A condom vending machine in Vatican City Numerous studies have shown that condoms, if used consistently and correctly, arehighly effective at preventing HIV infection.
Also there is no evidence that promotingcondoms leads to increased sexual activity among young people. Therefore condomsshould be made readily and consistently available to all those who need them.
There is now very strong evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIVtransmission from women to men by around 50%, which is enough to justify its promotion as an HIV prevention measure in some high-prevalence areas.
However,studies of circumcisionand HIV suggest that the procedure does not reduce the
likelihood of male-to-female transmission, and the effect on male-to-male transmission isunknown.
Some sexually transmitted infections - most notablygenital herpes- have been found tofacilitate HIV transmission during sex. Treating these other infections may thereforecontribute to HIV prevention.
Trials in which HIV-negative people were given dailytreatment to suppress genital herpes have found no reduction in the rate at which they become infected with HIV. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that treating genitalherpes in HIV positive people may reduce the risk of them transmitting HIV to their partners. Further research is ongoing.
What are the obstacles?
It is usually not easy for people to sustain changes in sexual behaviour. In particular,young people often have difficulty remaining abstinent, and women in male-dominatedsocieties are frequently unable to negotiate condom use, let alone abstinence. Manycouples are compelled to have unprotected sex in order to have children. Others associatecondoms with promiscuity or lack of trust.
Some societies find it difficult to discuss sex openly, and some authorities restrict whatsubjects can be discussed in the classroom, or in public information campaigns, for moral