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01 December 2005

Factsheet 8 : Condom use and access

Press Release

Table 3.34 summarises proportions of respondents who had sex in the last year who used a condom during their last sexual intercourse. Some 38% of females and males used a condom during the last sexual intercourse. The large majority of respondents who were young Africans with multiple partners, and living in rural informal locality types, were more likely to use a condom in the past 12 months. There were lower levels of condom use among those aged over 50 years (8.6% for men and 5.3% for women), white men (15.2%) and Indian women (12.6%).

Table 3.34: Condom use during the last sexual intercourse among respondents aged 15 years and older by background characteristics, South Africa 2005

Variable  Male  Female 
n % n %
Total 3 863 38.1 5393 32.8
Age group    
15-24 976 72.8 1 410 55.7
25-49 2 075 35.3 3 241 29.1
50+ 812 8.6 742 5.3
African 2 239 43.6 3 281 38.1
White 482 16.7 660 15.2
Coloured 730 22.3 914 12.6
Indian 406 34.5 524 10.1
Sexual activity    
One partner 3 802 33.4 5 159 32.4
Multiple partners 538 62.3 135 46.6
Locality type    
Urban formal 2 319 38 3 052 32.4
Urban informal 429 42.4 642 38.5
Rural Informal area 673 44 1408 34
Rural formal 442 20 491 22.1


Table 3.35 shows the reasons mentioned by respondents for condom use during their last sexual encounter. The overwhelming majority of respondents (71.2%) used a condom to prevent HIV infection. Almost half (49.4%) responded that a condom was used as a contraceptive method.

Last sex condom use for different age groups according to marital and partner status Table 3.36 shows reported condom use for different age groups according to marital status and partner status. The table shows that respondents who were single were considerably more likely to use a condom than those who were married. Respondents younger than 50 years old and who had three or more partners in the past year were more likely to use a condom at last sex than those who either had only one or two sexual partners.

Similarly, both youth and adults who had more than one current partner were more likely to use a condom during the last sexual encounter than respondents with only one current partner. It is interesting to note that condom use was also relatively high among youth and adults aged 25–49 years who had one current partner only, 25–49 year-old widowed respondents and both youth and 25–49 year olds who are divorced or separated.

Main source of condoms is the Department of Health’s public sector condom programme. Condom distribution has increased from 267 million in 2001 to 346 million in 2004. The table below illustrates condom brands most recently used, and shows that the majority of respondents used either a public sector condom, or a social marketing brand.

Condom brand most recently used %
Choice condom (government brand) 25.80%
Red ribbon (previous government brand) 17.90%
Lovers Plus (social marketing brand) 17.60%
Durex (commercial brand) 8.20%
Trust (social marketing brand) 3.40%
Other or don’t know 27.20%

The figure below illustrates that government clinics and hospitals are the most likely source of condoms for both sexes and all age groups.

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