Women who abuse substances are at a high-risk for contracting HIV. Condom use interventions are important in reducing HIV in high-risk populations, but current interventions have small effects. The aim of this study is to examine the relative impact of substance use, personal variables (sexual impulsivity and condom expectancies), and relationship variables (perceptions of relationship commitment and partner risk, perceptions of power within the relationship) on condom use in women in court-mandated substance abuse treatment. Information was collected from 312 sexually active women in an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Southeastern US Participants completed questionnaires and were interviewed using the Timeline Follow-back method and provided information about sexual activity in the 30-days prior to intake, including type of sexual event, co-occurrence with substance use, condom use, and characteristics of sexual partners and the nature of the relationship. Multilevel logistic modeling revealed that perception of relationship commitment, condom outcome expectancies, and age significantly affected condom use for women in the sample. Specifically, condom use was least likely when women reported that the relationship was committed (odds ratio [OR] = 0.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.23, 0.43) or when the participant was older (OR = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94, 0.99), and more likely when women reported more positive condom outcome expectancies (OR = 1.02, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.03). The findings suggest that perceptions of relationship commitment, regardless of perceptions of partner risk, strongly affect condom use among women court-mandated into drug and alcohol treatment. In addition, positive outcome expectancies (e.g., positive self-evaluations and perceived positive partner reactions) are associated with a greater likelihood of condom use. These findings have important implications for condom use interventions, which have failed to produce large or lasting effects within this population.
Keywords: HIV intervention; condom use; high-risk women; partner commitment; sexual risk behavior.