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HIV Drug ResistanceHIV Drug Resistance
           
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In response to your recent answer
Aug 6, 2009

I take issue with the (in my opinion) misleading information you give out on this website.

In one of your recent answers you stated :-

"If you have followed the advice of doctors and prevention counselors and wrapped your penis in a condom, the risk of transmission would be very low, <2%"

This IMPLIES that even PROTECTED sex would result in 2 infections per 100 acts of sexual intercourse.

I put it to you, Doctor Scherer, that this is WAY over the number of infections (in reality) when using a Condom.

I am HIV positive, and I beg you, if you are going to offer advice on a forum such as this, PLEASE ENSURE THAT IT IS ACCURATE AND NOT MISLEADING.

Thank you and good day.

Response from Dr. Sherer

Thank you for raising the question of condom effectiveness. It's an important topic, though somewhat tangential to this forum, which addresses drug resistance.

I stand by my statements of condom effectiveness. My comments were in the context of recommending condom use, rather than arguing against their use. I agree with the CDC that condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV; for example, in one study, compared to not using a condom, use of a condom is carries a 20x reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV. My statement of >98% effectiveness is generous by many standards; other reputable sources put condom effectiveness at 96% or below.

The average breakage rate for condoms is 2% (per CDC), i.e. 2 for every 100 condoms. And, as the CDC notes, most condom failures result from their improper use, i.e. opening the package with a sharp instrument (knife, scissors) that punctures the condom, use of condoms with a non-water soluable lubricant, use of animal skin condoms, re-use of condoms, or use of out of date expired condoms. Hence the real, but small, risk of HIV transmission when condoms are used can be further reduced by their proper use.

As to your response, I see that you feel strongly about this, but your arguments would probably have greater weight if they were supported by scientific evidence, which would be more persuasive than capital letters. I encourage you to respond with other sources of information that support your position.

For readers with an interest in more information on the subject, I have attached the link to the CDC website that addressed condom effectiveness.


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