Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 139–144 | Cite as

Revitalizing Condom-Centered HIV Prevention Strategies

  • Joshua D. O’NealEmail author
  • Lorree C. Berteau
The Science of Prevention (JD Stekler, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on The Science of Prevention


HIV infection rates remain steady in the USA despite the numerous prevention programs and tools available. Condoms play a central role in HIV prevention because they are highly effective, readily available, and affordable. Unfortunately, condom promotion efforts often incite fear as a motive force, while also taking the common “one-size-fits-all” approach. Reframing condom promotion through a sexual health framework, focusing on pleasure and highlighting condom fit issues, improves intervention efficacy. Condom distribution policies may further perpetuate condom users’ difficulty, by withholding particular condom styles, brands, and information highlighting the nuances in shape, size, and material. Condom education and distribution practices focused on pleasure, proper fit, and condom access issues might increase condom utilization among high-risk populations.


Condoms Condom usage Condom distribution Condom education Condom fit Condom access Sexual health HIV/AIDS Evidence-based interventions HIV prevention Sexual behavior Sexually transmitted infections 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Joshua O’Neal and Lorree Berteau declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

  1. 1.
    CDC Estimated HIV incidence in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012;17(No. 4). Published December 2012
  2. 2.
    CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 U.S. dependent areas—2011. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2013;18(No. 5). Published October 2013.
  3. 3.
    Widman L, Golin CE, Grodensky CA, Suchindran C. Do safer sex self-efficacy, attitudes toward condoms, and HIV transmission risk beliefs differ among men who have sex with men, heterosexual men, and women living with HIV? AIDS Behav. 2013;17(5):1873–82.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fenton KA, Johnson AM, McManus S, Erens B. Measuring sexual behaviour: methodological challenges in survey research. Sex Transm Infect. 2001;77(2):84–92.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.••
    Crosby RA. State of condom use in HIV prevention science and practice. Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 2013;10(1):59–64. Crosby’s article precedes the current article, providing the groundwork of current condom research that is expanded upon here. Crosby highlights essential aspects and findings throughout a current condom research including condom-use frequency, condom efficacy, innovative condom design, and condom promotion from a sex-positive perspective.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.••
    O’Neal, J. Condoms, pleasure & policy: gay men explore condom fit and access issues. (Unpublished master’s thesis), 2013. Available from San Francisco State University library catalog (AS36 2013 HMSX.O54). This Master’s thesis explores condom fit and access issues solicited from a needs assessment conducted with MSM and several condom distribution entities. This project also utilized a condom fit intervention that proved to be effective in helping participants find the proper condom fit with increase sensation and pleasure. The findings from this assessment provide the topics and material covered in the current article.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Philpott A, Knerr W, Maher D. Promoting protection and pleasure: amplifying the effectiveness of barriers against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Lancet. 2006;368:2028–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.•
    O’Reilly, K. R., Fonner, V. A., Kennedy, C. E., & Sweat, M. D. Free condom distribution: what we don’t know may hurt us. AIDS and Behavior, 2014 1–3. This article highlights the lack of research regarding the effectiveness of free condom distribution programs and their subsequent impacts on condom utilization and HIV/STI prevention.Google Scholar
  9. 9.•
    Newby KV, Brown KE, French DP, Wallace LM. Which outcome expectancies are important in determining young adults’ intentions to use condoms with casual sexual partners?: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):133. Newby provides important findings related to successful approaches for condom promotion and integration among young men in their article. CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Catania JA, Coates TJ, Stall R. Changes in condom use among homosexual men in San Francisco. Health Psychol. 1991;10(3):190–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    FDA. Guidance for industry: latex condoms for men—information for 510(k) premarket notifications: use of consensus standards for abbreviated submissions. 2014.
  12. 12.
    Schneider T, Sperling H, Lümmen G, Syllwasschy J, Rübben H. Does penile size in younger men cause problems in condom use? A prospective measurement of penile dimensions in 111 young and 32 older men. Urology. 2001;57(2):314–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Reece M, Dodge B, Herbenick D, Fisher C, Alexander A, Satinsky S. Experiences of condom fit and feel among African-American men who have sex with men. Sex Transm Infect. 2007;83:454–7.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.••
    Milhausen RR, Wood J, Sanders SA, Crosby RA, Yaber WL, Graham CA. A novel, self-guided, home-based intervention to promote condom use among young men: A pilot study. Journal of Men’s Health. 2011;8(4):274–81. Milhausen is the first researcher to provide a condom fit intervention that highlights the nuances in condom styles, encouraging users to find a better fitting condom for increased condom efficacy. This intervention also proved to be successful at reducing condom errors and increasing condom use post-intervention. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.••
    Hill BJ, Janssen E, Kvam P, Amick EE, Sanders SA. The effect of condoms on penile vibrotactile sensitivity thresholds in young, heterosexual men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014;11(1):102–6. Hill and their team were the first to study the physiological impacts of condoms on penis sensitivity thresholds. This innovative approach could be utilized in future studies focused on condoms’ impact on pleasure and sensation. CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.•
    Grov C, Wells BE, Parsons JT. Self-reported penis size and experiences with condoms among gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2013;42(2):313–22. This article demonstrates the variation in condom users’ bodies and the subsequent impact of condom fit, proving condom fit directly influences condom utilization and consistent condom use. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sanders SA, Yarber WL, Kaufman EL, Crosby RA, Graham CA, Milhausen RR. Condom use errors and problems: a global view. Sex Health. 2012;9:81–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Reece M, Herbenick D, Dodge B. Penile dimensions and men’s perceptions of condom fit and feel. Sex Transm Infect. 2009;85:127–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Crosby RA, Graham CA, Yarber WL, Sanders SA. If the condom fits, wear it: a qualitative study of young African-American men. Sex Transm Infect. 2004;80:306–9.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Crosby RA, Yaber WL, Sanders SA, Graham CA. Condom discomfort and associated problems with their use among university students. J Am Coll Heal. 2005;54(3):143–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Reece M, Herbenick D, Sanders SA, Monahan P, Temkit M, Yarber WL. Breakage, slippage and acceptability outcomes of a condom fitted to penile dimensions. Sex Transm Infect. 2008;84:143–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Charania MR, Crepaz N, Guenther-Gray C, Henny K, Liau A, Willis LA, et al. Efficacy of structural-level condom distribution interventions: a meta-analysis of US and international studies, 1998–2007. AIDS Behav. 2011;15(7):1283–97.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Khosropour, C., & Sullivan, P. S. Receipt and use of free condoms among us men who have sex with men. Public Health Reports 2013 (Washington, DC: 1974), 128(5), 385–392Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    HIV and AIDS estimates and data, 2001–2007. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from 2008 Report/2008/JC1511_GR08_ExecutiveSummary_en.pdf
  25. 25.
    Karim QA, Sibeko S, Baxter C. Preventing HIV infection in women: a global health imperative. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2010;50(Supplement 3):S122–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Adimora AA, Ramirez C, Auerbach JD, Aral SO, Hodder S, Wingood G, et al. Preventing HIV infection in women. JAIDS. 2013;63:S168–73.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Silverman JG, McCauley HL, Decker MR, Miller E, Reed E, Raj A. Coercive forms of sexual risk and associated violence perpetrated by male partners of female adolescents. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2011;43(1):60–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Holland, L., Ramazanoglu, C., Sharpe, S., Thompson, R. (2004) The male in the head: young people, heterosexuality and power. Tufnell Press.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Develop the next generation condom. (2013, March 1). Retrieved October 14, 2014, from
  30. 30.
    Cooperstein, P. (2013, November 22). These 11 innovative condoms just got grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved October 14, 2014Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mache, S. (2014, June 13). Air-infused female condoms. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sexuality StudiesSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary DepartmentCity College of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations