Condoms' Effectiveness in Preventing STDs, Including HIV, at Center of Debate on Revising Package Labels
June 30, 2005
The effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, is at the center of a debate on whether to revise the products' packaging labels to include information about their limits in disease prevention, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. Advocates of the labeling change, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), say that because condoms do not provide complete protection against some STDs, their packaging should reflect these shortcomings (Johnson, AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/29). Coburn has placed a hold on acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford's nomination to head the agency, saying the hold will remain in place until FDA issues congressionally mandated labeling for condoms that clarifies the limits of their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and STDs (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 6/16). However, opponents of changing condom labels say it might undermine the public's confidence in condoms and increase the number of new HIV and other STD cases. FDA currently requires condom packages to say, "If used properly, latex condoms will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other sexually transmitted diseases." Many condom brands also say they are very effective in preventing pregnancy. FDA officials recently have said they expect to have draft language of the new labels available soon, according to John Hart, a spokesperson for Coburn (AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/29).
Condom Effectiveness Studies
There is no evidence that condoms prevent transmission of human papillomavirus, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer (AP/Yahoo! News, 6/29).
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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.