Do Condoms Prevent AIDS?

Although the risk of HIV infection can be reduced through the careful use of condoms, condoms are only partially successful in blocking the transmission of the virus. Actually, there is very little “safe sex” that can be practiced by a person infected with HIV:

Dr. Susan Weller of the University of Texas Medical School calculated the efficacy of condoms by pooling all the published studies of heterosexuals in which one partner was infected with HIV and the other was not. Although contraceptive research indicates that condoms are 87% effective in preventing pregnancy, she found that condoms reduce the risk of HIV infection by approximately 69%.

Weller noted that in “the large European Collaborative study, when the clinical state of the index patient, the practice of anal intercourse, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are considered, condom use no longer significantly reduced HIV transmission.”

She also warned that the “public at-large may not understand the difference between ‘condoms may reduce risk of’ and ‘condoms will prevent’ HIV infection. It is a disservice to encourage the belief that condoms will prevent sexual transmission of HIV.”

[A meta-analysis of condom effectiveness in reducing sexually transmitted HIV Social Science & Medicine, 1993:36:1635-1644] (Family Research Report, July-August 1993)

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