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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

To use or not to use a condom: A prospective cohort study comparing contraceptive practices among HIV-infected and HIV-negative youth in Uganda

Jolly Beyeza-Kashesya12*, Frank Kaharuza1, Anna Mia Ekström2, Stella Neema3, Asli Kulane2 and Florence Mirembe1

  • * Corresponding author: Jolly Beyeza-Kashesya jbeyeza@yahoo.com

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala Uganda

2 Division of Global Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Makerere University Institute of Social Research, Kampala Uganda

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:144  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-144

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection are issues of significant concern to young people. Limited data exists on contraceptive decision-making and practices among HIV-infected and HIV-negative young people in low resource settings with generalized HIV epidemics.

Methods

From July 2007 until April 2009, we recruited, and followed up over a one year period, a cohort of 501 HIV-negative and 276 HIV-infected young women and men aged 15-24 years residing in Kampala and Wakiso districts. We compared contraceptive use among HIV-infected and HIV-negative young people and assessed factors associated with contraceptive decision-making and use, using multivariate logistic regression modelling to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results

Contraceptive use among sexually active HIV-infected young people was 34% while it was 59% among the HIV-negative group. The condom was the most frequently used method of contraception. Only 24% of the HIV-infected used condoms consistently compared to 38% among the negative group OR 0.56 (95% CI 0.38, 0.82). HIV-infected young people were more likely to discuss safe sex behaviour with health workers OR 1.70 (95% CI 1.13, 2.57), though its effect on fertility decision-making was not significant. Throughout the year's follow-up, only 24% among the HIV-negative and 18% among the HIV-infected continued to use contraception while 12% and 28% among the HIV-negative and infected respectively did not use contraception at all. At multivariate analysis, the HIV-infected young people were less likely to maintain contraceptive use. Other factors independently associated with sustained contraceptive use were age of the respondent, marital status and being a male. Conversely, HIV-infected young people were less likely to initiate use of contraception. Being married or in a relationship was associated with higher odds of initiating contraceptive use.

Conclusion

Compared to the HIV-negative group, sexually active HIV-infected young people are less likely to use contraception and condoms. Initiating or sustaining contraceptive use was also significantly less among the HIV-infected group. Strengthening family planning services and developing new innovative ideas to re-market condom use are needed. Policy and guidelines that empower health workers to help young people (especially the HIV infected) express their sexuality and reproduction should urgently be developed.