A meta-analysis of condom effectiveness in reducing sexually transmitted HIV

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Jun;36(12):1635-44. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90352-5.


Before condoms can be considered as a prophylaxis for sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), their efficacy must be considered. This paper reviews evidence on condom effectiveness in reducing the risk of heterosexually transmitted human HIV. A meta-analysis conducted on data from in vivo studies of HIV discordant sexual partners is used to estimate the protective effect of condoms. Although contraceptive research indicates that condoms are 87% effective in preventing pregnancy, results of HIV transmission studies indicate that condoms may reduce risk of HIV infection by approximately 69%. Thus, efficacy may be much lower than commonly assumed, although results should be viewed tentatively due to design limitations in the original studies.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Condoms*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Hemophilia A / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Work
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / complications
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / prevention & control*