Actions of female sex workers who experience male condom failure during penetrative sexual encounters with clients in Cape Town: Implications for HIV prevention strategies
Background: Condom failure has always been found to coexist with condom usage, especially among sex workers.
Objective: To describe the actions of female sex workers when they are faced with situations of condom failure.
Methods: Using the survey design, the participants were selected through the snowball sampling method. Their responses were obtained using a structured questionnaire. A total of 100 questionnaires were analysed.
Results: With respect to the immediate actions of sex workers after condom failure, 36% of the respondents continued with the sexual encounter after noticing that the condom was broken. Another 36% stopped immediately when they noticed that the condom had failed, but replaced the condom; 13% of the participants stopped the sexual encounter completely; 3% applied vaginal spermicidal foam; and 5% of the respondents stopped immediately and took a douche when they had the chance. For the actions within the next 24 hours of experiencing condom failure with a client, 53% of the participants did nothing; 4% sought counsel from a professional; 3% of the respondents took alcohol or drugs to forget the incident, 25% went to the clinic for assistance and 8% offered other responses.
Conclusion: While continuing the sexual encounter without replacing the condom, taking alcohol and drugs or doing nothing could increase the risk of contracting HIV; however, actions like stopping the sexual encounter completely and visiting a clinic or a professional could make a difference between staying HIV negative or seroconverting. There is a need for targeted intervention to address issues of inappropriate behaviours after experiencing condom failure.
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