Condom Effectiveness for Reducing Transmission of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: The Importance of Assessing Partner Infection Status

Lee Warner, Daniel R. Newman, Harland D. Austin, Mary L. Kamb, John M. Douglas, C. Kevin Malotte, Jonathan Mark Zenilman, Judy Rogers, Gail Bolan, Martin Fishbein, David G. Kleinbaum, Maurizio Macaluso, Thomas A. Peterman

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume159
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2004

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Warner, L., Newman, D. R., Austin, H. D., Kamb, M. L., Douglas, J. M., Malotte, C. K., ... Peterman, T. A. (2004). Condom Effectiveness for Reducing Transmission of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: The Importance of Assessing Partner Infection Status. American Journal of Epidemiology, 159(3), 242-251. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh044