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Condoms offer lmited protection
Dec 29, 2002

Could you coment on the articel that appeared on your CDC updates that dealt with the limited protection condoms offer. I'm sure many worried wells were shocked for the holidays by this assement that seemed to be endorsed by the CDC. I understand HPV Stuff but only 50effective against chlmydia and 85 against HIV is troubling and will probably lead to less condom use if not explained or refuted. Your thought s are appreciated. Artilce is included below.

HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis Prevention News Update

December 23, 2002

Medical News Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Report Shows Condoms Provide Inadequate Risk Reduction Virus Weekly 12.17.02 A new scientific report, "Sex, Condoms, and STDs: What We Now Know," released by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, reveals that condoms, even when used 100 percent of the time, fail to reduce the risks of some of the most common STDs to an acceptable level.

The report reviewed findings of all significant research and professional presentations about the ability of condoms to reduce the risk of STDs. The report is authored by some of the nation's leading experts on STDs and condom research.

"America is facing an epidemic of STDs -- more than 15 million new STD infections per year," commented Joe S. McIlhaney Jr., M.D., president of the Institute. "It is imperative that Americans understand what the science says about the limits of condoms in keeping them safe from STDs, many of which can have life-altering consequences, including infertility and cancer."

Key findings include:

Condoms must be used 100 percent of the time and used correctly to avoid STD infection and potential disease from infected partners.

Even 100 percent condom use does not eliminate the risk of any STD including HIV.

100 percent use of condoms for many years is so uncommon that it is almost a purely theoretical concept except for very few, very meticulous individuals.

There is no evidence of any risk reduction for sexual transmission of HPV even with 100 percent condom use.

Syphilis transmission is reduced from 29-50 percent with 100 percent condom use, leaving 50-71 percent relative risk of infection.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea transmission is reduced by approximately 50 percent with 100 percent condom use leaving an approximate 50 percent relative risk of infection.

HIV sexual transmission is reduced by approximately 85 percent with 100 percent condom use leaving an approximate 15 percent relative risk of infection.

For the approximately 20 other STDs, not enough data exist to say whether condoms offer any risk reduction from sexual transmission. Back to other CDC news for December 23, 2002

Previous Updates | Search the CDC archive

This document was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Well as you may or may not know, the CDC is a branch of the Federal Government, and therefore under its jurisdiction. I, too, was shocked when I read these reports, as they are extremely misleading. Perhaps the New York Times put it best in their article when they wrote: "In this administration, politics trumps science!" A very sad commentary and one that must be challenged by science and common sense! If you look at other CDC web pages, they reference excellent scientific studies of "uninfected people at risk of HIV because of sexual relationships with infected people . . . . The studies found that even with repeated sexual contact, 98-100 percent of those people who used latex condoms correctly and consistently did not become infected." This clearly indicates that condoms, used properly, are 90-100% effective! The Democrats have written a letter to the administration stating that by altering and deleting information on the CDC website, the disease control agency "is now censoring the scientific information about condoms it makes available to the public" in order to suit abstinence-only advocates. They state "information that used to be based on science is being systematically removed from the public when it conflicts with the administration's political agenda."

I should add that HIV is not the GOP's only target. The National Cancer Institute's (also under Federal regulation) website used to say that the best scientific studies showed "no association between abortion and breast cancer;" however, that has now been changed to say that the studies are "inconclusive." Antiabortion congressmen forced this change despite the fact that very large studies show abortion has no connection to breast cancer risk! For instance, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine of 1.5 million Danish women found that "induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer."

You are absolutely correct that this misleading and blatantly false information about condoms may lead to confusion, fear, less condom use, and ultimately to an increase in HIV infections.

I - and virtually all other physicians, scientists, and people of good common sense - will do everything we can to keep politics and religion from altering scientific fact. These misguided policies will not go unchallenged. I remain hopeful that ultimately truth will prevail.

Dr. Bob


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