CONTEXT: The female condom remains the only female-initiated method for preventing pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. Innovative methods for promoting its use, and for involving male partners in its use, are needed.
METHODS: A sample of 217 women and their main male sexual partners were randomly assigned to one of three study conditions: a six-session relationship-based STD prevention intervention provided to the couple together, the same intervention provided to the woman only or a single-session education control provided to the woman only. Assessments were conducted at baseline and three months postintervention. Contrast coding was used to examine whether the effects of the two active interventions differed from those of the control intervention, and whether the effects of the two active interventions differed from each other. Regression analyses were used to estimate treatment effects.
RESULTS: During follow-up, participants in either active intervention were more likely to use a female condom with their study partner and with all partners, and used female condoms at a higher rate with all partners, than individuals assigned to the control intervention; at the end of three months, they were more likely to intend to use the condom in the next 90 days. No significant differences in outcomes were found between the active intervention groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Focusing on both a woman and her main male sexual partner is efficacious in increasing female condom use and intention to use among heterosexual couples at risk for HIV and other STDs.