This article reports on factors influencing condom use among out-of-school adolescents in rural southwest Uganda.
Despite an abundance of negative discourses and myths about condoms in the community, these adolescents believe condoms protect them from sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and premarital pregnancies.
Girls want partners to use condoms, but most lack the confidence to insist. Girls aged 13 to 14 reported the least difficulty asking for condoms; older girls attributed this to coming-of-age in the era of AIDS when condom use is the norm.
Boys under 16 years want to use condoms, but lack confidence in application skills. Boys over 17 years always use condoms with casual partners, but only occasionally for pregnancy prevention with steady partners.
Girls need skills training to improve confidence in negotiating condom use. Younger boys require training to improve confidence in skills with condom application.
These findings are compared with studies conducted with in-school adolescents in the same study area. Health promotions that provide this skills training and focus on the need to think of the health of future family would be most effective for out-of-school adolescents.
This study shows that it is self-confidence, rather than years of schooling, that has the greatest impact on condom use in this cohort.