Approximately 19 million cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), occur in the United States each year (1). For sexually active persons, male latex condoms remain the most widely available and commonly used barrier method for prevention of STI (2). When used consistently and correctly, male condoms reduce the risk of pregnancy and most STIs, including HIV, according to results of laboratory and clinical studies. Levels of condom use have continued to increase in recent years, as shown in national surveys of adolescents and adults (3–6), largely in response to the HIV epidemic. Condom use at last intercourse, for example, has now risen to more than 60% among adolescents (4) and adults at risk (6). Moreover, according to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) (3), more than 13 million reproductive age women currently use condoms for contraception or protection from STIs, an increase from 9 million in the 1995 survey (7). Condom use thus continues to be an important part of public health efforts to prevent acquisition of STIs.

While there is general consensus that condoms must play a central role in any STI/HIV prevention program (8), how strongly condoms should be recommended to sexually active persons and those contemplating sexual activity remains controversial. Despite recent increases in condom use, current levels of use are likely insufficient for effective prevention of STIs. Questions about the effectiveness of condoms for STI prevention have also raised concerns regarding public health recommendations for their use (9–11).


Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Genital Herpes Sexually Transmit Disease Male Condom 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Warner
    • 1
  • Katherine M. Stone
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health PromotionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionGeorgiaUSA

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