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Background

For substance abuse treatment-seekers engaging in high risk sexual behavior, their inconsistent condom use may be related to their condom use attitudes and skills.

Objective

This study compared treatment-seeking male and female substance abusers in their reported barriers to condom use and condom use skills.

Methods

Men and women (N = 1,105) enrolled in two multi-site HIV risk reduction studies were administered the Condom Barriers Scale, Condom Use Skills, and an audio computer-assisted structured interview assessing sexual risk behavior.

Results

Men endorsed more barriers to condom use, especially on the Effects on Sexual Experience factor. For both men and women, stronger endorsement of barriers to condom use was associated with less use of condoms. However, the difference between condom users and non-users in endorsement of condom barriers in general is greater for men than women, especially for those who report having casual partners.

Conclusions

Findings support the need to focus on gender-specific barriers to condom use in HIV/STI prevention interventions, especially risk behavior intervention techniques that address sexual experience with condoms.

Scientific Significance

Results provide additional information about the treatment and prevention needs of treatment-seeking men and women. (Am J Addict 2013;22:150-157)