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Condoms are often portrayed as a means of "safe sex" to provide protection from pregnancy and all STDs. It should be noted that generically (all races, ages, & marital status) condoms fail to prevent pregnancy about 16% of the time, and condoms provide only minimal protection at best against any STD,  including HIV/AIDS.    

For a Fact Sheet on Condoms, visit:



A draft report for the UN's AIDS agency found that even when people use condoms consistently, the failure rate for protection against HIV is an estimated 10 percent (10%), making them a larger risk than portrayed by many advocate groups.

The final study, published by the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS) shows that condoms are ineffective in protecting against HIV an estimated 10% of the time. "The admission from the UN, which is far lower than some studies which have shown larger than 50% failure rates, is a blow to populations control activitst which have aggressively and misleadingly marketed condoms in the third world as 100 percent effective." The report examined two decades of scientific literature on condoms, and UNAIDS says that lead author Norman Hearst "makes a cogent argument that we should be talking about safer sex, not safe sex, with condoms." [emphasis added]  The Boston Globe quotes Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, saying the one in 10 failure rate of condoms protection from AIDS is "not good enough for a fatal disease." He said, "The way condoms are marketed in Africa and other develping parts of the world is as if they were 100 percent safe. Condoms have brand names like Shield and Protector that give the impression that they are 100 percent safe." Aside from AIDS, condoms are also known to provide even less protection from a variety of other sexually transmitted diseases. [John Donnelly, Globe Staff 6/22/03;, 23Jun03; L. Benn]


According to a recent meta-analysis study, condoms  provide only 69% protection against all HIV (same sex and heterosexual) Of course, this means there is still  a 31% chance of becoming infected with HIV using condoms. 

Generically, there is a risk factor of 31% for contracting HIV from an infected person with the use of condoms.  [With or without condoms, the risk of contracting HPV (Human Papilloma Virus which causes genital warts and leads to virtually all cervical cancer) and Chlamydia (according to some research studies) from one encounter is about 50%.  HSV (Herpes Simplex II Virus causes painful genital blisters) is now present in 20% of all Americans over age 11, over 45 million Americans.]       


Another study released in 2001 by the NIH shows that condoms are 85% effective against heterosexual HIV (see below).   HIV is not easily transmitted; it is only transmitted in 1 of 500 sexual encounters.  

This report and many other studies have also confirmed that 

condoms offer NO protection against HPV, which leads to 

cervical cancer.  

As described elsewhere on this website, the July 2001 Condom Report by NIH, CDC, FDA, and USAID found through the review of 138 published  research studies that condoms are only effective against 2% of the   eight major STDs which cause 15 MILLION STD cases each year in the U.S.A.  Condoms were found to be effective: 

  •  against heterosexual HIV (male-female) (85% effective if used "consistently & correctly" every time; this still allows for a 15% risk of HIV transmission); and
  •  against woman-to-man gonorrhea (most gonorrhea is passed man-to-woman.

Heterosexual HIV causes about 0.03% and Gonorrhea accounts for less than 2% of all the STDs transmitted each year in the USA. Together, they account for about 2% of the 15 million annual STD cases. According to the panel of experts, condoms are effective for these cases.

Condoms have microscopic holes through which STD viruses can pass, as well as occasional cracks, defects and deterioration which allow the passage of larger STD microorganisms [C.M. Roland, Editor of  "Rubber Chemistry and Technology," Washington Times, 4/22/92]. 

Also, it is highly unlikely that condoms will remain perfectly in place every time. As one study showed, 14.6 percent of the condoms slipped or broke [Trussel,  Warner, Hatcher, Family Planning Perspectives, 1/92].

I. Scientific NIH Condom Report (released 20July01) ["Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention", NIH, the FDA, the CDC, & USAID;; The report was developed by a scientific panel of 28 experts who collaborated to examine over 138 peer-reviewed, published studies on condom effectiveness in the transmission of STDs]

{Condoms have been studied/researched for at least 20-30 years} 

  • The researchers found no proof available from these studies that could be interpreted as "proof of adequacy" that condoms are effective in preventing the sp

    read of the primary STDs that represent 98% of all cases.

 In other words,

There is no scientific evidence that condoms prevent the transmission of most sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Of the eight major STDs examined by the panel (HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, herpes simplex II [HSV], & human papilloma virus [HPV]), condoms were not found to provide universal protection against any of them.

The panel of researchers found just two areas of effectiveness, both of which were significantly limited:

  • The heterosexual transmission of HIV and…
  • the female to male transmission of gonorrhea.

(they found that condoms "could reduce the risk of gonorrhea," but only for men)

Also, when used "correctly and consistently" every time, condoms were found to reduce the risk of heterosexual HIV infection by 85 percent. The important qualifications here are that:

  • HIV is not easily transmitted – 1 in 500 sexual encounters;
  • there is still a 15% risk of HIV infection;
  • most HIV is not transmitted heterosexually

Additionally, these two areas (heterosexual HIV, & female to male gonorrhea) represent just 2% of all STDs occurring annually in the U.S., and nearly all of this 2% is gonorrhea.

In fact, HIV represents just 0.26% of all STDs occurring annually in America [about 40,000 cases] and heterosexually transmitted HIV represents just 0.03% of all annual cases of STDs.

"Condoms may reduce risk for heterosexual HIV infection, and gonorrhea for men, but it is medically inaccurate to say that condoms prevent STDs. In fact, this report is quite clear that there is no evidence that condoms can prevent HPV infection."        — Tom Coburn, M.D., former U.S. Congressman

  • According to the HHS/NIH report, "in the US, more than 65 million individuals are living with an STD, the majority of which are incurable viral infections. Approximately 15 million new sexually transmitted infections occur annually in the U.S."
  • There is "no epidemiological evidence that condom use reduced the risk of HPV infection." An estimated 20 million Americans are currently infected with genital HPV; 5.5 million new infections/year. HPV is the cause of nearly all (93%-99%) cervical cancer and has also been linked to prostate, penile, anal and oral cancer. While not everyone infected with HPV will develop cancer, every year 15,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and 5,000 women die from the disease.
  • For the remaining five diseases (chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, herpes simplex II [HSV]), the Panel noted that no evidence was available that could be interpreted as "proof of the adequacy" of condoms.
  • The panel stressed that this does not mean that condoms do not stop STDs; it simply means they have no proof that condoms stop STDs…

[EDITOR: However, after 20-30 years of research, why don’t they have proof?  How long must we wait while they search for this proof?]