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AIDS Educ Prev. 1998 Aug;10(4):293-302.

Measuring condom use: asking "do you or don't you" isn't enough.

Author information

1
Family Health International, Durham, NC, USA.

Abstract

This article compares cross-sectional measures of condom use among 2,269 female sex workers in Cameroon randomly assigned to receive one of five different questionnaires measuring condom use. We found that the level of reported condom use varied depending on the type of survey questions used. Measures based on 2-week coital logs or the past 10 acts categorized more women as "100%" or "0%" users than always-to-never scales categorized women as "always" or "never" users. Consistency of use also varied by type of partner. Internal consistency of responses was high. Future studies should assess differences in prospective measures of condom use and the level of association between various measures and infection with sexually transmitted disease.

PIP:

Three methods of measuring condom use among a cross-sectional sample of 2269 female sex workers in Cameroon are compared with regard to the differences in the distribution of use. The methods compared are: 1) reported frequency of use, employing questions with always-to-never response scales; 2) calculated percentage of use based on questions asking for the number of acts protected by condoms during the last act, the last 5 acts, and the last 10 acts; and 3) percentage of coital acts protected by condoms as reported in a retrospective coital act log. The findings showed that the type of survey questions used to obtain the data influenced the levels of reported condom use. Measures based on 2-week coital logs or the past 10 acts categorized women as "100%" or "0%" users more frequently than always-to-never scales categorized women as "always" or "never" users. The type of partner also affected the data on consistency of use. Internal consistency of responses was high. Comparison of the differences in prospective measures of condom use should be taken up in future studies. The association between various measures and infection with sexually transmitted diseases should also be evaluated.

PMID:
9721382
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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