“Why Should I Use Condoms?”: A Youth Educator’s Guide

A guide to personal health for young men who have sex with men and support for healthy communities.

What is the resource?

“Why should I use condoms?” is an educational resource for young men who have sex with men (MSM) that supports them in making positive and informed decisions to address their specific sexual health needs.

While this resource is built for educators, it has also been designed for other adults working to support the sexual health needs of young MSM.

“Why should I use condoms?” is a resource provided by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF), in partnership with Love Your Condom (LYC): an HIV prevention programme run by NZAF that works specifically for MSM.

This free resource is available for order below. For queries, please contact Lisa Mirpuri, Marketing Manager, via telephone or email at 0211788659 and lisa.mirpuri@nzaf.org.nz respectively.

What does it consist of?

  • Four minute video
  • Key messages and discussion prompts to go alongside the video
  • Hand-out for students
  • Feedback survey

Who is it for?

The resource is formatted to be appropriate for young people aged 11-18 years.

Although this resource has been specifically created for young MSM, it also educates queer allied young women and opposite sex attracted men who wish to pass on this information and support to their MSM peers.

Most young MSM have their first anal intercourse at age 19 or under. In 2014, the Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey (GAPSS) and the Gay Men’s Online Sex Survey (GOSS), run by the University of Auckland, University of Otago and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, found that 53% of MSM (men who have sex with men) had their first anal intercourse at age 19 or under (this is compared to 50.5% in 2006).

Same/both sex attracted students are significantly more likely to be sexually active. In the findings from the Youth 2000, 2007 and 2012 national youth health and wellbeing surveys, a third of same/both sex attracted students were aware of their sexual attractions by the age of 11. Greater proportions of same/both-sex attracted students reported that they have ever had sexual intercourse/‘ever had sex’ (52.1%) and are currently sexually active (41.0%) compared to opposite-sex attracted students (23.7% and 18.5% respectively).

Using a condom the first time makes condom use more desirable. In 2007, a paper presented at the AIDS Impact Conference by Tony Hughes, Peter Saxton, Nigel Dickson and Katrina Sharples confirmed that MSM who used a condom at first sex were 2.4 times as likely to agree with the sentence ‘condoms are ok as part of sex’’ (information taken from GAPSS and GOSS).

This data tells us that first anal intercourse and sexual attractions are occurring when young MSM are within their school education, making this period the right time to be talking about safe sex.

The problem: What are the sexual health risks facing young MSM?

In New Zealand, MSM are most at risk of contracting HIV. This is due to three main reasons:

  • It is much easier to contract HIV during anal sex
  • There are already a lot of gay and bi Kiwis who have HIV
  • MSM are more closely sexually connected than the rest of the population

HIV and STIs are on the rise amongst MSM:

  • 136 MSM were diagnosed with HIV in 2014, compared with 114 in 2013. 47 (35%) of those MSM were under 30 years of age (University of Otago AIDS Epidemiology Group).
  • Average monthly Syphilis cases have increased 120% over the last 18 months in the Auckland region.
  • Average monthly Gonorrhoea cases have increased 170% over the last six months in the Auckland region.

The biggest problem is that knowledge amongst young MSM regarding safe sex practices, HIV and STIs is missing. This has been experienced first hand in focus groups run by NZAF. Young MSM are not learning the relevant information in schools, which is when their inquisitiveness is heightened (i.e. they are watching pornography online and physically exploring).

The solution: How can young MSM look after their sexual health?

Consistent and correct condom use during anal sex is the best way for young MSM to look after their sexual health. 80% of MSM participate in New Zealand’s condom culture by using condoms most or all of the time they have anal sex, but this rate needs to increase in order to reduce disproportionately high rates of HIV infection amongst MSM.

A very low risk of HIV transfer during oral sex (both insertive and receptive), condoms are not a necessary precaution for preventing HIV in this mode of sex, however, using a condom during oral sex will reduce the risk of transfer of other STIs, such as gonorrhoea.

Sexual health testing is also a very important part of HIV prevention, as one in five MSM living with HIV are not aware they have it (GAPSS/GOSS). This high rate of undiagnosed HIV infections leads to increased instances of condom non-usage. These instances present a higher risk of HIV transfer per instance, due to the fact that an undiagnosed person or persons will not be accessing healthcare treatment that they may need.

How does this resource fit into the curriculum?

  • This resource meets the needs of a group that has been poorly served within sexual health lessons and we are seeing the impact on current rates of HIV infections and testing. This resource responds to this epidemic with prevention at its core resulting in positive health outcomes.
  • Quality sexual health education must include the needs of young men who are sexually active with other men. This resource conveys all of the key messaging for the teacher.
  • The need for this resource is evidence based – our evidence tells us that if a young gay male uses a condom at sexual debut, they are twice as likely to continue doing so throughout their sex life.
  • This resource sits within a huaora health model, moving away from old ways of talking about men’s health to ways that empower young men to look at their total wellbeing.
  • “Why should I use condoms?” has been designed to empower teachers to have conversations about the sexual health needs of young men having sex with men in a safe and supportive way, with resources provided to help guide positively geared discussions about health and wellbeing.
  • This resource has been designed to support teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. Lesson and workshop guides are provided for educators, along with a broader set of information relevant to supporting the sexual health needs of young MSM.

Who are NZAF and LYC?

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) has been working to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS in New Zealand for over 30 years. By providing research and policy advice, healthcare services and world-leading HIV prevention programmes such as Love Your Condom (LYC) and Love Cover Protect, NZAF is a world leader in HIV prevention and support.

Love Your Condom is the largest campaign in New Zealand promoting positive condom culture amongst gay and bisexual men. Run by NZAF, LYC employs forward-thinking behavioural change messaging using traditional media, social media, community engagement, mass marketing and guerrilla marketing techniques to connect with its audience. Since its inception in 2009, new HIV infection rates among MSM in New Zealand have dropped by 12%.

“We aim to develop a society where it’s socially acceptable to talk to any other New Zealander, but especially those who are most at risk of HIV, about using condoms. Inherent in a condom culture is the attitude that it’s socially unacceptable to ask someone for unsafe sex and anyone who’s asked will have the knowledge and confidence they need to say no.”
- Nick Laing, General Manager, New Zealand AIDS Foundation

More information about NZAF and LYC can be found online on this website and at loveyourcondom.co.nz.

The video resource

Order form

Web Form Builder