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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

IU Bloomington Research Team Examines Condom Use Program Efficacy Among College Women

In a recent article in the Journal of American College Health, “A pilot test of a self-guided, home-based intervention to improve condom-related sexual experiences, attitudes, and behaviors among young women,” a research team, led by Indiana School of Public Health – Bloomington faculty researcher, Dr. William L. Yarber, examined a male condom use program aimed at young women in opposite gender situations. The program, called the Kinsey Institute Home-based Exercises for Responsible Sex (KIHERS), was developed by the research team.

Condom use programs have historically focused on men due to the assumption that, in general, men control condom use. The few interventions for women have focused on gender power dynamics, female negotiation and insistence on condom use. Women often apply condoms to their male partners and report errors and problems that compromise condom effectiveness. Women’s agency in determining when and how male condoms are used may be underestimated. Condom use promotion programs that focus on women’s desire to be involved in condom use decisions are needed.

The team, which included Dr. William L. Yarber, Dr. Robin R. Milhausen, Ms. Karly A. Beavers, Ms. Rebecca Ryan, Ms. Margaret J. Sullivan, Ms. Karen B. Vanterpool, Dr. Stephanie A. Sanders, Dr. Cynthia A. Graham, and Dr. Richard A. Crosby and conducted in association with Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team and Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, both at Indiana University), found that the proportion of condom-protected episodes more than doubled for those in the lowest quartile for condom use at baseline. This low-resource, home-based program improved condom-related attitudes and promoted the correct and consistent use of male condoms.