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Cult Health Sex. 2005 May;7(3):293-302.

Obstacles to condom use among secondary school students in Maputo city, Mozambique.

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Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


This study explores how urban youth in Mozambique perceive their sexual behaviour and identifies the factors that hinder them from having safer sex in the context of HIV/AIDS, with special emphasis on the condom use. Data was collected form high school students in Maputo, Mozambique. Using a combination of focus group discussions, interviews and informal conversations, it was possible to identify that one major obstacle to the use of condoms was young people's belief that they did not have to use condoms in steady relationships built on love and trust. Trust and love provide a sense of immunity to infection. Such a perception is reinforced, it is argued, by previous HIV/AIDS campaigns in Mozambique that have advocated the use of condoms only with 'occasional sexual partners'. Students' understandings of pleasure, lack of accurate information, lack of sex education at home and at school, and gender inequalities further contribute to making condom use a difficult issue. There should be a change in focus in condom campaigns. Efforts should also be made to encourage young people to 'emotionally invest' in their health by using condoms.

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