Comparison of Consistent and Infrequent Condom Users Among University Students in Thohoyandou, South Africa
Dana Kiernan & Neeka Nazari
Sexual and reproductive health affects an individual's ability to live a healthy and safe sexual life. Many factors influence sexual health and relationships, including societal and familial values, religion, social determinants, gender, and socioeconomic status. This paper addresses condom use as an avenue to sexual health among female university students in Limpopo, South Africa, at the University of Venda (UNIVEN).
Using both a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews, we looked for systematic differences between participants who reported consistent condom use and those who reported infrequent condom use.
Of the 38 female participants, 20 were sexually active. Seven reported consistent condom use, and 13 reported inconsistent use. We did not find statistically significant differences between the two groups, likely due to the small and relatively homogenous sample. However, participants’ responses pointed to cultural and societal factors that impact condom use. These factors include gender inequality and power dynamics within relationships, perceived negative views of condom use in long-term relationships, views on safe sex in long-term relationships, and the threat of violence in relationships. Discussion Though our research focused on women, any policy or intervention developed to promote consistent and sustained condom use in long-term relationships should also include men, as men play a critical role in disrupting or improving women’s current social standing, and increasing equality within relationships.