Identifying condom users at risk for breakage and slippage: findings from three international sites

Am J Public Health. 1998 Feb;88(2):239-44. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.2.239.


Objectives: This study examined whether past condom failure (breakage, slippage, or both) can predict future failure and evaluated other predictors of condom failure.

Methods: At each of 3 international sites, approximately 130 male condom users were enrolled and given 5 condoms to use for vaginal intercourse over a 3-week period.

Results: Men at increased risk (history of 1 or more condoms that broke or slipped off) reported approximately twice as many condom failures as those not in this group. Condom failure increased with the number of adverse condom use behaviors reported per participant. Opening condom packages with sharp objects and unrolling condoms before donning were associated with breakage. Unrolling condoms before donning and lengthy or intense intercourse were associated with slippage. Of background characteristics evaluated, having less education was associated with condom failure.

Conclusions: These data suggest that a history of condom failure predicts future failure, a finding that may be useful for targeted intervention. Moreover, these data provide further evidence that certain behaviors and lower educational attainment are associated with condom failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Condoms*
  • Dominican Republic
  • Educational Status
  • Equipment Failure*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Philippines
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk
  • Statistics, Nonparametric