Study: Intermittent Condom Use Nearly as Useless as No Condom

But those who use condoms 100% of the time can largely avoid the virus.

BY Michelle Garcia

March 08 2013 2:03 PM ET

Men who used condoms every time they had anal sex were 70% less likely to acquire HIV than men who never used condoms, according to a study whose results were announced Sunday at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

Meanwhile, only using condoms intermittently was nearly as ineffective at preventing HIV as not using condoms at all over an extended period of time, according to the study. Among all men having anal sex, men who said they used condoms every single time were 68% less likely to become infected with HIV than men who said they sometimes used them.

Only one in six gay men were able to avoid HIV infection with inconsistent condom use for anal sex over a four-year period.

The study on the effectiveness in preventing HIV through condom use was the first study of its kind since 1989. According to AIDS Map, HIV transmission through anal sex is severely under-studied—evidenced by the fact that scientists are somewhat unclear about the extent to which condoms actually prevent HIV transmission in anal sex. 

If used consistently and properly, condoms still boasts high effectiveness rate. According to NBC News, condoms cut risk of HIV infection by about 80%; essentially, a less than a 1% chance of infection per year.

Tags: Prevention

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