What is a condom worth?

Steven D. Pinkerton, Paul R. Abramson, David R. Holtgrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this study, we propose a framework for assessing the economic value of condoms and provide estimates of the potential societal savings, in the form of decreased HIV-related medical care and lost productivity costs, that accrue from use of condoms. A probabilistic model of HIV transmission was used to estimate reductions in HIV risk attributable to condom use. This estimate was combined with an estimate of the cost to society of a single case of HIV infection to determine a lower bound for the potential societal savings associated with condom use. Several condom use scenarios were considered (including multiple uses with a single partner and multiple uses with multiple partners) for each of three populations: low-risk heterosexuals, high-risk heterosexuals, and men who have sex with men. The savings exceeded the estimated cost of producing and distributing condoms in all but one of the scenarios considered. For multiple condom uses, the per- condom savings ranged from about 50 cents for low-risk heterosexuals to over $500 for multi-partnered men who have sex with men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-312
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Condoms
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • HIV prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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