Measuring condom use among sex workers in the Dominican Republic

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The purpose of this paper is to assess the internal consistency of self-reported condom use among sex workers in Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

We examined the responses to questions about condom use among 4 cross-sectional samples of sex workers. We compared measures based on: (1) questions using always-to-never scales; (2) questions about use with the past 5 clients; and (3) questions about use in the past week obtained from a retrospective coital log.

In each sample, more women reported `always' using condoms with clients than with each of the past 5 clients. In 3 of the 4 samples, only about half of the women who reported `always' using condoms used condoms with the most recent 5 clients and with all clients in the past week. Internal consistency was significantly higher when the comparison was limited to use with the most recent 5 clients and use in the past week.

Self-reported measures of condom use can be difficult to interpret. Assessing the internal consistency of several measures of use provides insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each measure.

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