Receipt and use of free condoms among US men who have sex with men
Despite large public investments in condom distribution programs for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM), few evaluations have documented the reach of condom distribution programs or whether free condoms distributed to MSM are actually used. Among MSM recruited from social networking and dating websites, we examined the proportion who reported acquiring and using free condoms, and associations between select characteristics and reported acquisition and use of free condoms.
We used baseline data from a prospective, online cohort of U.S. MSM. Participants reported acquiring free condoms in the 12 months before interview and, for those who acquired condoms and had anal intercourse, use of the free condoms they acquired. We used multivariable log binomial regression models to describe factors associated with self-reported acquisition and use of condoms.
Of the 2,893 men in the analytic sample, 1,701 (59%) reported acquiring free condoms in the past year. Acquisition of free condoms was higher for men who were younger, more educated, recently tested for HIV, and had higher numbers of sex partners. Seventy-three percent of men who acquired free condoms reported using them; use was higher for men who were black, had been recently tested for HIV, and reported greater numbers of sex partners.
Most MSM in our online sample reported receiving free condoms, and most who acquired free condoms reported using them. These data suggest that condom distribution programs have reasonable reach and utility as part of a comprehensive package of HIV prevention interventions for U.S. MSM.