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Condoms 100%?

Sep 4, 2005

Dear Doc:

Anyone who has read the Forum knows that latex condoms are not 100% effective from HIV transmission due to various factors such as human error and manufacturer's defect.

However, can we agree on the following: HIV transmission will not occur provided that the condom is used: (1) for every single sex act, which means changing to a new condom for new sex acts, and (2) the condom does not break or slip off, and (3) upon ejaculation, the man retreats with the condom immediately (i.e., does not linger inside the receptive partner).

In writing this question to you, I can now totally understand "why" we caveat that condoms are not 100% effective. For example, many people do NOT use condoms from start to finish. Some people just put the condom on before ejaculation. HOWEVER, I guess the point I'm making is that ideally, if we follow all the rules above of using condoms, then HIV cannot pass through intact latex of a properly used condom. I guess I'm asking, because I keep hearing anti-condom campaigns of porous condoms.

I appreciate your feedback!

Response from Dr. Frascino


Yes, it is unfortunately true that for the last several years certain anti-choice radicals have distorted scientific fact in order to discourage condom use. This is morally reprehensible, considering the tragic consequences of decreased condom use, leading to an increased number of HIV infections.

Anti-condom campaigns have manipulated the findings of flawed laboratory studies to create public doubt about the condom's effectiveness against HIV. For example, one study erroneously concluded that latex condoms leak HIV virus, even though the "study" used particles that were 100 million times smaller than the HIV viral particles found in semen! The real fact is that the risk of HIV transmission is reduced as much as 10,000 fold by using a latex condom!

Laboratory studies, including those conducted by the FDA, have established that male latex condoms are impermeable to particles the size of STD pathogens, including HIV. Thus, they provide a highly effective barrier when used correctly. Believe the science, not the "fear-factor" fiction.

Stay informed. Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

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