Objectives: To describe the extent of condom use at first heterosexual intercourse (FHI) in the general population of Slovenia, identify associated factors and assess the association with subsequent use.
Design: Cross-sectional survey comprising the first Slovenian National Survey of Sexual Lifestyles, Attitudes and Health.
Methods: Data were collected during 1999-2001 from a probability sample of the general population aged 18-49 years. Statistical methods for complex survey data were used to carry out weighted analyses.
Results: Condom use at FHI was reported by 23.6% of men and 21.3% of women. The more recently they experienced FHI, the more likely respondents were to report condom use (71.7% of men; 63.8% of women with FHI during 1995-1999). Men with FHI at age 18 or older and those with higher levels of education were more likely to use a condom and those who lost control (because drunk or carried away by feelings) less likely. Men seem to have more control over condom use at FHI than women. Sexually active men and women who used condom at FHI were 11 and 2.5 times more likely to consistently use condoms during the month preceding the interview.
Conclusions: Currently, the majority of Slovenian men and women use protection against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unplanned conception at FHI. The steep increase over time in condom use at FHI suggests that HIV-related condom use promotion has had an impact on preventive behaviours and should be sustained, especially since condom use at FHI predicts subsequent use.