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Glob Health Action. 2014 Apr 10;7:22942. doi: 10.3402/gha.v7.22942. eCollection 2014.

Inconsistent condom use among Ugandan university students from a gender perspective: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

  • 1Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden;
  • 2Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.



Feminization of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been a prominent phenomenon in sub-Saharan Africa. Inconsistent condom use among young people is one of the major risk factors in the continued propagation of the epidemic. Therefore, it is of importance to increase knowledge of gender aspects of condom use among young people.


To investigate whether gender differences regarding individual and social factors determine the association between condom efficacy and inconsistent condom use with a new sex partner, among Ugandan university students.


In 2010, 1954 Ugandan students participated in a cross-sectional survey, conducted at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in southwestern Uganda. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic factors, alcohol consumption, sexual behaviors (including condom use and condom efficacy), and peer norms. The data were stratified by sex and examined by multivariate logistic regression analysis.


A total of 1,179 (60.3%) students reported having had their sexual debut. Of these, 231 (37.4%) males and 209 (49.2%) females reported inconsistent condom use with a new sex partner. Students with low condom efficacy had a higher risk of inconsistent condom use with a new sex partner, even after adjusting for the potential confounders. A synergistic effect was observed between being a female and low condom efficacy with inconsistent condom use.


The association between inconsistent condom use and low condom efficacy was found among both males and females, but females were found to be at a higher risk of inconsistent condom use compared to their male counterparts. Therefore, gender power relations should be addressed in policies and interventions aiming at increasing condom use among young people in sub-Saharan settings. Programs could be designed with intervention strategies that focus on interactive and participatory educational activities and youth-friendly counseling of young people, which in turn may improve their interpersonal communication and condom negotiation skills with their partners.


HIV; Uganda; condom efficacy; condom use; gender; peer norms

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