Objectives: This study evaluated a behavioral intervention designed to promote female condoms and reduce unprotected sex among women at high risk for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Methods: The effect of the intervention on barrier use was evaluated with a pretest-posttest design with 1159 female STD clinic patients.
Results: Among participants with follow-up data, 79% used the female condom at least once and often multiple times. More than one third of those who completed the study used female condoms throughout follow-up. Use of barrier protection increased significantly after the intervention, and high use was maintained during a 6-month follow-up. To account for attrition, the use of protection by all subjects was projected under 3 conservative assumptions. The initial visit and termination visit projections suggest that use increased sharply after the intervention and declined during follow-up but remained elevated compared with the baseline.
Conclusions: Many clients of public STD clinics will try, and some will continue, to use female condoms when they are promoted positively and when women are trained to use them correctly and to promote them to their partners. A behavioral intervention that promotes both female and male condoms can increase barrier use.