Condom use at last high-risk sex is the percentage of young people ages 15–24 reporting the use of a condom during sexual intercourse with a non-regular sexual partner in the last 12 months.
Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Target 7. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Consistent use of condoms in nonregular sexual partnerships substantially reduces the risk of sexual HIV transmission. This is especially important for young people, who often experience the highest rates of HIV infection because they have low prior exposure to infection and (typically) relatively high numbers of non-regular sexual partnerships. Consistent condom use with non-regular sexual partners is important even in countries where HIV prevalence is low, because it can prevent the spread of HIV in circumstances where non-regular relationships are common. Condom use is one measure of protection against HIV/AIDS. Equally important are delaying age at first sex, reducing the number of non-regular sexual partners and being faithful to one partner.
Method of computation
The number of respondents ages 15–24 who reported having had a non-regular (non-marital and non-cohabiting) sexual partner in the last 12 months and using a condom the last time they had sex with this partner, as a share of the number of respondents ages 15–24 who reported having had a non-regular sexual partner in the last 12 months.
Data collection and source
Data on condom use with non-regular sexual partners are available from household surveys (such as Demographic and Health Surveys, Rural Household Surveys and Behavioural Surveillance Surveys) that collect information on sexual behaviour.
Monitoring the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS: Guidelines on Construction of Core Indicators, 2002, Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (www.unaids.org/UNGASS/docs/JC718-CoreIndic_en.pdf).
Periodicity of measurement
Household surveys, such as Demographic and Health Surveys, Rural Household Surveys and Behavioural Surveillance Surveys, are generally conducted every three to five years.
Women’s risk of becoming infected with HIV during unprotected sexual intercourse is higher than that of men. And the risk is even higher for younger women. Social and cultural factors may increase women’s vulnerability to HIV infection. For instance, cultural norms related to sexuality often prevent girls from taking active steps to protect themselves.
International data comparisons
HIV/AIDS Database, www.measuredhs.com.
The State of the World’s Children, annual, United Nations Children’s Fund (www.unicef.org/publications).
Young People and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in Crisis, 2002, United Nations Children’s Fund, Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS and World Health Organization
Epidemiological Fact Sheets, Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund (www.who.int/emc-hiv/fact_sheets).
Comments and limitations
A rise in this indicator is an extremely powerful sign that condom promotion campaigns are having the desired effect among their principle target market. However, condom promotion campaigns aim for consistent use of condoms with non-regular partners rather than simply occasional use.
Some surveys have tried to ask directly about consistent use, but the question is subject to recall bias and other biases.
The current indicator is therefore considered adequate to address the target since it is assumed that if consistent use rises, use at last high-risk sex will also increase.
Ministries of health.
United Nations Children’s Fund.
United Nations Population Fund.