Summary: Condoms Do Not Eliminate Risk of HIV

U.S. Government study reveals that condoms reduce but do not eliminate risk of HIV transmission.

  • According to a report prepared by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 6 million adults and children around the world were newly infected with HIV in 1999. Approximately 40,000 of these infections occurred in the U.S.; 70 percent of new infections were diagnosed among men and 30 percent among women. Notably, more than 80 percent of all adult HIV infections throughout the world have been transmitted during heterosexual intercourse. HIV/AIDS can be sexually transmitted by anal, penile-vaginal, and oral intercourse. The highest rate of transmission is through anal exposure. In addition, secretions from ulcerative lesions (associated with other STDs) on the penis may also be a source of infected male-to-uninfected female transmission of HIV/AIDS, and ulcerative lesions may be sites for uninfected male exposure to HIV/AIDS from infectious female secretions. While consistent condom use (i.e. using condoms correctly 100% of the time during sexual intercourse) has shown to decrease the the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission, 15% of those people who use condoms 100% of the time will still become infected with HIV/AIDS if their partner has HIV/AIDS.1

1Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Prevention, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services, July 20, 2001, pp. 1-27.

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