Many Men Don't Use Condoms
Because Men Deny Risk, STD Prevention Is Low Priority
WebMD News Archive
How Safe Are You? continued...
Despite strong beliefs that condoms could be effective in STD
prevention, many men were not motivated to use condoms consistently, Grimley
Of those men with one main sexual partner, two-thirds were not
motivated to use condoms.
These men also gave little indication they would start using
condoms for STD prevention, she explains.
"They wanted their partners to know that they were
committed to the relationship," she writes. Other studies show similar
attitudes, indicating that intimate relationship issues are important to many
men, as well as women, she says.
Safety Is Often Not a Concern
Also, alcohol and drug users gave the least indication they
would use condoms.
For many men, safety from disease does not play a central role
in their decision-making about condoms, writes Grimley.
"These men do perceive themselves at high risk for STDs,
but appear to cope with this risk" by getting treatment once they've got
symptoms -- rather than preventing it with condoms, she writes.
Other researchers have found, too, that low-income minority men
"calculate their risk and take actions based on what they have learned
through their own observations and experiences," writes Grimley.
This study provides "an important window into condom use in
a population that is potentially at risk," says Gail Wyatt PhD, associate
director of the AIDS Institute at the UCLA School of Medicine. She is also
author of the book, No More Clueless Sex: 10 Secrets to a Sex Life That
Works for Both of You.
However, "you have be careful not to generalize this to
other African-American men," Wyatt tells WebMD. In the South, and
especially in Alabama, low-income men generally distrust medical researchers --
which could have affected the answers they gave, she says.
"It's important to look at ethnic minorities individually,
to take time to understand the issues for each group," Wyatt says. "We
know that health services utilization in the South, among poor people, is not
the same as for people with jobs and health insurance."
Nonetheless, she says, "a number of studies involving
ethnic minority men have shown that heterosexual men don't feel they need to
use condoms. Even if they hear the message [to use condoms for STD prevention],
they don't want to hear it."