Indicator 9.3: "Young people using a condom during premarital sex"


The percent of young never married people (aged 15-24) who used a condom at last sex, of all young single sexually active people surveyed.

Measurement Tools

UNAIDS general population survey; DHS AIDS module; FHI BSS (youth).

What It Measures

In many high HIV prevalence epidemics, it is clear that a high (and rising) proportion of HIV infections take place before marriage, but reluctance to provide services to decrease risk among people who choose to be sexually active before marriage is sometimes intense. Some national programmes are beginning to actively promote the provision of services to young and unmarried people. This indicator tracks their success in reducing the risk of HIV infection in premarital sex by increasing condom use.

How to Measure It

In a survey including people aged 15-24, respondents are asked about their marital status and their sexual partnerships, including condom use at last sex with each partner. Those that are single and report using a condom the last time they had sex in the last 12 months enter the numerator. The denominator is all never married respondents sexually active in the last 12 months.

The indicator should be reported separately for men and women. It may also be constructed separately for those aged 15-19, <15 and 20-24, as appropriate. In some settings, the proportion of those aged 20-24 who are single will be very low, at least among women, and it may not be appropriate to construct the indicator for this age group in these cases.

Strengths and Limitations

This indicator tracks levels of risk in premarital sex. Clearly, it should be presented together with the previous indicator, since low levels of condom use and high levels of premarital sex will be much more worrying than low levels of condom use and very low levels of premarital sex. The indicator makes no distinction between partner types. Non-marital relationships among young people are inherently unstable, and partner exchange is common, so any partner is considered to be a risky partner.