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Condom Use Among South African University Students in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal

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Abstract

South Africa has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with young people particularly affected. Condoms are an effective preventative method against HIV among sexually active adults. This study assessed the level of condom usage among university students in South Africa and their attitudes towards condom usage, negotiation efficacy and confidence in condom usage. It was a cross-sectional study conducted amongst South African university students living at the university residences. Students were randomly selected and required to complete a self-administered questionnaire. The mean age of participants (n = 441) was 22.7 ± 4.3 years. The mean age of sexual debut was 17.7 ± 3.0 years with 1.4 ± 1.47 (range 0–13) current partners. Less than half of the students used a condom at sexual debut and only 28.5% used condoms during recent sexual activity. Those students who used a condom at first sexual intercourse had marginally more positive attitudes about condom usage than those who did not do so (p = 0.056). Students with a single current partner had more positive attitudes about condom usage than those with multiple current partners (p = 0.021). Only 32.5% (n = 127) of the students were very confident in using condoms. Similarly, only 33.0% (n = 130) of the participants felt that they could definitely negotiate condom use with their partners. We conclude that condom use among South African students is low and that they lack the confidence to use condoms. We recommend that programmes to step up condom use must also incorporate educational interventions on usage.

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Acknowledgements

This work is based on research support by the National Research Foundation of South Africa for the grant, Unique Grant No. 99315. The researchers thank Dr. E. Taylor, Mr. S. Mpangase and Ms. K. Khumalo for assisting with the data collection. We also thank Ms. G. Zondi and Ms. R. Sanjit for administrative assistance. We are grateful to all the students who participated in the study.

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Correspondence to Firoza Haffejee.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Durban University of Technology Institutional Research Ethics Committee (IREC 084/16).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

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Haffejee, F., Koorbanally, D. & Corona, R. Condom Use Among South African University Students in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. Sexuality & Culture 22, 1279–1289 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-018-9523-5

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