Condoms and lubricant CDC researchers publish estimate of effectiveness of condom use in anal sex

Published: December 19, 2014

Gus Cairns
Original Article:

A paper this month in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes finally makes publicly available a study – originally reported by Aidsmap nearly two years ago from the 2013 CROI conference but until now unobtainable even as an abstract – which gives an estimate for the effectiveness of 100% condom use as the strategy of choice for the prevention of HIV infection in gay men. They estimate that condoms used consistently stop seven out of ten HIV infections acquired through anal sex between men.

This analysis, by Dawn K Smith and three other researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyses two historic studies of condom use and HIV incidence in gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US – one, VAX004, from 1998-1999 and the other, EXPLORE, from 1999-2001.

It finds an overall effectiveness of 70.5% in both studies for all anal sex with a partner who has HIV. The effectiveness where the HIV-negative partner is the receptive partner is slightly higher at 72.3%. This contrasts with an approximately 80% effectiveness of consistent condom use as a prevention strategy in several meta-analyses of studies of heterosexuals.

The difference between the MSM and heterosexual studies is not actually statistically significant, but Smith and colleagues argue that “it is more appropriate to use the MSM-specific point estimate of 70% effectiveness for discussions and models involving anal sex among MSM than to continue use of the heterosexual 80% effectiveness point estimate for MSM”.

Full text of article available at link below:


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