Condoms are universally recognized as one of the most effective ways to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condom programming is an integral component of a range of HIV prevention strategies that includes informed, responsible and safer sexual behaviour through voluntary abstinence, delayed age of onset of sexual activity, fidelity, and condom use.
Neither male nor female condoms, however, are being optimally employed in the fight to prevent STIs/HIV. Condom programming for HIV prevention is a strategic approach to ensure that sexually active persons at risk of STIs/HIV are motivated to use condoms, have access to quality condoms, and can use them consistently and correctly.
Achieving sufficient magnitude to impact the HIV pandemic requires full mobilization of political will and resources, and overcoming institutional, community, and individual barriers to access and use of condoms. User needs and perspectives are at the heart of effective condom programming for STI/HIV prevention.
As both a condom supplier and an agency with considerable experience in sexual and reproductive health, UNFPA has identified condom programming as one of its 3 core areas of focus for HIV prevention, along with young people and pregnant women for whom condom use is essential for effective STI/HIV prevention.