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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new report saying that abstinence is the best way to prevent the transmission of the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV). The agency also said the use of condoms is not as effective as abstinence.

“The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted
diseases, including HPV, is to refrain from genital [and oral-genital] contact. The use of condoms should not be a substitute for routine screening with Pap tests to detect and prevent cervical cancer,” the
Georgia-based federal agency said.

Gene Rudd, MD, an OB/GYN physician and the associate director of
the CMA, said, “It’s heartening to see the CDC correctly report the effectiveness of abstaining from sex and the limitations of condom use in combating this widely spread sexually transmitted disease.”

“Condoms simply are not foolproof, and the public needs to
understand that,” Rudd added. “The medical principle of informed
consent requires that we provide the public with scientifically
accurate information about sexual disease prevention strategies.
The CDC appears to have done so in this case, and we applaud the
candidness of this report.”

The CDC report agrees.

“While a few studies on genital HPV and condom use showed a
protective effect [using condoms], most studies…did not show a protective effect,” the report says. “The available scientific evidence is
not sufficient to recommend condoms as a primary prevention
strategy for HPV.”

President Bush has strongly supported abstinence education and
his efforts to increase funding for it have drawn praise from
pro-life advocates. “Each year, about three million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them, or kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents,” Bush has said. “In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks… Abstinence for young people is the only certain
way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.”Genital HPV infection is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV,
and roughly 5.5 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection
each year. [5Feb04, CDC,; 6Feb04,]