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Accuracy of condom studies affected by key measurements.

This systematic review assesses the importance of four key design and measurement factors in studying condom effectiveness: distinguishing consistent from inconsistent use; measured correct use and condom use problems; distinguished new infection from pre-existing infection; and selected a study population with documented exposure to gonorrhea or chlamydia during the time condom use was being assessed. The authors find that 80% of studies using two or more of these measurement factors found statistically significant protective effects of condom use compared to only 43% of those studies including one or none of them. Most studies showed that condom use was associated with some reduced risk for gonorrhea and chlamydia, but magnitude of risk reduction was unclear due to limitations and variations in methods and study designs. The authors write that in comparison to studies on condom use and HIV prevention these studies suffered from methodological weaknesses. Key areas to develop are methods for accurate measurement of condom use--given the problems with self-reporting--and how best to identify study populations with documented exposure to infection to ensure that measurement of reductions in risk are possible during the actual period of observation. (1)

(1.) Macaluso M, Warner L, Stone KM. Condom use and risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia: a systematic review of design and measurement factors assessed in epidemiologic studies. Sexually Transmitted Diseases 2006;33(1)36-51.
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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Condoms
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Previous Article:Nasreen Huq.
Next Article:Future studies on condom effectiveness.

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