New York Times Examines Benefits, Misconceptions, Frequency of Condom Use to Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV
August 22, 2006
The New York Times on Tuesday examined the benefits and misconceptions of condom use to protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unplanned pregnancy. According to M. Monica Sweeney -- a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and co-author with Rita Kirwan Grisman of "Condom Sense: A Guide to Sexual Survival in the New Millenium" -- there are many advantages to condoms if they are used consistently and correctly -- including accessibility, a 98% efficacy rate in preventing pregnancy, a significant risk reduction of HIV and other STI transmission, usefulness for any age group with few side effects, low cost, and availability without a prescription. However, many people "harbor misconceptions" about condoms, such as their ability to prevent pregnancy, which when not used consistently or correctly have a pregnancy rate of 15%, the Times reports. Many women, particularly adolescents, report that they do not use condoms consistently because they are coerced into having sex or do not expect to have sex and therefore do not keep condoms with them, according to the Times. In addition, the latex condom, which is the only condom that can prevent HIV transmission, is "much thinner than condoms of yore and can provide the wearer with more sensation while preventing pregnancy and disease," according to the Times. People need to practice using condoms because they are not foolproof and can break, according to experts (Brody, New York Times, 8/22).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.