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Extra wetness eases condom breakage


BARCELONA, Spain, July 12 (UPI) -- Extra lubrication with spermicide reduces condom breakage and the risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, a British researcher said Friday at the 14th International AIDS Conference.

Furthermore, said Mark Gabbay of the University of Liverpool, the extra wetness significantly increases pleasure for both men and women.

"Acceptable and effective additional lubrication will boost condom popularity," Gabbay told conference attendees, which in turn will help to reduce HIV transmission because more people will use condoms. He said condom failures potentially expose couples around the world to more than 255 million pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases every year.

The researchers followed 145 heterosexual couples, who used 12,530 condoms during the study, Gabbay said. Very few of the condoms in the study broke, Gabbay said, but more than twice as many failed in the group that did not use extra lubrication.

Physician Ronald Valdiserri, of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, said the idea extra lubrication reduces condom breakage is "not unknown in the health field, but it's great we have a study to show it." He added most studies on condom failure show the users -- not the product -- failed. "They didn't put it on, or they had sex for a while and then put it on, or it came off," Valdiserri said.

In the study, couples were switched from one group to another so they were able to rate the difference between condoms with and without extra lubrication. Gabbay said some couples found the extra lubrication messy or an unwanted interruption. However, a "significant proportion considered sex with additional spermicide to be more pleasurable," he said.

"It's great the scientists asked that question," Valdiserri said. "It's a hint for the marketers: If people like it more, people are going to buy it more."


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Information in this article was accurate in July 12, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.