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The University of Southampton

Research project: Contraceptive utilisation, condom use and STI prevention

Currently Active: 

Contraception is the use of hormones, devices or surgery to prevent pregnancy. There are currently over 15 different modern forms of female contraception available, yet the condom is the only method that also protects men and women from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Past and present projects investigating contraceptive utilisation and STI prevention:

Using serious games simulations to influence sexual behaviour

The main aim of this PhD study is to investigate the use of serious games simulations for public health issues, and, in particular, to explore the use of simulations to access and influence attitudes to sexual behaviour. Simulation models can give young people the potential to engage with a simulated world of sexual interactions to help better understand the ramifications of sexual risk-taking behaviours.

PhD Studentship – Anastasia Eleftheriou

Supervisors: Professor Seth Bullock, Professor Cynthia Graham, Professor Roger Ingham

Funding: Institute for Complex Systems Simulation & EPSRC

Status – Currently active

Feasibility study of the Kinsey Institute Homework Intervention (KIHIS-UK) to promote correct and consistent condom use

The objectives of the KIHIS-UK study include adapting a condom promotion programme which has been developed and tested in the US for use among young men in the UK. The US programme gives out "condom kits" (containing different condoms and lubricants) asks men to try out the condoms at home by themselves by completing various homework exercises. As they test each condom they are asked to think about their own pleasure and which condoms they like best.

The aim of the programme is for men to improve their condom skills by 1) finding the "right/best" types of condoms and lubricants, 2) testing techniques of applying them, and 3) by practicing with them in no pressure situations (on their own).

In collaboration with our colleagues at the Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research, Coventry University, we are exploring whether the idea can be adapted for use with men in the UK to improve their skills in applying condoms and their pleasure in using them.

Funding – MRC-PHIND

Status – Currently active

E-KIHIS: design and evaluation of an online version of the Kinsey Institute Homework Intervention (KIHIS) programme to enhance male condom use

Supervisors: Professor Cynthia Graham

Status – Currently active

How, not only if, condoms are used by young people

It is well documented that the condom is a reliable form of contraception and can provide an effective barrier to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if it is used according to the manufacturer's instructions. To date, studies of condom use have focussed on whether a condom was used or not. However, in order to be effective against pregnancy and the transmission of many STIs a condom must be put on prior to any intimate skin contact.

Reports from young people indicated three forms of ‘unsafe protected sex' that failed to minimise or eliminate the risk of pregnancy and/or STI transmission during sexual encounters; a) condom failure, b) condoms used for ejaculation only, and c) condoms used after limited unprotected penetration.

Funding - Brook & The Big Lottery Fund (formerly the Community Fund).

Oral sex practices among young people

The development of UK national targets to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs has focused health promotion efforts on advocating the use of condoms during penetrative vaginal and anal sex. However, other behaviours that can facilitate STI transmission - such as oral sex and, in particular, fellatio – have received limited attention.

Partner interaction as a predictor of contraceptive use

This study explored potential difficulties young people encounter in talking about contraception with their sexual partners. Concern about a partner's hostile or negative reaction to any discussion about contraception was central to explaining why some people found it so difficult to initiate such discussions. Admitting the intention to have intercourse, together with a perceived association between condom use and disease prevention, were also concerns.

Related research groups

Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)
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