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The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a leading challenge for global health. Although condoms are acknowledged for their key role on preventing HIV transmission, low and inappropriate use of condoms persists in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa. This study assesses factors affecting acceptability of condom promotion and distribution among adolescents in Mpwapwa and Mbeya rural districts of Tanzania.
Data were collected in 2011 as part of a larger cross-sectional survey on condom use among 10–19year-olds in Mpwapwa and Mbeya rural districts of Tanzania using a structured questionnaire. Associations between acceptability of condom promotion and distribution and each of the explanatory variables were tested using Chi Square. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to examine independent predictors of the acceptability of condom promotion and distribution using STATA (11) statistical software at 5% significance level.
Mean age of the 1,327 adolescent participants (50.5% being males) was 13.5years (SD=1.4). Acceptance of condom promotion and distribution was found among 37% (35% in Mpwapwa and 39% in Mbeya rural) of the adolescents. Being sexually active and aged 15–19 was the strongest predictor of the acceptability of condom promotion and distribution (OR=7.78, 95% CI 4.65-12.99). Others were; not agreeing that a condom is effective in preventing transmissions of STIs including HIV (OR=0.34, 95% CI 0.20-0.56), being a resident of Mbeya rural district (OR=1.67, 95% CI 1.28-2.19), feeling comfortable being seen by parents/guardians holding/buying condoms (OR=2.20, 95% CI 1.40-3.46) and living with a guardian (OR=1.48, 95% CI 1.08-2.04).
Acceptability of condom promotion and distribution among adolescents in Mpwapwa and Mbeya rural is low. Effect of sexual activity on the acceptability of condom promotion and distribution is age-dependent and was the strongest. Feeling comfortable being seen by parents/guardians buying or holding condoms, perceived ability of condoms to offer protection against HIV/AIDS infections, district of residence and living arrangements also offered significant predictive effect. Knowledge of these factors is vital in designing successful and sustainable condom promotion and distribution programs in Tanzania.