Background: Concerns about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases have been raised. Data are lacking on condom failure and its associated factors among sex workers in Southeast Asia.
Goal: To assess factors associated with condom breakage and slippage.
Study design: A prospective study on condom breakage and slippage over a 1-day period was conducted among 219 female brothel-based sex workers in Singapore in 1997.
Results: Condom breakage and slippage rates among 1,885 episodes of condom use were 1.2% (95% CI, 0.7-1.8) and 2.1% (95% CI, 1.2-3.0), respectively. After adjusting for intracluster effects and confounders, condom breakage and slippage were significantly associated with duration of sex work and spontaneity of clients to use condoms.
Conclusion: Condom use among sex workers should be promoted in view of the low failure rates. Strategies to reduce condom breakage and slippage should be directed at sex workers with increased risk of condom failure.