Stages of condom use in a high HIV-risk sample

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The goals were to (1) clarify high risk individuals into one of five stages of readiness for consistent condom use based on the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change (e.g., Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente, 1994); (2) investigate whether frequency of condom use was different for vaginal vs. anal sex, and for steady vs. other partners; and (3) explore whether condom use was related to several demographic variables. Street interviews were conducted in six major geographic areas across the United States on a diverse sample of 345 individuals engaging in high HIV-risk behaviors. Percentages of individuals found in each of five stages of condom use were: 36% Precontemplators, 15% Contemplators, 7% in Preparation, 7% in Action, and 35% in Maintenance. Individuals used condoms more with other, casual partners than with a steady partner, and slightly more when engaging in anal sex rather than vaginal sex. Condoms were also used more by: men, Caucasians, non-heterosexuals, and those who were not in a steady relationship than by others not in these categories. Still, the majority of high-risk individuals were not using condoms and were not prepared to start. This presents an urgent need for effective interventions to encourage condom use.

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Psychology and Health