Anal sex: Can ordinary condoms protect against STIs?

Regulatory authorities have approved the sale of condoms designed specifically for anal sex.

The use of condoms and other barrier methods have long been recommended for all sexual intercourse, including anal sex, for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. But the condoms available on the market have been designed for vaginal sex, discouraging many from wearing them for anal sex, research suggests.

Background

Researchers from Emory University conducted a clinical study of more than 500 men to assess condom safety, using condoms designed specifically for anal use but which could be used for vaginal intercourse as well.

Participants were divided into two groups of men who have sex with women and men who have sex with men. Findings from the research showed that condom failure rate - when a condom breaks or slipped - was less than 1% during anal sex. The failure rate was three times higher during vaginal intercourse.

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70% of men who have sex with men were more likely to use condoms marked as safe for anal sex. Getty/ PeopleImages

The researchers also found that about 70% of men who have sex with men were more likely to use condoms marked as safe for anal sex than they were to use others. This was based on a survey of 10,000 people.

Anal condom

Based on this research, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration, approved the first-ever condom intended for safe anal intercourse. Marketed as One Male condom, the contraceptive is expected to help reduce the transmission STIs including HIV/AIDS, which is highly transmitted through anal intercourse than vaginal sex.

HIV and other STIs like HPV also increase the risk of anal cancer among people who have either.

In a statement, the FDA said it hopes the anal condom would help minimize the risk of STIs.

The risk of STI transmission during anal intercourse is significantly higher than during vaginal intercourse. The FDA’s authorization of a condom that is specifically indicated, evaluated and labelled for anal intercourse may improve the likelihood of condom use during anal intercourse

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