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Heterogeneous condom use in contemporary Russia


Gerber, Theodore P. & Berman, Danielle (2008). Heterogeneous condom use in contemporary Russia. Studies in Family Planning, 39(1), 1-17.


Using data from a panel survey of a representative probability sample of Russian households, we examine how individual traits, locality, and “sex-event context” are associated with condom use in contemporary Russia. At the individual level, age has negative effects and measures of risk orientation have positive effects on the probability of condom use; for women, education has positive effects and Muslim belief has negative effects. Condom use is higher among residents in Moscow and St. Petersburg and lower (for women) among rural residents. Most importantly, the same individuals make different choices about condom use from one sex event to the next, and their choices are systematically related to the nature and duration of their relationship to their partner, as well as to their partner's age. Condom use is prevalent in casual encounters and in those involving new partners or commercial sex workers. Coupled with the strong effects of age for both partners, this pattern represents good news regarding the potential for the spread of HIV in Russia. Other findings are more worrisome: HIV awareness and knowledge of condoms’ effectiveness in blocking transmission of the virus do not influence condom use at all, and married people are relatively unlikely to use condoms even in extramarital encounters and especially in long-term affairs. Accordingly, interventions should target older Russians who are married and have sex with long-term nonspousal partners.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Studies in Family Planning


Gerber, Theodore P.
Berman, Danielle