Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission: a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on HIV serodiscordant couples
AuthorGiannou, Foteini K.
Tsiara, Chrissa G.
Nikolopoulos, Georgios K.
SourceExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
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Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to reassess the effectiveness of condoms in reducing heterosexual transmission of HIV. Methods: Medline, Scopus, and the ISI Web of Science databases were searched up to June 2014. Eligible studies were synthesized using random-effects models. Results: Twenty-five studies with 10,676 HIV serodiscordant heterosexual couples were analyzed. The risk of HIV transmission was considerably lower among couples that were always using condoms compared to never-users (RR: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.20–0.43) or inconsistent users (RR: 0.23, 0.13–0.40). The protective effect was slightly higher when the male rather than the female partner was infected (RR: 0.31, 0.20–0.48; vs. RR: 0.44, 0.24–0.80), and very high in Asian settings (RR: 0.06, 0.01–0.46). Conclusions: Though imperfect, condoms reduce HIV transmission by more than 70% when used consistently by HIV serodiscordant heterosexual couples. Social, cultural and biological differences need to be studied further to inform projection modelers and policy makers. © 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.