Two Dutch studies published in the
International Journal of Cancer
dispute claims by Bush administration officials that condom use has no impact on the spread of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, AIDSmap.com reports. The studies show that consistent condom use by men and women with HPV-related genital warts can hasten the regression of the warts and speed up the time it takes the body to clear infection with the virus. Because HPV can be spread by touch, Bush administration officials and conservative lawmakers say condoms are ineffective against the STD and are pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to include warnings on condom boxes about the inability of condoms to prevent the disease. But the Dutch studies show condom use clearly has an impact on the disease.
The first study involved a total of 123 women with precancerous cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, which is caused by certain subtypes of HPV. The women were randomly split into two groups, one of which would consistently use condoms with their regular male sexual partners and the other of which would not. CIN in the women in the condom group showed a two-year cumulative regression rate of 53% compared to 35% in women who did not use condoms. HPV infection was cleared by 23% of women who used condoms, compared to only 4% of women not using condoms.
The second study involved the male partners of women with CIN who had penile warts. A total of 57 men were randomized to use condoms consistently for three months, and 43 men were randomized into a condom nonuser group. Condom use shortened the time to regression of penile lesions to 7.4 months in the condom group versus 13.9 months in those not using condoms.
The researchers theorize that the use of condoms prevented continued transmission of HPV between partners, preventing reinfection with HPV and promoting quicker clearance of the virus.