Recommendations for research

The guideline committee has made the following recommendations for research.

1 What measures would make up an effective, standardised approach to evaluation of condom distribution schemes?

How can we develop a standardised framework to evaluate condom schemes and what would be included in that evaluation?

Why this is important

Hundreds of condom schemes in the UK are collecting data on usage. But the focus is on the number of condoms distributed and number of users. UK-specific evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of schemes, using standardised frameworks for data collection and evaluation, would support outcome-based commissioning. It would also allow comparison of the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different models of condom provision and support local learning. High level area or national datasets would enable more rigorous analysis of the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different types of scheme.

2 How can the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of condom schemes in the UK be improved for people at most risk of STIs?

How can we ensure the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the C‑Card and other UK-based condom schemes for preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies among groups at high risk? What are the essential components of an effective scheme?

Why this is important

We did not identify any UK-based comparative studies on condom schemes. Information about the essential components needed and how these schemes can be tailored for, and targeted at, different population groups is needed. In addition, information is needed on their impact on STI rates. Based on such data, more effective and cost-effective condom schemes can be introduced.

3 What behaviour change techniques are most effective as part of a condom distribution scheme?

What combinations of behaviour change techniques can be used to help condom schemes increase condom use among different high-risk groups?

Why this is important

Many evaluations have been published on behavioural interventions to increase condom use. But the effectiveness of these interventions in the context of condom schemes has not been measured. In addition, many of these studies examined 'intention to use' condoms rather than actual use. Using an established taxonomy of behaviour change techniques to identify the most effective combinations could increase the effectiveness of schemes.

4 How can digital technologies be used to increase access to, and uptake of, condom schemes?

Can digital technologies such as web-based schemes increase access to, and uptake of, schemes among people who live in areas without a face-to-face condom scheme or who would prefer to remain anonymous?

Why this is important

There is a potential equality issue inherent in providing targeted condom schemes. Increasing access for broader at-risk populations (for example, in rural areas) would help to offset the potential differential effects of these schemes.

5 Can GP practices deliver effective and cost-effective condom schemes to reduce STIs?

Can condom schemes be effective and cost effective in GP practices to reduce STIs? Can they be delivered in ways that are acceptable to GPs and other practice staff? In addition, how can the impact of such schemes be maximised?

Why this is important

Many GPs are interested in delivering condom schemes, and this could have a number of benefits. For example, the UK network of GP practices could improve delivery in rural areas and to other populations with poor access to services or who do not use existing services. Conversely, some people might be reluctant to get free condoms from their local GP.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)