Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Condom Use and STIs

I found a very good summary of the 2001 report evaluating the published evidence on condom use and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI, old term STD) prevention.

Some STIs facts from the article (U.S. data):


  • 830,000 infections in 2002 (estimated ~3 million per year)

  • highest rates among 15- to 19-year-olds (2,620 per 100,000 population per year) and 20 to 24 years (2,570 per 100,000 per year)

  • Gonorrhea

  • ~352,000 cases in 2002 (estimated 650,000 per year)

  • in women, highest rate among 15- to 19-year-olds (676 per 100,000 population per year)

  • Genital Herpes (HSV)

  • 45 million people infected (with herpes simplex virus type 2)

  • ~1 million new infections per year

  • prevalence is estimated to be 19% among 14- to 49-year-olds

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • an estimated 75% of the reproductive-age population has been infected

  • at any one time, 20 million people have a transmittable genital HPV infection

  • 5.5 million new cases per year

  • Trichomoniasis

  • ~5 million cases per year


  • ~850,000 to 950,000 HIV infection (one-quarter of these individuals are unaware)

  • ~385,000 people living with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

  • ~40,000 new HIV infections per year

  • half of the newly infected people are younger than 25 years of age

  • in women, the proportion of adult/adolescent AIDS cases increased from 7% to 26% (from 1985 to 2002)

  • Bottom line:

  • Consistent condom use is highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV

  • Available evidence supports the effectiveness of condoms in preventing other STDs

  • Condom use is associated with lower rates of diseases associated with HPV, including cervical cancer

  • One more crucial fact you should note: The report didn't say that condoms do not work. Rather it concluded that, when it comes to condom use and certain STIs, the data are inadequate to draw a conclusion.


    At 1:58 PM, Blogger robin said...

    >>HPV: an estimated 75% of the reproductive-age population has been infected <<

    i guess you've become my latest health expert: is that a US number or an international number??

    I ask because I said that to my gynecologist in Paris(during the medical history portion of the appointment), and she looked shocked and disagreed. It's hard for me to imagine that Western Europe would have strikingly different epidemiology for diseases like HPV.

    At 6:00 PM, Blogger ema said...

    All the numbers are for the US only (the first article I linked to has the sources--the CDC mostly). One thing you should keep in mind: because HPV is difficult to track the numbers for HPV are estimates. It also depends on the population you look at--e.g., young, sexually active, multiple partners males/females (high infection rates) vs. older, sexually active, monogamous males/females (lower infection rates). And, of course, infection does not equal overt disease: the infection can resolve on its own (the body takes care of the virus), or it's a low risk strain.

    I wasn't able to find any numbers for HPV in France. (In France, there are 3,300 cases of cervical cancer each year, with approximately 1,600 deaths. Approximately 5.5 million Pap tests are performed in France each year.) My suggestion: ask your ob/gyn to contact the French counterpart of the CDC and/or American College of Ob/Gyns and get the statistics from them.

    At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If the "infection does not equal overt disease [and] the infection can resolve on its own" can a person transmit the disease after the body has "taken care of the virus?"

    How can you tell when the virus has taken care of itself?

    If a monogamous couple is infected with the same strain of HPV, and tested negative for no other diseases, is it necessary to use a condom?


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