The desire to conceive a child may be driving the low rates of condom use among young black males, despite sexually transmitted infection and HIV risks associated with unprotected sex, according to recent data presented at the 2014 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Annual Meeting.
“In the United States, young black males continue to be disproportionately likely to acquire STIs and HIV,” the researchers wrote. “Condom use is the primary public health strategy to prevent these infections. However, condom use is antithetical to conception of a child; thus, desire to father a child or perception of partners’ desire may be a primary barrier to STI/HIV protection. While an unavoidable reality when partners mutually desire conception, a very different situation exists when desire is not mutual.”
Ivy W. Terrell, MPH, of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, and colleagues evaluated 578 young black males aged 15 to 23 years to determine whether desire to conceive was associated with elevated rates of unprotected vaginal sex. Pregnancy desire was divided into three groups: no desire; discrepant desire; and mutual desire.
Significant differences in unprotected vaginal sex, condom breakage, frequency of unprotected vaginal sex and condom usage were associated with no desire to conceive compared with the other groups.
The mutual desire group was 2.81 times more likely to have unprotected vaginal sex and the discrepant desire group was 1.85 times more likely compared with the no desire group.
“In planning public health interventions, consideration must be given to the outcomes demonstrating young black males may be both yielding to or disregarding the desires of their female sex partners regarding conception,” the researchers wrote. “This suggests a potentially beneficial behavioral intervention model to avert HIV/STI acquisition among young black males may be dual-prevention, structurally addressing motives for and perceptions about conception with the necessity of protecting a high-risk population against an ever-expanding epidemic of STIs, including HIV.”
For more information:
Terrell IW. Abstract 119. Presented at: SAHM 2014; March 23-26, 2014; Austin, Texas.
Disclosure: One researcher reports receiving a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.