|| Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid
Rates of condom use in sub-Saharan Africa have remained too low to curb HIV/sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemics. A better understanding of the main determinants of condom use would aid promotion.Cross-sectional population surveys were conducted in four cities in sub-Saharan Africa: Yaoundé, Cameroon; Cotonou, Benin; Ndola, Zambia; and Kisumu, Kenya. In each city, the aim was to interview a random sample of 1000 men and 1000 women aged 15–49 years, including questions on characteristics of non-spousal partnerships in the past 12 months.Data on condom use were available for 4624 non-spousal partnerships. In the four cities, the proportion of partnerships in which condoms were used always or most of the time ranged from 23.8 to 33.5% when reported by men and from 10.7 to 25.9% when reported by women. Based on the reports from men, condom use was associated with higher educational level of the male partner in Yaoundé [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.76] and Ndola (aOR = 2.94) and with higher educational level of the female partner in Cotonou (aOR = 2.36) and Kisumu (aOR = 2.76). Based on the reports from women, condom use was associated with higher educational level of the female partner in Kisumu (aOR = 2.60) and Ndola (aOR = 4.50) and with higher educational level of the male partner in Yaoundé (aOR = 3.32). Associations with other determinants varied across cities and for men and women.Education was found to be a key determinant of condom use in all four cities. This suggests that educational level increases response to condom promotion and highlights the need for special efforts to reach men and women with low educational attainment.