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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


MAREE, Johanna E.. 'No condom, no sex': Easy to say, but not possible for all South African women. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.15, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2071-9736.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in South African women. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the biggest risk factor for developing this cancer. However, condom use protects against HPV transmission. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether Black women living in Tshwane, South Africa, were able to protect themselves against cervical cancer by insisting on condom use. The study was exploratory, qualitative and contextual, and a convenience snowball sampling method was used. The sample size was determined through data saturation (n = 20). Self-reported data were gathered by means of interviews, and analysed using Tesch's approach. Four themes emerged, (1) knowledge of cervical cancer, (2) sexual behaviour, (3) social problems and (4) emotions. The study provided evidence that women were not able to protect themselves from cervical cancer by insisting on condom use. Women lacked knowledge of cervical cancer and did not associate condom use with self-protection against this disease. Most of their sex partners refused to use condoms. Poverty, physical abuse, helplessness and fear prevented women from insisting on the use of condoms. Primary prevention strategies should focus on empowering women to protect themselves from cervical cancer and not leave this important issue to someone who might refuse it.

Keywords : cancer prevention strategies; condom use; fear of sexually transmitted infections; risk perception; self-protection in sexual relationships.

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