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Condom use in England rises sixfold

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7270.1174/b (Published 11 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1174

Rapid Response:

No rigour - more condoms in use or just pill takers get GP supplies?

Editor - Surely not only BMJ authors but also your headline writers
need to apply some methodological rigour in their BMJ reports? Today I
read, 'Condom use in England rises sixfold' in the News section, but,
though I hope use has increased over the last quarter century with greater
awareness about HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases, the article
does not tell me this.

Firstly, the study population is family planning
clinic attenders, and secondly percentages rather than absolute numbers
are given, so I have no information about absolute numbers or use in the
general population. Over this period, which started only just after
general practitioners were paid for provision of contraceptive advice,
family planning services have developed in general practice, where there
is no core funding for condoms, nor are they available on prescription.

Meanwhile, many family planning clinics have had their resources cut back
but continue to be the only source of condoms for many women. Thus I would
expect a proportionate rise in condom use in relation to other methods in
clinic attenders.

Two things are needed, core provision of condom in general practice as
part of an effective sexual health strategy, and accurate headlines in
your News section!

Anna Eleri Livingstone,

General Practitioner.

1. Kmietowicz Zosia, Condom use in England rises six fold. BMJ
2000;321:1174

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 November 2000
Anna Eleri Livingstone