Condoms have always had a considerable "use-effectiveness" problem. The FDA requires contraceptive manufacturers to list the typical rate of pregnancy for one year of use.
The FDA reports that the pregnancy rate for condoms is 14 per cent. In other words, over a span of a year, for every 100 couples using condoms, 14 will become pregnant. But this rate is based solely on pregnancy prevention, not disease prevention.
This distinction is critical when safety and protection are honestly considered and evaluated. For example, fertilisation can only occur on about seven days out of a woman's 28 day cycle (average). Infections such as HIV/AIDS, however, can occur any day.
Some claim that condoms will cut down on the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. However, a July 20, 2001 report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexuality Transmitted Disease Prevention, concluded that scientific evidence does not support condom use as a means to prevent infections of chlamydia, trichomonas, genital herpes, chancroid, syphillis, human papilloma virus (HPV).
There is evidence of protection for men against gonorrhea, but there is no evidence that condoms offer protection against this disease for women.
The NIH report did say that consistent condom use decreases the risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS transmission by about 85 percent. But that is not very good considering that HIV/AIDS is a uniformly fatal disease. Keep in mind that the other diseases listed above may also be fatal.
For instance, HPV can lead to cervical cancer, which kills more American women each year than HIV disease. The NIH study did not address other potentially fatal diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Condom breakage and slippage
In a 1999 study published in Family Planning Perspectives , Karen Davis and Susan Weller note that in several in vivo (real life) trials designed to measure condom failure due to slippage and breakage, rates have varied from 0.5 to 6.7 percent for slippage. Obviously, if a condom slips or breaks, it offers no protection.
Condom and spermicide
On August 4, 2000 the US Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a strong warning against the use of the spermicide, nonoxynol-9 (N-9), regarding the transmission of HIV.
From 1996 to May 2000, a study was conducted in Africa in which nearly 1,000 HIV negative female prostitutes were enrolled. All were counselled on how to use condoms consistently and correctly and were asked to also use a vaginal gel each time they had intercourse. Half of the women received a placebo gel and the other half received N-9.
Researchers found that those who used the N-9 gel became infected with HIV at about a 50 percent higher rate than those who use the placebo gel."
Despite this CDC warning in 2000, Planned Parenthood Federation of America advertised on its web site in 2002. "Some Planned Parenthood condoms are coated with the spermicide nonoxynol-9."
The condom cover up
According to a national group of doctors, however, the CDC has been less forthright on the issue of condom use. Just a few days after the NIH released the study referenced above, the Physicians Consortium, which has some 2,000 members nationwide, sent a letter, dated July 23, 2001, to President George Bush calling for the resignation of the CDC chief Dr Jeffrey Koplan.
The letter said that the CDC "has misled millions of women into believing that condoms provide safety..Despite the billions of dollars used to promote a 'safe sex' health policy, the CDC lacks clinical research to back its claims."
The next day, a coalition representing 10,000 doctors, which included the Catholic Medical Association, Congressman Dave Weldon, MD, and former Congressman Tom Coburn, MD, accused the CDC of routinely breaking federal laws that required it to dispense accurate information on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing STDs.
By improperly promoting condom use, "the CDC has failed in its primary duty to protect public health," said Dr John Diggs, a member of the executive committee of the Physicians Consortium," Diggs also stated, "This has all the earmarks of a good old-fashioned medical cover-up."
On February 21, 2002 , Koplan did resign.
The condom's biggest flaw
The condom biggest flaw is that those using it to prevent conception of another human being are offending God. God intends that sexual intercourse should take place only between a man and a woman who are married.
If people follow God's plan for human sexuality, there would be no problem with sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, each and every act of marital intercourse must be both unitive and open to procreation.
Any action, including condom use, which proposes to render procreation impossible, is intrinsically evil. Those married couples who, for just reasons and not by selfish motivation, wish to space the births of their children, can avail themselves of the morally acceptable natural methods of birth regulation which are based upon self-observation and the use of infertile periods (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2368-2370).
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