A systematic review of randomised controlled trials of interventions promoting effective condom use

We identified 139 trials. Seven out of ten trials reported reductions in ‘any STI’ with five statistically significant results. Three out of four trials reported reductions in pregnancy, although none was statistically significant. Only four trials met all the quality criteria. Trials reported a median of 11 (IQR 7–17) outcome measures. Few trials used the same outcome measure. Altogether, 10 trials (7%) used the outcome ‘any STI’, 4 (3%) self-reported pregnancy and 22 (16%) used ‘condom use at last sex’. The results are generally consistent with modest benefits but there is considerable potential for bias due to poor trial quality. Because of the low proportion of trials using the same outcome the potential for bias from selective reporting of outcomes is considerable. Despite the public health importance of increasing condom use there is little reliable evidence on the effectiveness of condom promotion interventions.