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Three questions for the King
Aug 28, 2005

Hi Doctor Bob,

I like many of your readers/admirers would like to first thank you for easing many minds by providing factual information in a humorous manner. I have seen many articles on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of HIV and it raised some questions that I was hoping you could answer for me.

Dr Susan Weller states that condoms fail in preventing HIV at rate of 31%. Almost 1 out of 3. The report I saw referenced was A Meta-Analysis of Condom Effectiveness in Reducing Sexually Transmitted HIV," Social Science and Medicine 1993. Have you seen this report? If so what are your thoughts?

There are many different types of condoms. Are ultra thin latex condoms less effective in preventing HIV then the normal latex condom?

Where does HIV enter a mans penis? From the urethra or from a gland at the base of the penis?

Would you recommend testing for someone who had protected sex with a working girl? No condom break (Mr. Happy did not pop out) and I do not believe there were any tears. I mean who could tell?

Thanks again for your help and I will make a donation this Coming TuesdayThats pay day.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Three questions, three answers:

1. First off, Dr. Susan Weller is not a medical doctor. She is a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy). Her conclusions about the male condom's effectiveness are more philosophical than medically scientific. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in partnership with other federal agencies, has much more recent and accurate studies among different population groups demonstrating the remarkable effectiveness of male condoms in preventing sexual transmission of HIV infection. They examined published systematic reviews and meta-analyses of condom use studies, in which the data outcomes from multiple studies are pooled to obtain an overall summary finding, and have concluded that when male condoms are used correctly and consistently, they are 80-95% effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection.

2. No, ultra-thin latex are not less effective. However, natural skin (lambskin) condoms are indeed less effective in preventing HIV, and should not be used for HIV prevention.

3. HIV enters via mucous membranes in the urethra. There is no "gland at the base of the penis." Those are balls.

4. Hmmm . . . I thought you only had three questions, and here we are already at #4! If you used a latex condom properly and it did not fail, your risk of HIV transmission is essentially nonexistent. Tears in a condom are not a subtle finding. When latex stretched over a massive throbbing Mr. Happy rips, it's dramatic! Mr. Happy does indeed pop out!

Finally, as long as I'm addressing condom myths, I should point out that in the last several years, certain anti-choice radicals (i.e. Bush and Associates) have distorted scientific fact in order to discourage condom use. I'll briefly mention the top three myths propagated in this anti-condom misinformation campaign, as they are particularly egregious and dangerous:

1. Myth #1. Talking about condoms and/or giving people condoms will make them sexually promiscuous.

2. Myth #2. Condoms promote AIDS, because HIV allegedly passes through "microscopic pores" in latex.

3. Myth #3. condoms cause cervical cancer.

These are all myths! But unfortunately they have become so widespread that they are recited in Congress and have even been incorporated into sexual education programs in more than a third of U.S. schools.

So like evolution and global warming, condoms have become part of the current administration's anti-science misinformation campaign.

The take-home message here is that there should be absolutely no confusion in anyone's mind about whether condoms should be used and promoted for preventing HIV infection. Scientific facts are facts and must not be confused with Bush's misguided beliefs.

Dr. Bob



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