Many critics of the African circumcision trials drew the obvious conclusion that a push for male circumcision in Africa and elsewhere would result in a corresponding drop in condom use. In a partially useful risk reduction intervention, such a result would necessarily negate any gains. Now we have proof from another intervention, the female condom.
Researchers did a follow up on a trial that sought to increase the use of both condoms and female diaphragms. They found that after the trial ended, the use of the dual technique dropped to pre-intervention levels. They concluded, and further commented on an upcoming intervention, “The results showed us that it is a challenge to use concurrent HIV prevention methods … . If tenofovir gel becomes available, women may ask – if we have the microbicide, why use a condom?”
Does that last line sound familiar? It should.