Our Readers' Opinions
June 9, 2006

Are condoms failing?


EDITOR: After more than thirty years promoting the condom as the all-purpose safety net, why do we still have a worsening HIV epidemic on our hands?

We have yet to deal with this question in a truthful and scientific manner. We hear from high-ranking health officials here and from regional bodies that the condom is 100% effective in preventing HIV infection “if used correctly”.{{more}} Notice the disclaimer at the end. Ordinarily the use of such would give critical thinkers cause for pause. If the condom is so effective, why is the guilty little disclaimer at the end of the statement?

Questions I had, led me to Human Life International HLI (www.hli.org). The answers provided were from reputable scientific and medical bodies.

I challenge secondary school and college students in SVG: the next time nurses, HIV/Aids unit officials, or doctors throw the 100% effective statement at you, ask them for the reference of a study which supports the statement. After all if I am to trust my life to that statement I have a right to know that it is based on sound scientific/medical study. Make sure you get an answer! They are supposed to know what they are talking about. Don’t be taken in by leaflets, it does not matter whose name is on them, all “scholarly” works are properly referenced. Any publication, which makes a scientific/medical assertion, has a responsibility to provide references to studies from authoritative sources that support the assertion. If you get such references check them out thoroughly; be resourceful, our lives hang in the balance.

The following is a quote from HLI’s Condom Expose. It’s on HLI’S website please check it out: “The frequency of condom breakage depends upon many factors, including the type of lubricant used and the brand of condom.”

Contraceptive Technology tallied the results of fifteen recent studies involving a total of 25,184 condoms used during heterosexual intercourse and found that 4.64 % of all of the condoms broke and 3.44 % completely slipped off, for a total of 8.08 %”. By the way, “Contraceptive Technology” is foremost authority on contraception. The above means that every time a condom is used there is a one in 12 chance that it will burst open or slip off.

If condoms were tyres, the tyre company would have been out of business a long time ago. Who would go up in a plane that was 8.08% certain to crash?

Frequent mention is made of the success of Uganda and Thailand in combating the spread of HIV. Conveniently no mention is ever made of the Philippines. Uganda, which has recently received much attention, was able to reverse their rates of HIV infection through Abstinence and Being Faithful. In neighboring territories that continue to depend purely on condoms, entire villages continue to be wiped from the face of the earth by Aids. The Philippines, which has largely kept the condom out of its borders for years, has one of the lowest Aids rates in the world. How have they managed this? Abstinence, and Being Faithful, below at left is a table produced from the Web. Information was gleaned from POPIN United Nations (UN) population information Network and UNAIDS database, (The Joint UN program on HIV/AIDS). Don’t take my word for it. Go on line and check both sites out. Bear in mind Thailand is the Philippines’ next-door neighbor and depends purely on condoms for HIV prevention. Which of them is doing better with HIV prevention? Abstinence and Faithfulness are looking pretty good too me.

Country         Total Population        HIV Infected in population

SVG               119,000                    467
Uganda           28,816,000              530,000
Philippines       83,054,000              9,000
Thailand          64,233,000              570,000

Reference: * Robert A. Hatcher, et. al. Contraceptive Technology (17th Revised Edition) [New York: Ardent Media, Inc., 1998]. Table 16-3, “Prospective Studies of Condom Breakage and Slippage,” pages 330 to 332.