A new study focused on the role of something that’s a bit of a hybrid between old and new school: Craigslist classifieds, which have also become a popular way of arranging hookups. By comparing areas before and after the arrival of a local Craigslist, Jason Chan and Anindya Ghose found that the availability of these classifieds are associated with a 16 percent increase in new HIV infections.
The study was prompted by a couple of well-described phenomena. One is that people are using the convenience and relative anonymity of the Internet to find partners; interviews with users of various services show that they post ads not only for what the authors term “no-strings-attached relationships,” but they’re also looking for more diverse sexual experiences, and part of that includes having multiple partners (not necessarily at once).
The other thing that intrigued the authors is the fact that HIV rates in most of the US had either been steady or falling through the early part of this century. But starting in 2005, that trend reversed, and rates have continued to climb since. This trend has often been attributed to the development of effective viral control strategies, which have reduced the fear of infection.
While lab test shows that the latex barrier can stop all the virus, other test results about the uncontrolled real life usage of condoms demonstrates that a sock made of a delicate barrier, placed by an operator under not quite cool headed conditions, after being stored for who knows how long, in unsuitable conditions (think the car glovebox)… The estimates for actual efficacy goes down to about 70%… If the condoms are new, having been in proper storage and checked to be properly in place – they work much closer to the theoretical effectiveness. That’s still 70% better than no condom…