Social Network Influences on Male and Female Condom Use Among Women Attending Family Planning Clinics in the United States

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Background:Research has shown that social networks play an important role in determining health behaviors. However, little is known about their influence on male and female condom use among women.Methods:We analyzed data obtained from 157 sexually-active women who enrolled in the Female Condom Intervention Trial from June 2003 to November 2004 in Northern California and completed an audio computer-assisted self interview at baseline and 3-months.Results:At the 3-month assessment, the mean number of male and female “conversation” network members (i.e., nonspouse/sex partner people with whom respondents had discussed male and female condoms in the past 3 months) was 1.62 and 1.03, respectively. Results of multiple logistic regression analyses showed that male and female condom use was higher among women with at least 1 network member who encouraged using the male condom (OR, 3.39; 95% CI, 1.52, 7.56) and the female condom (OR, 6.03; 95% CI, 1.95, 18.61), respectively. Female condom use was also associated with having “dense” female condom conversation networks (i.e., at least 2 of respondents’ network members knew one another; OR, 8.42; 95% CI, 3.05, 23.29).Conclusions:The significant association between conversation network characteristics and male and female condom use suggests that more research is needed to better understand the role of conversation networks in affecting condom use among women.

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