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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


ESTUPINAN-APONTE, María R; AMAYA-ESTUPINAN, Laura C  and  ROJAS-JIMENEZ, Yuri A. University students' social representations concerning sexual abstinence and the condom as prevention mechanisms. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.3, pp.491-501. ISSN 0124-0064.

ObjectiveInterpreting the social representations of students from the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia in Sogamoso concerning the use of sexual abstinence and condoms as strategic focuses for preventing sexually-transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. MethodPurposive sampling was used with 67 university students aged 16 to 31 years-old from different regions in the Boyacá department. A qualitative approach and focus groups were used for data collection and card association, according to Araya, et al. ResultsThe responses revealed social representations' regarding knowledge, identity justifying and orientation recognising the condom as a good prevention method even though not being 100 % safe, useful in healthcare but in some cases leading to discomfort and dissatisfaction associated with its use. Negative associations concerned couples' distrust and promiscuity. Sexual abstinence was identified as being a 100 % safe and effective prevention method, facilitating family planning, helping to care for one's body and those of others, preserving future interests and protecting one's health but, at the same time, being difficult to implement in today's society. ConclusionsEach person's values, beliefs and moral and religious issues influence their prevention and protection decisions more than their existent information on the topic.

Keywords : Sexual abstinence; sexually-transmitted disease; unwanted pregnancy.

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