How Well Do Condoms Protect?
Condom breakage and slippage is estimated to occur 1-4% of the time.1-4 This is known as method failure. By far the most extensive research on condom effectiveness has been done for HIV.
A number of authors have performed meta-analyses (summaries) of other studies. These meta-analyses show that with 100% consistent condom use, condoms reduce the risk of HIV transmission by about 85%4. Condom effectiveness against transmission of bacterial diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis is significantly lower than for HIV2. Conclusive evidence is lacking for condom effectiveness against transmission of several other specific STIs, (sexually transmitted infections) such as HPV and trichomoniasis, which each affect over 5 million people annually2.
Finally effectiveness is seriously limited for the many STIs which are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, since condoms do not cover all the areas of the body which may be the source of transmission.
The major factor affecting "condom effectiveness" is not method failure, over which the user has no control, but user failure - the incorrect and inconsistent use of condoms during sexual acts.
1 Steiner M. Dominik R, et al. Contraceptive Effectiveness of morning after pills or a polyurethane condom and a latex condom; a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2003;101(3):539-547.
2 National Institutes of Health. Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention, Bethesda, MD, National Institutes of Health, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2001.
3 Freziers RG, Walsh TL, Nelson AL, Clark VA, Coulson AH. Evaluation of the efficacy of a polyurethane condom: results from a randomized, controlled, clinical trial. Fam Plann Perspect. 1999;31(2);81-87.
4 Macaluso M. Kelaghan J, Artz I, et al. Mechanical failure of the latex condom in a cohort of women at high STI risk.Sex Transm Dis. 1999;26(8):450-458.
5 How Effective are Condoms in Preventing STIs? (2009, March 1). Retrieved September 29, 2014, from https://www.medinstitute.org/condoms/
Useful Links About STDs
Did you know?
- There are over 25 different Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives1. You can get HPV by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the virus.
- Some STDs are not curable (HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis, HPV - Human Papilloma Virus)
- An estimated 65,000,000 people in the US currently have an incurable STD2
- Nearly 20 million new STD cases are reported annually, half of them among young people ages 15 to 243
- Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV4
- Condoms are not a reliable way to prevent STDs (read information above)
- Some STDs are transferred by skin to skin contact and oral sex
2 Weinstock H, et al. Sexual transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspective on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004
Relationships are complicated, no matter how old you are. Maybe it's time you stopped and asked yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a real relationship with the person I'm dating? Are we friends? Or just sexual partners?
- What are my goals for this relationship?
- What are my goals for my life?
- Is my partner helping me reach those goals or keeping me from them?
- Am I ready to be in a sexual relationship?
- Will I feel good about myself if I continue to have sex?
- If the relationship ends, will I be glad I had sex with this person?
- How would I handle the consequences that sex can bring?
- Do I want to get married at some point later in life?
- How could being sexually active with others now affect my marriage later?
- What qualities do I want in a loving relationship?
- Does the person I'm with now have those qualities? If not, what should I do?
There are so many more things to think about!
Learn how to make healthy decisions now before it's too late. The choices you are making now, WILL affect your future. Choose wisely! Make an appointment to speak with one of our lay counselors.
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