177298 Gender differences in sexual risk behavior and condom attitudes among Dominican university students

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ian W. Holloway, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Rafael Garcia-Alvarez, MD , Instituto de Sexualidad Humana, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, PhD , School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY
Ramon Almanzar, MA , Instituto de Sexualidad Humana, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
E. Antonio De Moya, MPH , Consejo Presidencial del SIDA - Presidential Council for AIDS, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
HIV transmission among young people in the Dominican Republic (DR) remains a significant international public health concern. Previous studies have focused on high risk groups, such as sex workers and MSM; however, relatively little known about the sexual risk behavior (SRB) of young Dominicans in general. The present study describes SRB and condom attitudes among Dominican university students. Self-administered surveys were completed by a random sample of the University student population during the summer of 2006 (n = 781). An adapted version of the UCLA Condom Attitude Scale was used to assess condom attitudes. Both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were conducted in SPSS. Median age of participants was 22.0 (range 17 to 30). 77.1% of men reported ever having vaginal intercourse compared to 59.9% of women (p = < 0.01). Men had 7.41 (s.d. = 7.86) lifetime sexual partners compared to 2.08 (s.d. = 1.78) for women (p = <0.01). 62.6% of men reported using a condom at last intercourse compared to 43.8% of women (p = < 0.01). No statistically significant differences in condom attitudes were observed between men and women, yet condom attitudes were a significant predictor of having used a condom at last intercourse, even after controlling for the effects of age and gender (p = 0.01). Dominican young people, especially young women, are at elevated risk for HIV infection. Gender-specific HIV prevention efforts focused on improving condom attitudes may be helpful in reducing the spread of HIV among Dominican university students. Cultural barriers to condom use among Dominican young women are explored.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the importance of understanding gender differences in sexual risk behavior among Dominican young people. 2. Identify differences in male and female young peoplesí sexual risk behaviors based on Study results. 3. Describe how tailored prevention programs can be useful in reducing the spread of STIs/HIV among young people in the Dominican Republic.

Keywords: Gender, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: During my Master's program I spearheaded the research project described in this Study as part of my Capstone Project. I was integrally involved in the questionnaire development, data collection, and am now taking the lead on the analysis and presentation of the results. I have an MSW and MPH and am currently enrolled in a doctoral program for social work. One of my main areas of interest has been sexual and reproductive health in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.