A qualitative study of barriers to consistent condom use among HIV-1 serodiscordant couples in Kenya

AIDS Care. 2012;24(4):509-16. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2011.613911. Epub 2011 Nov 15.


This study explored barriers to consistent condom use among heterosexual HIV-1 serodiscordant couples who were aware of the HIV-1 serodiscordant status and had been informed about condom use as a risk reduction strategy. We conducted 28 in-depth interviews and 9 focus group discussions among purposively selected heterosexual HIV-1 serodiscordant couples from Thika and Nairobi districts in Kenya. We analyzed the transcribed data with a grounded theory approach. The most common barriers to consistent condom use included male partners' reluctance to use condoms regardless of HIV-1 status coupled with female partners' inability to negotiate condom use, misconceptions about HIV-1 serodiscordance, and desire for children. Specific areas of focus should include development of skills for women to effectively negotiate condom use, ongoing information on HIV-1 serodiscordance and education on safer conception practices that minimize risk of HIV-1 transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication Barriers
  • Condoms* / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / psychology
  • HIV Infections* / transmission
  • HIV Seronegativity*
  • HIV Seropositivity* / epidemiology
  • HIV Seropositivity* / psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity* / transmission
  • HIV-1*
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Safe Sex / psychology*
  • Sex Counseling
  • Sexual Partners / psychology