Condom effectiveness for reducing transmission of gonorrhea and chlamydia: the importance of assessing partner infection status.

Warner L, Newman DR, Austin HD, Kamb ML, Douglas JM Jr, Malotte CK, Zenilman JM, Rogers J, Bolan G, Fishbein M, Kleinbaum DG, Macaluso M, Peterman TA.

Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Feb 1;159(3):242-51. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwh044.

This analysis examined the importance of differential exposure to infected partners in epidemiologic studies of latex condom effectiveness for prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Cross-sectional, enrollment visit data were analyzed from Project RESPECT, a trial of counseling interventions conducted at five publicly funded US sexually transmitted disease clinics between 1993 and 1997. The association between consistent condom use in the previous 3 months and prevalent gonorrhea and chlamydia (Gc/Ct) was compared between participants known to have infected partners and participants whose partner infection status was unknown. Among 429 participants with known Gc/Ct exposure, consistent condom use was associated with a significant reduction in prevalent gonorrhea and chlamydia (30% vs. 43%; adjusted prevalence odds ratio = 0.42, 95% confidence interval: 0.18, 0.99). Among 4,314 participants with unknown Gc/Ct exposure, consistent condom use was associated with a lower reduction in prevalent gonorrhea and chlamydia (24% vs. 25%; adjusted prevalence odds ratio = 0.82, 95% confidence interval: 0.66, 1.01). The number of unprotected sex acts was significantly associated with infection when exposure was known (p for trend < 0.01) but not when exposure was unknown (p for trend = 0.73). Restricting analyses to participants with known exposure to infected partners provides a feasible and efficient mechanism for reducing confounding from differential exposure to infected partners in condom effectiveness studies.

PMID: 14742284

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.