Condoms have long been recommended to reduce the spread of HIV, but a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that when condoms are used 100% of the time, they are proven to be 91% effective at stopping HIV transmission.
Past reports have said that condoms were 70% effective, so the new figure represents a huge step forward.
The CDC points to changes in their methodology for the jump: rather than looking at each sexual encounter, they put more emphasis at the study participants’ number of partners. This is important, as the risk of contracting HIV decreases over time with those have more than one sexual encounter within a couple.
Ironically, the CDC also found that a single person with multiple partners also saw a decrease in transmission with the more partners they had.
The new number also puts condom use by same-sex couples on a similar footing with mixed-sex couples: condoms, when used 100% of the time, after 76%-93% effective for mixed-sex couples, according to the report.
The study did not, however, go beyond condom use. It does not, for example, take the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) into account. It also only focuses on those who use condoms 100% of the time, which is often not the case.