Survey shows increase in U.S. men’s condom use

A new survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which was published yesterday by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics suggests that over a third of adult men in the nation presently assert the use of condom during sex.

Credit: Patricia Chumillas/Shutterstock.com

Over 20,000 men and women aged 15-44 from the 2011–2015 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) were surveyed by the authors and the resultant data was compared with a similar survey conducted during 2002.

The participants were asked about the use of male condoms and other contraceptive methods during intercourse with an opposite-sex partner in the past year.

Nearly a third of the men (33.7%) reported the use of a condom during their last activity of sexual intercourse  and indicated a rise from 29.5 % in 2002.

Casey E. Copen, the author of the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said:

The increase in condom use among men … is 'good news' because it is a positive step toward reducing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States".

Even though the overall use of condoms among men in the age group 15-44 have increased, among teens who have one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), there was no increase noticed, since 2002, among teens ages 15-19 - the rate of use of condoms remains 55%.

Among the women participants of the 2011-15 survey, 23.8% reported that during the last time they had sex, their male partner used a condom. However, this finding was similar to the results of the 2002 survey, where 23.4% of the female participants reported that their male partner with whom they had sex the last time used a condom.

Copen believes that the low rate of condom use reported by women compared with men might be because of the availability of a variety of contraceptive choices for women, such as implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) as well as birth control pills. Also, women might have the possibility of older male partners (above 44) who less likely use condoms than the younger men that participated in the study.

Although there is no significant increase in the women’s report of male condom use from the 2002 survey, prior studies indicate an increase in the use of other female contraceptives. This includes a five-fold rise in the use of IUDs and subdermal implants during the past decade. However, these devices which are used in preventing pregnancy will not work against STIs.   

Copen, considering the increase in STIs including gonorrhea, chlamydia as well as syphilis infection in the recent years in the U.S, commented that more work is needed to decrease the spread of these infections.

The findings of the study also suggested a variation in the reports of use of condoms for both men and women during the past month based on the number of sexual partners of the respondents as well as their relationship status.

For instance, 12% of the women who were either engaged, married or were cohabiting with their partner reported that their male partner used a condom every time they had sex. But, 43% of the women, who had recently met their partner or went out occasionally with their partner, reported the use of condoms.

Also, comparing with the 60% men who had recently met their partner, 14% of the men who were cohabiting, engaged, or married reported a regular use of condom.

However, according to the study, even though condoms were used, the use was inconsistent. Of the women who reported that their partner used a condom during the past month, one-fourth (25.8%) said the use of condom was only for a part of the time during sex; i.e., it was used after the start of sex or removed before ejaculation.

The researchers also mentioned that the problems of condom use will in more detailed be analyzed in future.

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