How safe are condoms against HIV – assess yourself
In one UK survey, holes were found in up to thirty-two out of a hundred condoms of the least reliable makes. These holes were gross defects, not microscopic holes seen in some latex (5 micron, HIV is 0.1 micron), which are worrying but probably far less significant. The British Standards Institute permits up to three out of a hundred to have holes in them when they leave the factory. In the US, government standards allow only four condoms out of every thousand to have leaks. But users still experience a failure rate of between 3% and 15%, which is the percentage of women who have an unwanted pregnancy using this method of birth control over a year.
A spokesman from the London Rubber Company (Durex) admitted that if incorrectly used, the failure rate of condoms could be anything from 25% up to 100%, and there are real problems with teaching people how to use them
Another study of partners using condoms suggests that the risk of catching HIV is reduced by 85%. That sounds excellent, but it is not. If you persist in sleeping regularly with someone who is positive or with numbers of unknown people who are possibly positive, then eventually, condom or no condom, you may get AIDS. Vaginal or anal sex using a condom is not a low-risk or no-risk activity. It carries a medium risk at best.
World Health Organisation: `The most effective way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV is to abstain, or for two people who are not infected to be faithful to one another. Alternatively, the correct use of a condom will reduce the risk significantly.’