Original Research

‘No condom, no sex’: Easy to say, but not possible for all South African women

Johanna E. Maree
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 15, No 1 | a506 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v15i1.506 | © 2010 Johanna E. Maree | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 October 2009 | Published: 01 November 2010

About the author(s)

Johanna E. Maree, Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa


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). Selfreported 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.


Servikskarsinoom is die mees algemene kanker in Suid-Afrikaanse vroue. Die menslike papiloom virus (MPV) is die grootse oorsaak van hierdie kanker. Oordraging van die virus kan egter met kondoomgebruik voorkom word. Die doel van die studie was om te bepaal of Swart vroue woonagtig in Tshwane, Suid-Afrika, hulself teen die virus kan beskerm deur op kondoomgebruik aan te dring.Die studie was eksploratief, kwalitatief en kontekstueel en ’n gerieflikheids sneeubal metode het die steekproef gerig. Die steekproefgrootte is deur dataversadiging bepaal (n = 20). Data is ingesamel deur middel van onderhoude en die data is met behulp van Tesch se metode geanaliseer. Vier temas is geïdentifiseer, (1) kennis van servikskarsinoom, (2) seksuele gedrag, (3) sosiale probleme en (4)emosies. Die studie het bevind dat vroue hulle nie self teen servikskarsinoom kan beskerm deur op kondome aan te dring nie. Kennis van die siekte was so gebrekkig dat vroue nie kondoomgebruik met servikskarsinoom vereenselwig het nie. Die meeste van hul seksmaats het geweier om kondome te gebruik. Armmoede, fisiese geweld, hulpeloosheid en vrees het vroue weerhou om op die gebruik van kondome aan te dring. Primêre voorkomingstrategië behoort op selfbemagtiging van vroue te konsentreer. Dit sal voorkom dat vroue van mans, wat hulle die reg kan weier, afhanklik is vir beskerming teen servikskarsinoom.


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


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