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PANACEA OR PLACEBO?

by Susan Welsh Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 4:17 PM

Publicizing the condom to the four winds is, for the most part, the bravura of a puritan who is trying to prove to the world that he is not a puritan. To concentrate on the mechanical aspects of the sex act to the exclusion of the emotional and psychological aspects (which the condom campaign ignores) is the essence of Puritanism. The only difference between the new and the old is that whereas the traditional puritans were alleged to believe that sex was something to be isolated and repressed, neo-puritans accept sex as something to be isolated and exercised.


THE SPERM VS. THE AIDS VIRUS

A paper in the February 1992 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology reports that filtration techniques
show the HIV-1 virus to
be 0.1 micron (4 millionths of an inch) in diameter. It is three times smaller than the herpes virus, 60 times smaller
than the syphilis
spirochete, and 50 to 450 times smaller than sperm. (8)

THE FLAWED CONDOM

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) researchers, using powerful electron microscopes, have found that new latex, from
which condoms are
fabricated, contains "maximum inherent flaw[s]" (that is, holes) 70 microns in diameter. (9)

These holes are 700 times larger than the HIV-1 virus. There are pores in latex, and some of the pores are large
enough to pass sperm-sized
particles. Carey, et al., observed leakage of HIV-sized particles through 33%+ of the latex condoms tested. In
addition, as Gordon points
out in his review, the testing procedures for condoms are less than desirable. United States condom manufacturers are
allowed 0.4% leaky
condoms (AQL). Gordon states, "The fluctuations in sampling permits many batches not meeting AQL to be sold."
In the United States,
12% of domestic and 21% of imported batches of condoms have failed to meet the 0.4% AQL. (10)

CONDOMS FAIL TESTING

In a 1988 study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Bruce Voeller of the Mariposa Foundation in
Topanga, California, many condoms had failure rates as high as 100%.

PANACEA OR PLACEBO?

In conclusion, Herbert Ratner, M.D., offers the best summary of all when he says,

Actually, the major accomplishment of the condom campaign to prevent AIDS is to impress the promoters, politicians
and the public at large that something is being done; and although well-intentioned, it offers more of a placebo than a
panacea.

Publicizing the condom to the four winds is, for the most part, the bravura of a puritan who is trying to prove to the
world that he is not a puritan. To concentrate on the mechanical aspects of the sex act to the exclusion of the emotional and
psychological aspects (which the condom campaign ignores) is the essence of Puritanism. The only difference
between the new and the old is that whereas the traditional puritans were alleged to believe that sex was something to
be isolated and repressed, neo-puritans accept sex as something to be isolated and exercised.

Reviewed by Joel McIlhaney, M.D., of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health

NOTES

1.Weller, Susan C., "A Meta-Analysis of Condom Effectiveness in Reducing Sexually Transmitted HIV," Social
Science and Medicine, Vol. 36, #12, June 1993, pp. 1635-1644.

2.Smith, Richard W., The Condom: Is It Really Safe Sex? (unpublished, October 1990) pp. 8-9.

3.Collart, David G., M.D., Condom Failure for Protection From Sexual Transmission of the HIV: A Review of the
Medical Literature, Feb. 16 1993.

4.Zenilman, Jonathan, et al., "Condom Use to Prevent Incident STDs: The Validity of Self-Reported Condom Use,"
Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Jan.-Feb. 1995, pp.15-21;

5.Ravenel S. duBose, M.D., "Comments and Observations," Aug. 5, 1995.

6.Joel McIlhaney, Jr., M.D., "Chlamydia Trachomatis; The Most Common Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Disease in
the United States," Medical Institute for Sexual Health Sexual Health Update, Vol. 3, #3, Fall, 1995.
7.Friedman and Trivelli, "Condom Availability for Youth: A High Risk Alternative," Pediatrics, 2/97, p. 285.

8.Lytle, C. D., et al., "Filtration Sizes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 and Surrogate Viruses Used to Test
Barrier Materials," Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 58, #2, Feb. 1992.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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Holler Francisco Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 5:00 PM
By who? Susan Welsh Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 5:33 PM
If you are still reading this thread, Susan truth hurts the bottom line Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 8:48 AM
NEW SITE Susan Welsh Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 11:58 AM

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