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Cult Health Sex. 2014;16(5):575-86. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.883642. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Perspectives on condom breakage: a qualitative study of female sex workers in Bangalore, India.

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a Karnataka Health Promotion Trust , Bangalore , India.


A qualitative study was conducted to obtain a detailed understanding of two key determinants of condom breakage - 'rough sex' and poor condom fit - identified in a recent telephone survey of female sex workers, in Bangalore, India. Transcripts from six focus-group discussions involving 35 female sex workers who reported condom breakage during the telephone survey were analysed. Rough sex in different forms, from over-exuberance to violence, was often described by sex workers as a result of clients' inebriation and use of sexual stimulants, which, they report, cause tumescence, excessive thrusting and sex that lasts longer than usual, thereby increasing the risk of condom breakage. Condom breakage in this setting is the result of a complex set of social situations involving client behaviours and power dynamics that has the potential to put the health and personal lives of sex workers at risk. These findings and their implications for programme development are discussed.


India; condom breakage; female sex workers; rough sex; sexual stimulants

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