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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Patterns of knowledge and condom use among population groups: results from the 2005 Ethiopian behavioral surveillance surveys on HIV

Getnet M Kassie1*, Damen H Mariam1 and Amy O Tsui2

Author Affiliations

1 Addis Ababa University, School of Public Health, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Baltimore, MD, USA

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:429  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-429

Published: 31 December 2008



Behavioral surveys help interpret the magnitude of HIV/AIDS. We analyzed indicators of knowledge on HIV/AIDS and condom use among sub populations selected for behavioral surveillance in Ethiopia.


We used 2005 HIV/AIDS behavioral data from ten target groups. These were female sex workers, defense forces, police force, pastoralists, truck drivers, intercity bus drivers, road construction workers, teachers, factory workers and people in ANC catchment areas.


Data from 14,524 individuals were analyzed. The majority were males (63.6%). Overall, knowledge of the three preventive methods, misconceptions and comprehensive knowledge was 57%, 75% and 18.5%, respectively. Female sex workers and the defense force showed some behavioral change in using a condom during the most recent sexual encounter and consistently used a condom with non-regular sexual partners and paying partners. Women, pastoralists and the illiterate were less likely to use condom.


Misconceptions about the transmission of HIV were high and comprehensive knowledge about HIV & AIDS was low, particularly among pastoralists. Consistent condom use and condom use during the last sexual encounter were high among both female sex workers and defense force employees, both with paying and non-regular sexual partners. This might be a positive sign, though a considerable proportion in each target group did not report using a condom during sex with non-regular partners.