Abstract

Introduction: Correct and consistent condom use within an HIV-discordant partnership could prevent sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods: Data on ever-married women from rural Malawi were obtained from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP) of 2006. We assessed the strength of association between religion and acceptability of condom use within marriage in general and also when one of the partners is suspected or known to be HIV infected.

Results: A total of 1,664 ever-married women participated in the MDICP 2006. Of these, 66.7% believed condom use was acceptable within marriage when one partner suspects or knows that the other was HIV infected; 38.2% believed condoms were acceptable within marriage generally. Only 13.8% reported ever having used condoms within the current or most recent marriage.

Multivariate analysis found no difference in acceptability of condoms within marriage between Christians and Muslims, or between Catholics and all but one of the individual denominations assessed.

Conclusion: Christian women in rural Malawi were no more or no less likely to accept condom use than Muslim women; there was also no difference in attitude toward condom use within marriage among Malawian women.