Effectiveness of male latex condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections including HIV
Condoms are the only contraceptive method proven to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. They can be used as a dual-purpose method, both for prevention of pregnancy and protection against STIs.
An extensive review was conducted by a panel convened by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June 2000 in the United States of America, with the participation of WHO. The review concluded that condoms, when used correctly and consistently, are effective for preventing HIV infection in women and men and gonorrhoea in men. For other STIs, however, the available data are less complete.
The key findings of the report are:
- The consistent use of male latex condoms significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection in men and women and of gonorrhoea in men;
- Laboratory studies have established the impermeability of male latex condoms to infectious agents contained in genital secretions, including the smallest viruses.
- Male condoms may be less effective in protecting against those STIs that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, since the infected areas may not be covered by the condom.
The report concluded that additional research was needed to fill the gaps in currently available evidence. See report