Some interesting findings in a new study by CDC researcher Dawn Smith. Smith’s findings directly conflict with the agenda of “condoms now, condoms only, condoms always” campaigners such as Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
The data analysis, reported by Smith at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013) on March 4, has provided the first estimate of the efficacy of condoms in preventing HIV transmission during anal sex since 1989. It found condoms stop seven out of ten anal transmissions – the same efficacy found by the 1989 study.
Smith also found that only 16 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) reported consistent condom use during the study period.
“The point estimate in our analysis of condom effectiveness when ‘always’ used by MSM during anal sex with any HIV-positive male partners is 70 percent, modestly less than the 80 percent estimate for condoms when ‘always’ used by heterosexual HIV-discordant couples,” the study concludes. “Although these point estimates do not differ by tests of statistical significance, it is more appropriate to use the MSM specific point estimate of 70 percent effectiveness for discussions and models involving anal sex among MSM than to continue use of the heterosexual 80 percent effectiveness point estimate for MSM.
The study reviewed data from two studies and included information on nearly 8,000 men who have sex with men with nearly 50,000 follow up visits. The data was drawn from the VAX 004 study from 1998-1999 and Project Explore which enrolled men from 1999-2001. The Project Explore data contributed information on 3,233 men, while VAX 004 contributed data on 4,492 men.