condom use was reported in 32% of these relationships. In multiple logistic regression, consistent condom use was more likely in relationships that are not 'very close' (odds ratio = 3.92; 95% confidence interval = 2.08, 7.52); in the relationships of subjects whose peer norms support condom use (OR = 1.94; 95% CI = 1.43, 2.69), who are not problem drinkers (OR = 8.70; 95% CI = 2.22, 58.8), and (perhaps as a result of measurement issues) who are men (OR = 1.95; 95% CI = 1.04, 3.68). In conclusion, consistent condom use remains uncommon among youth in this high-risk neighbourhood. It is thus important to keep HIV from entering the sexual networks of youth in communities like this through programmes aimed at drug injectors and their sexual partners. Programmes to increase condom use among young adults should focus on strengthening norms that promote safer sex to protect oneself and others. In addition, assistance should be provided to youth who are problem drinkers.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York, USA 2: National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA 3: National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, USA 4: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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