Special NIH Review Confirms Condoms Effective against Transmission of HIV, Gonorrhea

FDA Consumer, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Special NIH Review Confirms Condoms Effective against Transmission of HIV, Gonorrhea


A special review panel led by the National Institutes of Health has concluded after examining existing research that male latex condoms can effectively reduce transmission of HIV and gonorrhea. However, the panel's report also said that there isn't enough information from well-designed studies to determine how effective condoms are in preventing most other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The report confirms that correct and consistent use of condoms can reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Epidemiological studies also indicate that condoms can prevent men from acquiring gonorrhea from a female partner, the report says. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The report, released on July 20, concluded that, because of limitations in. study designs, epidemiological evidence currently is insufficient to "draw definite conclusions" about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing spread of chlamydial infection, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

The panel said that "the absence of definitive conclusions reflected inadequacies of the evidence available and should not be interpreted as proof of the adequacy or inadequacy of the condom to reduce the risk of STDs." The panel also recommended that more research be done.

The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development organized a workshop in June 2000 to review the current research. …

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