This condom study shows that women in discordant couples were HIGHLY protected from HSV2 acquisition when condoms were used 25% of the time or more, but men were not statistically significantly protected. Is this accurate and/or widely known? The study says this is likely due to anatomy differences and virus pathology - specifically that condoms cover the riskiest area of virus shedding from a man, but women shed virus from a larger area, including higher risk areas that may make contact with the skin of a man not covered by a condom.
Is there a reason why condom use is not stressed more when people give risk reduction advice for a HSV2+ male in a discordant relationship with a HSV2- woman? According to this study, the risk of discordant women acquiring HSV2 is reduced 90% by condom use (compare to the 48% risk reduction for valacyclovir suppression therapy).
Why do people say condoms are 40-50% risk reduction, and not mention the gender specific risk reduction? According to this study, it seems like condoms actually provide a 90% risk reduction for women and very little risk reduction for men in discordant heterosexual relationships . . . can someone help to explain this please?
Is the 40-50% that people quote for condom risk reduction just the average (women 90%, men 0%, so average = ~45% risk reduction. . . I really hope that's not where that number comes from, because that could be a bit misleading).
From the study (link below):
"Our data allow us to estimate how many cases of HSV-2 could be averted with consistent condom use in discordant couples. In the United States, an estimated 500,000 persons acquire HSV-2 infection each year, of whom an estimated 350,000 are women. Assuming a relative risk for HSV-2 infection of 10 for women who use condoms 25% of the time or less, more consistent condom use may avert up to 315,000 new cases of HSV-2 infection among women. Unfortunately, condom use remains infrequent in the general population."
Thanks in advance.