AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1044–1053 | Cite as

The Measurement of Condom Use in Four Countries in East and Southern Africa

  • Heidi W. Reynolds
  • Winnie K. Luseno
  • Ilene S. Speizer
Original Paper


Measurement of condom use is important to assess progress in increasing use. Since 2003, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and AIDS Indicator Surveys (AIS) have included new measures of self-reported condom use. We use data from Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia to compare measures of condom use accounting for type of sexual partner. Condom use at last sex ranged from 20% in Tanzania to 57% in Namibia for men, and from 12% in Tanzania to 41% in Namibia for women. Reported condom use was lower in response to questions about condom use every time with last partner (from 13 to 47% for men and from 8 to 33% for women). Condom use was highest among people with two or more partners in the last year and lowest with marital partners. Overall, the prevalence of condom use was low, and there was wide variability across the various measures, countries, sexes, and types of partner. Promotion of condom use in all partnerships, but especially in non-marital relationships and among individuals with multiple partners, remains a critical strategy. New condom use questions in the DHS and AIS expand options for measuring and studying condom use.


Condoms/utilization Eastern and Southern Africa Measurement Sexual behavior 



We gratefully acknowledge the early input by Svetlana Negroustoueva with ICF International and by Chris Deery to the Tanzania analyses. Thank you to Abby Cannon, Elizabeth Sutherland, and James Thomas for the thoughtful reviews and comments on the manuscript. Funding for this paper was provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the MEASURE Evaluation project and cooperative agreement GHA-A-00-08-00003-00. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi W. Reynolds
    • 1
  • Winnie K. Luseno
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ilene S. Speizer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.MEASURE Evaluation Project, Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)Chapel Hill CenterChapel HillUSA

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