Condoms, STD, Teenagers, and International Case Studies Showing Condom Ineffectiveness Against HIV/AIDS

Figure 3

Figure 3: Experts Speak on the Ineffectiveness of the Condom at Preventing Pregnancy

Figure 4 consists of quotes from leading experts who believe that condoms are ineffective at preventing AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Experts Speak on the Ineffectiveness of the Condom at Preventing AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The effectiveness of condoms at preventing AIDS is obviously much lower than their effectiveness at preventing pregnancy, for two primary reasons;

4. Condoms and Leakage.

The Primary Point to Remember. There is a lot of debate in the pro-life community today over whether or not latex condoms have pores large enough to leak the HIV virus.

As this booklet will describe, the latex condom does indeed occasionally leak the HIV virus. However, the following point cannot be stressed enough:

The risk of HIV leakage by latex condoms is trivial when compared to the risk of massive exposure to the HIV virus caused by the condom's propensity to frequently break, tear or slip off.

Pro-lifers should not allow themselves to be dragged into a long, drawn-out discussion on whether or not condoms have pores big enough to leak the HIV virus. This is a distraction from more important issues, because nobody can prove on the spot whether or not they actually do leak the virus. After all, how many people carry a portable electron microscope around with them? There are hundreds of studies on both sides of this question.

In any discussion of condoms, pro-lifers should stay on much firmer ground and speak about the condom's frequent catastrophic failure rate.

A Complicated Question. Much debate exists over whether latex condoms provide protection against the HIV virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) assert that unbroken and properly used latex condoms can block the AIDS virus.21 The basis for this claim is a series of studies that show that latex condoms are 99 percent or more effective at stopping the AIDS virus.

Two serious flaws are inherent in each of these studies:

  1. An extremely small sample size was used in each study (only one to 10 condoms of each brand); and
  2. In-vivo conditions of actual intercourse were not simulated.

The inherent, naturally occurring flaws in natural rubber (latex) range from 5 to 70 microns in diameter.22 The average sperm cell is about 5 microns in diameter, and the average AIDS virus is about 0.1 micron in size.23 This means that, in terms of size, an AIDS virus can pass through a latex flaw as easily as a house cat can walk through an open double garage door. Pro-abortionists and others loudly deny this fact, but offer no evidence whatsoever to back up their claims.

However, before concluding that latex condoms do not protect against the AIDS virus, two factors must be taken into account:

  1. Condom advocates stress that water molecules "stick" to each other through hydrogen bonding. Therefore, they say, it is very doubtful indeed that an AIDS virus in a water-based suspension of any type would be able to pass through a hole even 100 times its own diameter in the absence of motion, friction, pressure and corrosion stresses. The clumped water molecules "bridge" the condom gaps, in other words.

    However, condoms do indeed leak water, as shown by the standard condom permeability test. This involves filling a condom with 300 milliliters of water, tying it off, and then rolling it on paper to assist in detecting leaks.

    In one study, scientists deliberately punctured condoms with holes about 10 microns in diameter, then subjected them to the standard water permeability test. 75 percent of the condoms passed the test, despite the fact that they were riddled with holes 100 times the diameter of the AIDS virus.24

    In a second test, holes were artificially introduced into condoms of several brands. Those containing holes 1 micron in size -- ten times the diameter of the HIV virus -- passed the leakage test 90 percent of the time. In this latter test, a surfactant (which reduces water cohesion) was introduced into the liquid. Most condom lubricants act as surfactants.25

    These studies prove that condoms do indeed leak water, regardless of what its surface tension may be.
  2. Latex condoms are "double-dipped," meaning that all or most of the voids left from the first layer will be filled by the second. Repeated SEM (scanning electron microscope) photos of stretched condoms show no apparent voids, even at a magnification of 2,000X.26

    Once again, this fact is irrelevant in light of the fact that, as shown above, a large percentage of condoms that have passed the standard water leak text do indeed leak HIV-sized particles.

An Engineering Analysis of an SEM Image. Point (2) above is repeatedly used by condom advocates to argue that latex condoms are extremely effective at blocking the HIV virus. Indeed, when a latex condom is stretched and viewed under the extreme magnification possible with a scanning electron microscope, no pores seem to be present.

When an SEM image of stretched latex shows no pores, we must remember that stretching applies only one type of stress on a material: Uniform lateral stress. This is the kind of stress that is applied to a child's balloon when it is blown up -- equal and constant pressure is applied to every square inch of the surface of the balloon.

An SEM cannot provide us with an accurate "picture" of pores in a condom under conditions of actual use, because the SEM can only provide still shots of a condom with uniform lateral stress applied to it.

It is physically impossible to simultaneously simulate for an SEM picture the other four types of stress that are applied to a condom during intercourse:

  1. pressure stress (perpendicular to the axis of the lateral stress). This would be like taking the child's balloon and stretching it from pole to pole;
  2. shear stress (high twisting or angular stresses at critical points). This would be like holding the child's balloon at both ends and twisting the poles in opposite directions;
  3. friction stress (abrasion occurring during lateral movement between two surfaces in contact). This would be like taking the child's balloon and rubbing it across a sticky surface; and
  4. corrosion stress caused by a mixture of body fluids and lubricants, whose effect is greatly enhanced by the repeated and simultaneous application of mechanical stresses.

To say that a latex condom is safe because it shows no pores when only one out of five types of stress is applied to it is like saying that a new type of jeep is safe for heavy off-road use because it can be driven in a straight line at 25 MPH on a smooth and level road without falling apart.

The fact that latex condoms do indeed contain pores was highlighted by a major 1992 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study, the first to simulate actual conditions of sexual intercourse. This study showed detectable leakage of HIV-sized particles in one-third of the condoms tested.27 Significantly, all of these condoms had previously passed the standard water leakage test.

Again, those who debate the merits and demerits of condoms should remember that the head of a human sperm cell is approximately 50 microns (0.002 inches) in diameter, and the head of an HIV virus is about 0.1 microns in diameter.28 This means that a sperm cell, which is effectively blocked by an unbroken latex condom, is about 100 million times more massive than an HIV virus.

This contrast in size is proportional to a five-ton bull elephant standing next to a small housefly.

5.Condoms and the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

"There is no such thing as safe sex for someone contemplating sex with an HIV-positive person."
--Dr. Michael Gottlieb, the scientist who made the original report to the Centers for Disease Control on gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), which was later relabeled AIDS.29

Health authorities agree that condoms (when used perfectly and when they do not break, leak or slip) effectively block such sexually transmitted diseases as gonorrhea and syphilis. However, condom misuse or breakage can cause massive exposure to these diseases, just as with the HIV virus.

What's more, even consistent perfect use of unbroken condoms will not protect against STDs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV), which frequently infect the entire genital area. Finally, many STDs, such as gonorrhea and herpes, are transmitted by oral sex, which is usually practiced with multiple sexual partners.30

These problems partly account for a resurgence in certain STDs;

Health professionals often assert that there are "epidemics" of teen pregnancy, AIDS, alcoholism and drug use. Some of these allegations are exaggerated and are not supported with proper statistical analysis.

But declarations of an epidemic of STDs are certainly not exaggerated. With more than 100 million people infected with one or more of 20 STDs in the United States alone, it is unrealistic to expect that a paper-thin, nearly weightless sheath of polyurethane or latex will slow down the epidemic.

The only way to completely eradicate all STDs is to follow God's plan for our sexual lives: Abstinence before marriage and fidelity after.

Of course, the sex educators and condom sellers tell us that this is not a "realistic" solution.

They are wrong.

Since abstinence/fidelity is the only solution that will work, it is the only realistic solution as well. Perhaps if the health professionals struggle unsuccessfully for another decade or two trying to contain the STD epidemic with impractical means, they too will reach the same conclusion. Unfortunately, the price of their education will be steep indeed -- millions of lives needlessly lost and more millions of lives spent in unnecessary misery.

6. Teenagers and Condoms.

The New York Times Speaks. In 1997, The New York Times front-paged a study alleging that passing out condoms in school does not increase teenage sex, which flies in the face of common sense.34

If schools passed out coupons for free beer at local ABC stores, would beer consumption by teenagers increase? Of course it would! Anyone who says otherwise is just not in touch with reality.

Saying that passing out condoms does not increase sexual behavior is kind of like saying that passing out cars and keys does not increase driving behavior.

In any case, the lead researcher of the study cited by the Times was none other than Sally Guttmacher, daughter of Alan Guttmacher, who did more to spread abortion and contraception around the world than anyone else in history. The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which pours millions of dollars into organizations that promote condoms.

The Times seems to be completely blind to preordained conclusions brought on by a massive conflict of interest -- but only if such conflicts exist on the anti-life side of various issues.

Would the Times accept such a study (much less put it on the front page) if it was conducted by a well-known pro-life priest and funded by the Vatican? Of course not! The Times would dismiss the study without even reading it.

But not if it has the 'right' conclusions ...

In light of their dismal record, the only thing more illogical than adults using condoms is adults providing condoms to teenagers -- especially in the public schools.

Rebuttal by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. An article in the Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives quoted an annual condom failure rate of 18.4 percent among teenaged girls under 18 years old. This means that more than half of the users will be pregnant within three years.

The authors also said that "These rates are understated because of the substantial under-reporting of abortion among single women; if abortion reporting was complete, failure rates would be 1.4 times as high as they appear high."35

Results of School Condom Studies. These figures have been borne out in studies of those public schools that have distributed condoms to their students.

One writer describes the dismal results of one of the first free-condom programs to be instituted at a high school in the United States;

In the three years since this [Adams City, Colorado] high school became one of the first to hand out condoms, the birth rate has soared to 31% above the national average of 58.1 births per 1,000 students [annually].

Last year, 76 of Adams City students became teen mothers. This year, more than 100 births are expected. That's left people at this school, recognized throughout Colorado for its cutting-edge educational and social programs, searching for explanations."36

7. International Case Studies Showing Condom Ineffectiveness Against HIV/AIDS.

Uganda. In 1986, President Yoweri Museveni took office and immediately started an intensive campaign to change the widespread incidence of risky sexual behavior in Uganda.

In 1991, Uganda had one of the highest adult HIV infection rates in the world. Fifteen percent of all adults in the country were infected. Ten years later, Uganda had cut its HIV infection rate by two-thirds, to only five percent. It was the only nation in Africa that cut its HIV infection rate during this time period, and its decline in HIV prevalence was the greatest of any country in the world.

The key to this tremendous decline was an approach that other nations declined to embrace: The ABC Program, or Abstain from sex until marriage, Be faithful to your partner, and use Condoms if you do not practice abstinence or fidelity. The entire focus of the message was not simply to "condomize" the population, but to reduce risky sexual behavior.

The consistent broadcasting of the ABC message through all governmental, educational, religious and communications networks, in time, built up what researchers called a "highly effective social vaccine against HIV," or a massive behavioral change among the people of the nation. The 2000-2001 Ugandan Demographic and Health Survey found that 93 percent of Ugandans had changed their sexual behavior to avoid HIV/AIDS.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the primary lessons learned from the Uganda experience are;

  1. High-risk sexual behaviors can be discouraged and replaced by healthier lifestyles. Ugandans gradually accepted what they call "zero grazing," or faithfulness to one partner.
  2. Abstinence and marital fidelity appear to be the most important factors in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Contrary to all expectations, young Ugandans widely embraced the pro-abstinence message. From 1989 to 1995, the percent of unmarried young men having sex plunged from 60 percent to 23 percent, and the percent of unmarried young women having sex dropped from 53 percent to 16 percent.37 This proves that teenagers are not mere animals who are helpless slaves of their "raging hormones."
  3. Condoms do not play the primary role in reducing HIV/AIDS transmission. As President Museveni himself remarked, "We are being told that only a thin piece of rubber stands between us and the death of our continent. Condoms have a role to play as a means of protection, especially in couples who are HIV-positive, but they cannot become the main means of stemming the tide of AIDS."38 The Ugandan government targeted only extremely high-risk groups, including prostitutes, with condoms. The vast majority of Ugandans rejected the use of condoms. Anne Peterson, M.D., USAID's Director of Global Health, says that "Condoms play a role. They are better than nothing, but the core of Uganda's success story is big A, big B, and little C."39

    In stark contrast to Uganda, the countries with the highest rate of condom availability still have the world's highest AIDS rates -- Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya.40
  4. Religious organizations are crucial participants in the fight against AIDS 41. Most condom-promoting organizations believe that purely secular organizations should have a monopoly in the battle against HIV/AIDS, and that religious organizations have no place in the fray. From the very beginning of the ABC program, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith-based organizations played a central role.

The ABC program has been intensively studied and deemed effective by many leading international health organizations, including;

Despite the obvious success of the Ugandan ABC program, which has undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of lives, condom promoters continue to discount abstinence in favor of programs that have been proven ineffective.

For example, the Global HIV Prevention Working Group issued a July 2002 report entitled Mobilization for HIV Prevention: A Blueprint for Action, which emphasizes sex education, condom distribution, needle exchange programs and increased availability of and access to anti-retroviral drugs in its program. It briefly mentions Uganda's success story, but attributes its drops in HIV infection rates primarily to massive condom promotion and distribution programs, which did not actually occur in the country44.

In reality, condoms do not impede the spread of AIDS. In 2004, the journal Studies in Family Planning concluded that "No clear examples have emerged yet of a country that has turned back a generalised epidemic primarily by means of condom promotion."45

The Philippines and Thailand. The second real-life example of how condoms fail to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS is presented by the Philippines and Thailand, two Southeastern Asian nations with approximately the same populations.

In 1984, the first case of HIV was detected in both of these nations. By 1987, Thailand had 112 cases of AIDS, and the Philippines had 135 cases. In 1991, the World Health Organization predicted that, by 1999, Thailand would have 70,000 deaths from the disease, and the Philippines would have 85,000 deaths.

In 1991, both nations took concrete and comprehensive measures against the spread of the HIV virus -- but both directed their efforts in completely different directions.

The Thai Minister of Health enacted a "100% Condom Use Program." All brothels were required to have supplies of condoms, and condom vending machines were installed in all supermarkets, bars, restaurants, and other public gathering places. This program was widely accepted and implemented by the people of Thailand.

Two years later, Rene Bullecer, M.D., received authorization from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to establish the organization AIDS-Free Philippines as its official program to combat HIV/AIDS nationwide. The government signed on to this effort as well.

By the end of 2003, the disparity in the effectiveness of both types of programs had become glaringly obvious, as shown in this table;46

Figure 5

Figure 5
Disparity in the effectiveness of Thailand Method and Philippines Method
Parameter Thailand Philippines
Adults and Children Living with HIV 570,000 9,000
AIDS Deaths in 2003 58,000 500
Population 62,833,000 79,999,000
HIV Infection Rates Per Million 9,072 113

This table shows that the Thai HIV infection rate is eighty times higher than the Filipino HIV infection rate.

The current rate of HIV infection in the United States, with all of our sex education, all of our sexual freedom, all of our advanced antiviral drugs, and all of our billions of condoms, is 3,900 per million, thirty times higher than in the Philippines.47

What lesson does this teach us?

USAID has concluded that the reason that the Philippines has such a low incidence of HIV/AIDS is that youth have a very high rate of abstinence and married people largely remain faithful to their spouses. The USAID report grudgingly admitted that "The Catholic Church must be credited with influencing sexual behavior."48

'Abstinence has a High Failure Rate.' Pro-condom groups often denigrate abstinence because they say it is ineffective. For example, A poster distributed by 'Catholics' for a Free Choice says that "Abstinence has a high failure rate."49 The idea behind this slogan is that people get passionate and engage in sexual intercourse despite intentions or formal vows to the contrary.

This is an illogical and inconsistent allegation. Failures are not attributed to any method of birth control if it is simply not used. If a formal study of condoms finds that several pregnancies resulted from couples intending to use condoms but failing to do so, these pregnancies will properly not be attributed to the condoms themselves.

The same criteria should be applied to abstinence. If, for whatever reason, a couple engage in sexual intercourse, resulting exposure to pregnancy or STDs cannot be attributed to abstinence, because it was not used.

They Simply Refuse to "Get It." Despite the stunning success of Uganda at reducing its AIDS epidemic, and the Philippines at avoiding it altogether, population controllers, "family planners" and pro-condom ideologues continue to vigorously promote programs that are proven failures. These groups and people have the attitude that theirs is the only "realistic" solution to the AIDS crisis, even when they are confronted with abundant and vivid evidence to the contrary.

Why do they do this, in light of the fact that they are obviously causing many deaths and much misery?

  1. This is the result of a venerable mindset that holds that human beings are essentially no different from animals in the area of sexuality, and that they have either no free will or greatly diminished free will.50 This is an old and outdated philosophy, and must be jettisoned in favor of more modern and effective thinking. Unfortunately, the people who hold this quaintly antiquated viewpoint are usually the "family planning" and "reproductive health" experts who fund and execute programs involving condom distribution.
  2. It's their job. If they give up their hold on condoms, they might be out looking for gainful employment. Peddling condoms is a very profitable venture indeed, and the resulting income must be protected, regardless of the health risks to those using the product. In 1987, the Los Angeles Times reported that "The condom industry has launched an intensive campaign to weaken, delay or possibly shut down a federally funded Los Angeles study of the effectiveness of condoms in preventing transmission of the AIDS virus."51
  3. Condoms are part of the web of "progressive" thinking that is more rigidly dogmatic than the beliefs of any religion. One of the precepts of this mode of thinking is that "condoms are good."
  4. Population controllers and condom pushers are just plain lazy. It is far easier to thrown condoms at a problem than it is to go through all the trouble of changing behavior.
  5. The organizations that think this way have a strong bias towards racist population control programs. Lothrop Stoddard sat on the board of Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League (later the Planned Parenthood Federation of America). In Sanger's publication The Birth Control Review, Lothrop vividly portrayed the racist's fear of "differential fertility," a dread that still exists among population controllers today;

    ... upon the quality of human life all else depends ... none of the colored races shows perceptible signs of declining birth-rate, all tending to breed up to the limits of available subsistence ... It can mean only one thing: a tremendous and steadily augmenting outward thrust of surplus colored men from overcrowded colored homelands ... But many of these relatively empty [Northern] lands have been definitely set aside by the White man as his own special heritage ...

    His ["colored" man's] outstanding quality is superabundant animal vitality. In this he easily surpasses all other races. To it he owes his intense emotionalism. To it, again, is due his extreme fecundity, the negro being the quickest of breeders. This abounding vitality shows in many other ways, such as the negro's ability to survive harsh conditions of slavery under which other races have soon succumbed ... black blood, once entering a human stock, seems never really bred out again ...

    White men cannot, under peril of their very race-existence, allow wholesale Asian immigration into White race-areas ... The grim truth of the matter is this: The whole White race is exposed, immediately or ultimately, to the possibility of social sterilization and final replacement or absorption by the teeming colored races.

    And, of course, the more primitive a type is, the more prepotent it is. This is why crossings with the negro are uniformly fatal. Whites, Amerindians, or Asiatics -- all are alike vanquished by the invincible prepotency of the more primitive, generalized, and lower negro blood.

    ... whether we consider interwhite migrations or colored encroachments on White lands, the net result is an expansion of lower and a contraction of higher stocks, the process being thus a disgenic one.

    For race-betterment is such an intensely practical matter! When peoples come to realize that the quality of the population is the source of all their prosperity, progress, security, and even existence; we shall see much-abused "eugenics" actually moulding social programmes and political policies ... we or the next generation will take in hand the problem of race-depreciation, and segregation of defectives and abolition of handicaps penalizing the better stocks will put an end to our present racial decline.52

Indeed, some have raised a troubling question: If the USA and the developed world know that condoms are ineffective, why do they keep shipping billions of them to Africa every year? The ideal form of genocide is that which few expect -- claiming to assist a people while actually helping them to do nothing more than exterminate themselves.

Despite the proven track record of Uganda's ABC program, many influential organizations and people continue to criticize it and the USA's support of it;

Lying in Order to Sell Condoms. Edward C. Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a former condom advocate, has said, "The way condoms are marketed in Africa and other developing parts of the world is as if they were 100 percent safe. Condoms have brand names like Shield and Protector that gives the impression that they are 100 percent safe."59

This statement is certainly true. The most powerful visual tool used to market condoms in Africa is the large and colorful billboards that are built next to major thoroughfares and painted on stone walls near stadiums, schools, and other places where large crowds of people regularly congregate. None of these billboards even hint at the failure rate of condoms; in fact, the opposite is the case. They all state plainly that, in order to be completely safe from HIV/AIDS, you must use condoms.

Condom manufacturers are not the only groups claiming that condoms provide perfect protection -- many of the international "family planning" organizations do this as well. For example, the Caribbean Family Planning Association (CFPA), one of the many affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has distributed pamphlets entitled "THE CONDOM -- 100% Protection and Freedom From Pregnancy and VD."

8. Conclusion: Of Parachutes and Prophylactics.

If parachutes had the abysmal safety record that condoms do, skydiving would have been outlawed long ago. Add to this the fact that tens of thousands of people die of AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases for every person who dies in a parachuting accident, and it is obvious that we are suffering from a major case of worldwide myopia. It is also obvious that most people would choose sudden death by parachute failure than a lingering, hideous wasting away at the 'hands' of the AIDS virus.

Condom promoters often make the following analogy.

If your child was in an airplane that was going to crash, wouldn't you want him or her to have a parachute, even if it was only 90 percent effective?

This is obviously a false analogy.

If you, as a parent, already know that the airplane your children want to fly on is unsafe and will probably crash, your only realistic option is to stop him or her from boarding it in the first place!

Good Housekeeping Magazine will not even accept condom advertisements, because they are not reliable enough for its "Seal of Approval."60

Apparently, when it comes to birth control, anything goes. What is apparently important is not whether or not you are safe, but whether or not you think you are safe.

The Family Planners 'Speak.' Perhaps family planners were at their most eloquent and revealing when they were not saying anything at all. In 1987, 800 sexologists gathered for a conference in Heidelberg, Germany. Dr. Theresa Crenshaw, past President of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), asked the assembly how many of them would have intercourse with the HIV-infected partner of their dreams using a latex condom. Not a single one raised their hand. Dr. Crenshaw concluded that "Putting a mere balloon between a healthy body and a deadly disease is not safe."61

The United States government pamphlet entitled "Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases" says "Condoms are not 100 percent safe, but if used properly will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS."

Read this quote again. What the United States government is telling us is that condoms reduce the risk of a disease that is 100 percent fatal!

This has led to a phenomenon that one expert delicately terms a "disservice." Susan Weller says that

A negative effect has been the misinterpretation and misinformation regarding condom effectiveness. The public at-large may not understand the difference between 'condoms may reduce risk of' and 'condoms will prevent' HIV infection. It is a disservice to encourage the belief that condoms will prevent sexual transmission of HIV.62

There are hundreds of sources that claim that condoms reduce HIV transmission from 80 to 90 percent. This is absolutely true -- but only if we compare (1) people using condoms to (2) people not using condoms at all.

But this is a false choice. The condom promoters simply assume that people are going to have extra-marital sex because they can't help themselves. Such thinking is called "risk reduction," and is ultimately fatalistic. It assumes that people are largely powerless to change their risky behaviors, and assumes that people who are generally acting irrationally (by engaging in high-risk sexual behavior) will suddenly begin acting rationally when handed a condom.

The real decision is (1) to abstain or (2) to use condoms during extramarital sex. Abstinence is obviously safer.

The condom promoters are offering people a choice that is similar to this: If a person is going to run into burning buildings just for thrills, it is much better for him to wear a fireproof suit than not to wear a fireproof suit.

What we are saying is simply this: It is far better not to run into that burning building at all.

Next Page: Endnotes
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