Helping females get out of abusive relationships can help prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs, particularly among young minority women, according to Dr. Anne M. Teitelman, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Some 59 percent of 64 African-American girls ages 14-17 interviewed by Teitelman and colleagues reported sexual abuse, including threats, verbal coercion, physical violence, and condom coercion.
According to Teitelman, condom coercion is a tactic some males use to avoid condom use. These methods include physically abusing and threatening a partner, emotional manipulation, and sabotage, whereby the male removes the condom during sex without the girl's knowledge. More than 50 percent of the teenage girls in the study said they had had sex without a condom despite their preference that a partner use one.
Further, pressure can prevent females from even bringing up the subject of condom use, Teitelman said. Twenty-five percent of study respondents answered "yes" to the question, "Have you ever wanted to talk with your sexual partner about using a condom during vaginal sex, but were not able to?"
"Promoting healthy relationships among youth and preventing partner abuse in adolescent relationships should become a public health priority," said Teitelman. "This is necessary for primary prevention of the intersecting epidemics of partner abuse and HIV/STIs."
The study, "Unwanted Unprotected Sex: Condoms Coercion by Male Partners and Self-Silencing of Condom Negotiation Among Adolescent Girls," was published in Advances in Nursing Science (2011;34(3):243-259).