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Using longitudinal data collected in KwaZulu-Natal in 1999-2001, we examined how gender may influence black South African young people’s perceptions of sexual risk, barriers they perceive to using condoms, characteristics of the relationships they form, and their condom use. Net of sociodemographic characteristics, young women with greater perceived susceptibility to AIDS were less likely to use condoms, as were young men with low confidence in their knowledge of condom use and young people who agreed that using condoms signals mistrust of one’s partner. Age discordant relationships, relationship concurrency, and more frequent sex were associated with lower condom use among young men and women, while longer relationship durations were associated with lower use among women only. We discuss the implications of these findings for theory and intervention.
Country of focus: South Africa.