Experiences of Condom Fit and Feel Among African-American Men Who Have Sex With Men

African-American men who have sex with men (MSM) are a particularly high-risk group for HIV and other STDs in the United States. The researchers conducted the current study "to offer an empirical understanding of characteristics associated with the fit and feel of condoms" among this population.

Data were collected from 178 adult African-American MSM attending a community event in Atlanta. Most participants reported that condoms generally fit properly and felt comfortable. However, a substantial number reported problems, including: condoms felt too tight (21 percent); condoms felt too short (18 percent); condoms felt too loose (10 percent); condoms felt too long (7 percent).

Significant associations were found between men's reports of condom slippage and breakage and their perceptions of condoms' fit and feel. These perceptions were also related to the men's reports of seeking condoms for size-specific properties.

"The fit and feel issues that men in this sample identified may be among those that contribute to their likelihood of using, or not using, condoms consistently and correctly," the authors concluded. "A better understanding of these factors will be beneficial to both condom manufacturers and sexual health professionals who share a common goal of increasing consistent and correct condom use and reducing the incidence of HIV and other [STDs] among this and other communities."