Increased Condom Use Among African Women Provides Hope in Fight Against AIDS
November 17, 2006
In an analysis of data including 132,800 African women from 18 countries published today, British and World Health Organization (WHO) researchers found increasing condom use among populations where AIDS incidence has historically been highest.
While abstinence rates changed little from 1993-2001, condom use more than tripled from 5.3 percent to 18.8 percent, reported Professor John Cleland of London's School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and WHO's Dr. Mohammed Ali. The median annual increase of 1.4 percent in condom use is "not rapid enough, but if that continues or even accelerates, it's bound to make a dent on HIV transmission," said Cleland.
While that progress is slow, it is appreciable, said Dr. Kevin O'Reilley, a WHO HIV prevention expert. "It's not as desperate as people are painting it to be."
As a comparison, Cleland said the increase in condom use among African women is more than double the rate at which US men are quitting cigarette smoking. Since 60 percent of single African women who use a condom do so to avoid pregnancy, condom use might be encouraged by linking them to family planning programs, suggested the study.
"You might get more impact for your dollar in aligning condom use with contraception than disease prevention," said Cleland.
The full report, "Sexual Abstinence, Contraception, and Condom Use by Young African Women: A Secondary Analysis of Survey Data," was published in the Lancet (2006;368(9549):1788-1793).
11.17.2006; Marcia Cheng
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.