Sexual risk-taking at home and on holidays: the importance of context for the late application of condoms.

Grainne Cousins, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Richard Layte, ESRI
Roger Ingham, University of Southamptom
Hannah Mary McGee, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

The definitive version is available on the CSIRO Publishing web site at, http://www.publish.csiro.au/sh/SH13079

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Several studies have examined condom use during 'holiday' sex but have not considered condom errors in this context. This study aims to identify factors associated with late application of condoms during participants' most recent vaginal intercourse at home and away from home (holidays or short breaks).

METHOD: Participants aged 19-30 years from a national Irish survey were recontacted (n=388; 51% men; mean age: 23.9 years). Telephone interviews regarding participants' most recent sex at home (n=362) and away from home (n=178) were conducted.

RESULTS: A higher proportion reported condom use away from home (79% v. 62%), with a lower prevalence of late application (14% v. 24%). Pregnancy prevention as the primary motive for condom use increased the odds of late application at home (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 4.56, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.10-9.90) and away (AOR: 3.97, 95% CI: 1.36-11.59). A weak desire to use a condom also increased the likelihood of late application at home (AOR: 2.40, 95% CI: 1.03-5.62) and away (AOR: 11.18, 95% CI: 2.84-43.98). Subgroup analysis of those reporting both sexual events suggests that young adults take greater sexual risks with casual partners at home compared to away.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that young adults take greater sexual risks at home than when away. Regardless of location, young adults are most likely to report late application when they have a weak desire to use a condom and when they use condoms primarily to prevent pregnancy.