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Condoms: Papal Pontifications, a Quicker Quickie and CCCCs (Common Condom Complaints and Conundrums), Part One

By Bob Frascino, M.D.

December 2, 2010

So, a few years back a dude named Sergio-Gaylord (really, that's how he signed his post) wrote to me in The Body's forum Safe Sex and HIV Prevention concerning the subject of "man-bag condoms"!

He wrote:

Hey Dr. McHandsome,

I'm about to enter into the sexually active period of my life. I'm 25 and I can't wait to impress the ladies with my wit and fashion! I'm writing because I'm concerned about carrying condoms in my pocket or wallet. Should I carry them in my man-bag instead or would that be too ticky-tacky?

Thanks for your prompt reply,

Sincerely yours,


And folks wonder why I would voluntarily choose to be an expert on this site. This kind of stuff is priceless, far more entertaining than even Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. And it gives me the chance to respond back with scientific facts and proper bedside manner and decorum.

Response from Dr. Frascino:

You refer to me as Dr. McHandsome; you're 25 but only now about ready to enter into the sexually active period of your life; you expect to impress ladies with your wit and fashion; you carry a man-bag and your name is Sergio-Gaylord????? Whoa! There are so many rainbow flags waving in that message that it's only one penis Popsicle away from a Gay Day parade.

Dude, first off, when someone mentions man-bag on this site, I think scrotum.

To answer your question, condoms can be comfortably carried in your pocket or attaché case or stored for handy use in your nightstand "goody drawer."

Next, you may well be as straight as a lawn dart, but the tone of your post makes me wonder if you could bottom for Liberace. Either way, of course, it's fine with me. I just want you to be safe and sexually content and never-ever ticky-tacky.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

OK, OK, never mind about the proper bedside manner and decorum, but the scientific stuff was absolutely sound!

I'm amazed at all the things that can go wrong when trying to suit up before a dive into the love canal of your choice. Consequently I thought we should tackle the top five CCCCs (common condom complaints and conundrums). But before addressing the omnipresent "condoms feel too tight" or "condoms break" or "condoms turn my Mr. Stiffy into Mr. Softy," etc., I feel compelled to discuss perhaps the world's greatest condom catastrophe: Pope Benedict XVI.

Actually he and "the church" deserve multiple blog entries to address their shamefully immoral discrimination against women, homophobia and criminal conspiracy to cover up mass child rape, but in light of today's topic, I'll restrict my rant to the Pope's comments on condoms. Let me back up a bit to May 2005, shortly after the current pontiff took office, when he made his first formal pronouncement on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Speaking to bishops from South Africa (where someone dies from AIDS every two minutes), Botswana (where 28.9% of the adults are HIV infected) and Lesotho (23% of adults infected), the Pope came out strongly against condoms! Such an enlightened and compassionate individual, eh?

In March of 2009, while visiting Cameroon where 540,000 have HIV/AIDS, the Pope proclaimed HIV/AIDS "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problem." WTF? Condoms aggravate the problem??? How clueless can one dude in an expensive dress and funny-looking hat be???

In May 2009 the Congolese Bishops' Conference gladly embraced the pontiff's pontification, stating: "In all truth, the Pope's message, which we received with joy, has confirmed us in our fight against HIV/AIDS. We say no to condoms!" This is an oxymoron made by a bunch of morons who have sabotaged HIV-prevention efforts in the name of religion! Shame on them!

The Pope's minions have demonized condoms in some truly shocking and morally reprehensible ways, including outright lies. In 2001 Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Mozambique announced that European condom manufacturers were deliberately infecting condoms with HIV to spread AIDS in Africa! One out of every eight people in Mozambique is HIV infected. Columbian Cardinal Alfonzo Lopez Trujillo had the dubious honor of infamously claiming that the HIV virus can pass through tiny holes in latex condoms! WOWZA! Excuse me, but aren't popes, cardinals and bishops supposed to at least tell the truth?

So now Ratzinger has made headlines once again with this now-famous quote: "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility." Color this HIV specialist (and recovering Catholic) unimpressed! That some are reading the Pope's comments as a milestone merely shows how much of a parallel universe the Pope and his minions choose to live in.

Somehow I doubt the true Higher Powers are all that pleased with or impressed by this pope's condom pronouncements issued at a time when two million lives are prematurely snuffed out each year by a disease that, although 100% fatal, is also 100% preventable.

Want to get in touch with Dr. Bob? You can reach him through his "Ask the Experts" forum, by sending a message to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, or by leaving a comment for him below. (If it's a private message, or if it includes personal info such as your e-mail address or phone number, we won't post the comment, but we will send it along to him.)

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See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
Ten Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Condom Basics
More Personal Views on Condoms

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Joseph M. (San Francisco, CA) Fri., Jan. 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm EST
This piece is cute, although I DO find the tone a little unprofessional for a physician writer. And I take issue with your characterization of HIV infection as "100% fatal." What does that mean, anyway? Folks who get HIV today and receive modern highly-active antiretroviral therapy are estimated to have NORMAL life expectancies. At the very least, that means for many HIV+ folks today, they're likely to die from SOMETHING ELSE besides HIV. It's sort of like prostate cancer. If a man lives long enough, he's almost CERTAIN to get it; but relatively few men actually die from it, because they get it late in life and die from something else first.

And rather than demonizing the Pope (listening to his message is optional in the modern times in which we are lucky enough to live) I'd rather see you take on the pharmaceutical industry. For every single year since the mid-1980'2 (essentially, since HIV drugs went on the market) the pharmaceutical industry has been the MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRY ON THE PLANET. Not the industry making the most revenue, mind you, or doing the most business -- but making the MOST PROFIT, more profit than the oil industry. [See "The Truth About Drug Companies" by Marcia Angell.]

We have recently learned that a daily dose of Truvada can prevent HIV infection in high-risk persons; but the cost in the U.S. is close to $1000/month. The cost for a generic equivalent in other countries is about $12/mo.

How much MORE profit does this industry require?
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Comment by: Chris (United Kingdom) Mon., Jan. 10, 2011 at 8:28 am EST
I think if you read the closing paragraph carefully, Dr. Bob's "100% fatal" comment is directed at those people infect in Sub-Saharan Africa (and other Developing Nations) who are infected through unprotected sex due to thier beliefs and then are unable to access treatment due to thier countries infrastucture or policies.

As for the Pharmaceutical Industry, I think you should check your figures again, as for the past few years both Networking and Internet Service industries have been the most profitable organisations - neither of which are as tightly regulated, nor spend as much on R&D. The book you quote is not only horribly out of date in the modern era (6 going on 7 years is an enternity in the world of Science and Research), but was written by someone who stopped practicing medicine in the 80s with a chip on thier shoulder from the days when Pharma was truly corrupt.

On average, a modern drug will cost $1billion to develop into a workable product, over the course of 12 years. Patents are awarded to Pharmaceuticals for a period of (normally) 20 years from discovery of the molecule, which gives a company 8 years (on average) to recoup said losses (as well as operation costs, and making at least $1billion in order to fund a future drug).

It's all scales and balances - companies *should* do more to help those in need, but sacrificing the future of scientific research in order for a marginally cheaper product today seems fairly limited in vision personally.

Comment by: adolfo (texas usa ) Sun., Jan. 2, 2011 at 11:54 am EST
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Comment by: Paul (Johannesburg) Wed., Dec. 29, 2010 at 7:18 am EST
What do you expect from a man who looks like the devil himself and wears red shoes.... Prada perhaps ?
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Life, Love, Sex, HIV and Other Unscheduled Events

Bob Frascino, M.D., was President and Founder of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. He had been an outspoken, popular expert in's "Ask the Experts" forums on safe sex and fatigue/anemia since 2000. Once a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Frascino served as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, at Stanford University Medical Center from 1983 until 2001. He was a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and had also been a distinguished member of the executive boards of numerous state and regional associations.

We're inexpressibly saddened to share the news that Dr. Frascino passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Click here to read more and to share your thoughts.

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