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Condom use, risk perception, and HIV knowledge: a comparison across sexes in Nigeria

Jul 9, 2014

Background: This paper analyzes how different types of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) knowledge influences condom use across the sexes.

Methods: The empirical work was based on a household survey conducted among 1979 households of a representative group of stallholders in Lagos, Nigeria in 2008. Condom use during last sexual intercourse was analyzed using a multivariate model corrected for clustering effects. The data included questions on socioeconomic characteristics, knowledge of the existence of HIV, HIV prevention, HIV stigma, intended pregnancy, and risk perceptions of engaging in unprotected sex.

Results: A large HIV knowledge gap between males and females was observed. Across the sexes, different types of knowledge are important in condom use. Low-risk perceptions of engaging in unprotected sex and not knowing that condoms prevent HIV infection appear to be the best predictors for risky sexual behavior among men. For females, stigma leads to lower condom use. Obviously, lack of knowledge on where condoms are available (9.4% and 29.1% of male and female respondents, respectively) reduced condom use in both males and females.

Conclusion: The results call for programmatic approaches to differentiate between males and females in the focus of HIV prevention campaigns. Moreover, the high predictive power of high-risk perceptions of engaging in unprotected sex (while correcting for other HIV knowledge indicators) calls for further exploration on how to influence these risk perceptions in HIV prevention programs.

Keywords: Africa, condom, males, females, HIV/AIDS, knowledge, prevention, risk perception

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Author: Lammers, Judith, van Wijnbergen, Sweder JG, Willebrands, Daan

Date: October 2013


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