|Title||Condom use: exploring verbal and non-verbal communication strategies among Latino and African American men and women.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Zukoski, AP, Harvey, SM, Branch, M|
|Date Published||2009 Aug|
A growing body of literature provides evidence of a link between communication with sexual partners and safer sexual practices, including condom use. More research is needed that explores the dynamics of condom communication including gender differences in initiation, and types of communication strategies. The overall objective of this study was to explore condom use and the dynamics surrounding condom communication in two distinct community-based samples of African American and Latino heterosexual couples at increased risk for HIV. Based on 122 in-depth interviews, 80% of women and 74% of men reported ever using a condom with their primary partner. Of those who reported ever using a condom with their current partner, the majority indicated that condom use was initiated jointly by men and women. In addition, about one-third of the participants reported that the female partner took the lead and let her male partner know she wanted to use a condom. A sixth of the sample reported that men initiated use. Although over half of the respondents used bilateral verbal strategies (reminding, asking and persuading) to initiate condom use, one-fourth used unilateral verbal strategies (commanding and threatening to withhold sex). A smaller number reported using non-verbal strategies involving condoms themselves (e.g. putting a condom on or getting condoms). The results suggest that interventions designed to improve condom use may need to include both members of a sexual dyad and focus on improving verbal and non-verbal communication skills of individuals and couples.