The aim of the study is to measure trends in condom use in marital and cohabiting relationships in South Africa and Uganda. The data for the study come from two cross sectional surveys conducted in 1998 and 2008 among adult men and women and their partners in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and the Jinja district, Uganda. The findings suggest that consistent condom use has risen substantially in both countries. The percentage reporting consistent condom use in the South African sample of husbands increased from 2.5% in 1998 to 12% in 2008 and from 5.5 to 12.5% among wives. In Uganda, the corresponding trends are 1.1–8.3% for husbands and 4–8.6% for wives. In both countries, condom use was considerably higher among the minority of couples where one or both partners were thought to be HIV positive. Increasingly, in both countries condoms are also used for contraceptive purposes. Condoms play a role in preventing HIV infection but the challenge is for prevention programs to broaden their focus toward meeting the needs of married and cohabiting couples.