The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5205.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 3:00 PM

Abstract #46403

Adolescent Perceptions of the Female Condom: Focus Group Results from Urban Teens

Mary Latka, PhD, Farzana Kapadia, MPH, and Princess Fortin, BA. Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies, New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Ave Room 556, New York, NY 10029, 212-822-7284,

BACKGROUND: While an extensive literature exists about acceptability of the female condom among adults, little is known about teens' perceptions.

METHODS: Single-gender focus groups were conducted among 15-20 year-olds from New York City. Conceptual mapping was used to identify existing sexual protection constructs and determine where the female condom fit into those constructs.

RESULTS: Eight groups (n=6 with girls; 2 with boys; n=58 teens) provided data on conceptual mapping. The sample was 71% African American, 43% ever on public assistance, 78% sexually active, 39% of girls and 25% of boys had been involved in a pregnancy; 10% had had an STD. Most had heard of the female condom, but few had seen it. Initial reactions to the female condom were similar to adult reactions (looks too big and complicated), and after a brief educational session, impressions were that it looked strong and safe. Participants largely classified the female condom with the male condom, rather than as a "female-initiated" method of protection. Reasons for the condom classification varied and included factors such as being available over the counter, of low cost, or lacking side effects. Girls consistently classified methods by their effectiveness against pregnancy, side effects, and method availability. Classification systems among boys varied. STDs/HIV were mentioned as concerns, but pregnancy, rather than STD/HIV prevention emerged more prominently as the main concern when classifying methods of protection.

CONCLUSIONS: Emphasizing the female condom's contraceptive ability, lack of side effects, and over-the-counter availability may be especially important when introducing it to adolescents.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Condom Use, Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The Reality Female Condom
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The Female Condom: Is it Working?

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA