An article examining the effectiveness of Food and Drug Administration proposed condom package labeling, co-authored by Amy Bleakley, a research scientist in the Health Communication Group of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, has been published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.
Bleakley, and co-authors Martin Fishbein, director of APPC’s Health Communication Group, and David Holtgrave of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, write that the impact of the FDA proposed changes for condom labels on HIV-related beliefs and intentions to use a condom is not different from the impact of the current label.
The current FDA-approved language on condom packages includes use instructions, an expiration date and the simple warning that latex may cause an allergic reaction. The FDA has proposed the inclusion of additional information: “When used correctly every time you have sex, latex condoms greatly reduce, but do not eliminate the risk of pregnancy and the risk of catching or spreading HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”
Alternatively, language taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website conveys a message that condoms work and provide protection against HIV infection, as well as raising consciousness about the risks of contracting HIV through unprotected sex. This language states that condoms “when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”
The researchers found that among unmarried populations the CDC wording was more likely to encourage the recommendation of condom use to friends and was also associated with beliefs about how condoms reduce risk of HIV transmission because it stressed efficacy versus risk.