Condom Use for Preventing HIV Infection

Consistent and correct condom use was one of the earliest recommendations for preventing HIV infection at the start of the pandemic outbreak in the early 1980s. It remains an essential tool in preventing the transmission of not only HIV, but also other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Latex condoms offer an impermeable barrier, preventing the bodily fluids that contain HIV from entering a partner during sex and infecting that person.

In 2000, NIAID conducted a rigorous review of scientific evidence on latex condoms to determine their efficacy in preventing the spread of HIV. The review included epidemiologic and laboratory studies, both of which conclusively demonstrated that the correct and consistent use of male latex condoms decreased the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85 percent, providing a high degree of protection against infection.

Condom use is recommended today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a key method of preventing HIV during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Condoms are recommended for use in conjunction with other methods of prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), in order to get the most protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Content last reviewed on February 9, 2016