Condom use and HIV risk behaviors among U.S. adults: data from a national survey.Fam Plann Perspect. 1999 Jan-Feb; 31(1):24-8.FP
How much condom use among U.S. adults varies by type of partner or by risk behavior is unclear. Knowledge of such differentials would aid in evaluating the progress being made toward goals for levels of condom use as part of the Healthy People 2000 initiative.
Data were analyzed from the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, an annual household-based probability sample of the noninstitutionalized population aged 12 and older that measures the use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The personal behaviors module included 25 questions covering sexual activity in the past year, frequency of condom use in the past year, circumstances of the last sexual encounter and HIV testing.
Sixty-two percent of adults reported using a condom at last intercourse outside of an ongoing relationship, while only 19% reported using condoms when the most recent intercourse occurred within a steady relationship. Within ongoing relationships, condom use was highest among respondents who were younger, black, of lower income and from large metropolitan areas. Forty percent of unmarried adults used a condom at last sex, compared with the health objective of 50% for the year 2000. Forty percent of injecting drug users used condoms at last intercourse, compared with the 60% condom use objective for high-risk individuals. Significantly, persons at increased risk for HIV because of their sexual behavior or drug use were not more likely to use condoms than were persons not at increased risk; only 22% used condoms during last intercourse within an ongoing relationship.
Substantial progress has been made toward national goals for increasing condom use. The rates of condom use by individuals at high risk of HIV need to be increased, however, particularly condom use with a steady partner.