Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Condom promotion in sub-Saharan Africa has been accused by some conservative groups of encouraging promiscuity. This study explored the relationship between condom availability and sexually transmitted infection (STI) incidence in a closed Malawian community. An audit of clinic records charted the changing availability of condoms and the concurrent incidence of patients presenting with STI-associated urethral discharge (UD). When condoms first became available, their distribution steadily increased and the UD incidence declined. During a three-month period of unavailability, this previously uninterrupted decline was reversed and UD incidence increased. Once condoms again became available, UD incidence resumed its decline. This association was found to be statistically significant (Spearman's correlation coefficient, -0.499; P = 0.035). In a small community largely isolated from neighbouring towns, condom distribution appeared to negatively correlate with the number of patients presenting with UD. This may challenge the local belief that condoms have a damaging effect on sexual health in Malawi.

Original publication




Journal article


Int j std aids

Publication Date





559 - 562


Community Health Services, Condoms, Humans, Incidence, Malawi, Male, Retrospective Studies, Rural Population, Safe Sex, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Urethral Diseases