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safe sex question that I think everyone wants to know
Jun 6, 2001

I know you can not give a 100 for sure answer. But in your professional opinion, how 'risky' is sex with a condom. What I mean is normal, vaginal sex, with the condom not busting or not slipping off, and put on correctly.

'They' say condoms are 98 or something close to that effective. Are 'they' figuring the 2 ineffectiveness is do to improper use, Or even used correctly with no failure, 98+/- is as high as it getrs ?

Thank you for your time

Response from Mr. Kull

You ask a great question. General figures on condom effectiveness are based on different studies performed by different researchers and how those researchers define effectiveness, efficacy, or failure. Each of those studies may or may not define condom failure or condom effectiveness in the same exact way. For instance, one study may include in the definition of condom failure breakage, slippage, or the failure to use a condom. Other studies may only look at the rate of breakage or slippage and exclude data about couples failing to use a condom. And even other studies may only examine how often HIV is transmitted among serodiscordant couples who use condoms consistently. All of this information is crucial to understanding statistics about HIV transmission and prevention.

If condoms break 3% of the time, that does not mean a condom is only 97% effective in preventing transmission if it DOESN'T break. An intact condom is close to 100% effective in preventing transmission of HIV.

Condom breakage during intercourse is estimated to be anywhere form 1% to 18% (based on a survey of literature), and the CDC reports the overall average of condom failure (based on studies) to be about 3%. In a 1987-1991 study of mixed-HIV-status couples, all 123 couples who used condoms every time for four years prevented transmission of HIV. In another study, among 122 couples who DID NOT use condoms every time, 12 partners became infected. In yet another large study, among couples who used condoms consistently, there were 0, 1.1, and 1.0 seroconversions per 100-person years (CDC). These numbers speak to the decreased odds of transmission when condoms are used.

Look at these links for more information about condoms:

"Can you get an STD if you use a condom?" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/PreventionSexual/Q2973.qna)

"Condom Failure" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/PreventionSexual/Q2944.qna)

"HIV and condoms" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/PreventionSexual/Q9645.qna)

RMK



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