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Physicians Series




You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “safe sex” and it may sound great!
Here are some medical facts about condoms and “safe sex.”

According to a report issued in July 2001 by the National Institutes of Health (NH), there is NO scientific evidence that condoms prevent the transmission of 98% of eight major sexually-transmitted diseases.

Condoms were NOT found to provide universal protection against HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, genital herpes or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Researchers found only two areas of limited condom effectiveness: heterosexual transmission of HIV (only 0.03% of all annual STD cases) and female-to-male transmission of gonorrhea (2% of all STDs occurring annually in the US). (Gonorrhea is a curable, bacterial disease.)

The Executive Panel concluded that condoms “could reduce the risk of gonorrhea,” but only “for men.”

 The Panel and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recognize that condoms do not stop HPV infection. An estimated 20 million Americans are currently infected with genital HPV (warts). HPV is a major cause of nearly all cervical cancer and has also been linked to penile, prostate, 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.
Hundreds of thousands of other women will be diagnosed and treated for pre-cancerous conditions. If these “real people” were questioned, it may very well be found that they could provide evidence of the inadequacies of condoms in their “real situations”. . .

For the remaining five diseases, the Panel noted that “the absence of definitive conclusions reflected inadequacies of the evidence available and should not be interpreted as the proof of the. . .inadequacy of the condom to reduce the risk.” This report was delayed for more than one year before being made public; one wonders why. After more than twenty years of research, one must also wonder if there are no “definitive conclusions” and such “inadequacies of evidence available” perhaps condoms simply do not work. [“Scientific Evidence on Condom effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention,” co-sponsored by NIH, FDA, CDC, and USAID]

** Once a person has one STD, they usually get more STDs, and this greatly increases the risk of HIV.

** Even with the use of condoms, 10 to 30 percent of women become pregnant within one year, even though a woman is fertile only three to six days each month; any man and any woman can acquire Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), such as AIDS, any day of the year.

** It only takes ONE act of sex to become pregnant, to get a sexually transmitted disease, or to die from AIDS. . . Would you start your car if you knew there was a 30% chance the car would explode and you would die? What about a 10% chance?

** The AIDS virus is 450 times smaller than a sperm. C.M. Roland, Editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, notes, “The AIDS virus is only 0.1 micron in size. . .50 times smaller than the voids (holes) in rubber. . .the virus can readily pass through the condom.” [The Washington Times, 4/92]

** If 10 to 30 percent of women become pregnant during 36 to 72 days of the year because of condom failure, and if AIDS can be transmitted by only one act of sex 365 days of the year, and if the AIDS virus is 450 times smaller than a sperm-these are scientifically proven facts-”someone isn’t telling the truth about sex, disease, and safety.” [Anne Marie Collopy, “The Safe Sex Lie,” ALL About Issues, Spring, 1991.]

** There are 15 million new STD cases each year in the US [18.9 million in year 2000] and 65 million Americans have STDs, most of which are viral and lifelong. At least three million teens are infected each year. How can this be, if “safe sex” is so safe?

** Teens, and even some adults, have the idea that “it won’t happen to me.” Dr. Brian Scully, Professor of Clinical Medicine of Columbia University, wrote: “Condoms reduce, but in no way eliminate, the risk of transmission through sexual intercourse of the HIV virus, which causes AIDS. It is likely that a sexually active HIV – infected person who uses condoms will infect partners at some point whether after five, 10 or 100 acts of intercourse. It should be remembered that AIDS carries a 100-percent mortality [death] rate. To advise patients that they may be sexually active so long as they engage in so-called ‘safe sex’ is preposterous and irresponsible.” [The New York Times, 1/93]

** AIDS cases among teens and young adults increased 77 percent from 1990 to 1992; 9000 cases of AIDS were reported among 13 to 24 year olds with thousands more already infected with HIV. A report by the House Committee on Children, Youth and Families states that “millions more are at risk.” [USA Today, 4/13/92]

** 45 million Americans have Herpes (Herpes Simplex II Virus, or, HSV). Studies show that having Herpes increases the risk of getting HIV. HIV then increases Herpes outbreaks, and each outbreak speeds the progression of AIDS.

** The Jefferson County Medical Society published the following “Physician’s View” article: “Is there really such a thing as safe sex?. . .”

“Safe sex, defined by those who would like us to believe in it, is wearing a condom and asking the person you are about to have sex with if he or she is monogamous and free of disease. This. . .is no guarantee. Condoms do leak, foams are not foolproof and, most important, humans are the ones who use them. When it comes to whether an individual is going to have sex, can you trust his or her answer to your question of monogamy in the relationship with you?”

“Sex can be ma

de safe, not by wearing a condom, or having a random list of questions to ask your partner, but by having it in the context of a longstanding monogamous [marriage] relationship.”
“Abstinence is the best policy when it comes to sex outside of a longstanding [marriage] relationship.” [emphasis added] [Birmingham Post-Herald, 12/19/91]

** “Abstinence is the only true comprehensive sex education; only abstinence provides 100% protection physically, emotionally, and psychologically.” [“Quick Facts on Safe-Sex”]

** Planned Parenthood reports that the #1 reason teens begin sexual activity is peer pressure. So called “safe sex” programs increase peer pressure.

** A Louis Harris poll found that 90 percent of teens admitted they had become promiscuous simply because of perceived peer pressure. [American Teens speak, Harris & Associates]

** Poll after poll is finding that the most important question for many teens is how to say “no” to sex without hurting his/her feelings. Most teens are not comfortable with premarital sex.

** Despite what you hear, everybody is not “doing it”! According to the CDC, about 20 percent of high school students are “sexually active.” However, the CDC considers a person sexually active if he/she had sex once during the three months prior to the survey. For some of these teens, it may have been the first time, the only time, or the last time! In another study, 14 percent of the so-called “sexually active” teens studies had only had intercourse once. [Family Planning Perspective, 1/92]

** Many teens have never heard of “secondary virginity” because “safe sex” promoters don’t think it’s possible to stop having sex. If you’re traveling down a road and realize you’re going the wrong way, do you just keep going? Or, do you use your common sense, turn around, and come back to find the right way? That’s what secondary virginity is all about. Many teens are coming back every day.

** People who promote “safe sex” believe that teens are not capable of “saying no” to sex. They don’t believe you have the strength, the courage, or the sense to practice chastity–sexual self-control. The Alabama Physicians for Life know that you ARE capable of saying “no”; we believe in you! It’s not easy to say “no,” but nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.

** People are starting to realize that “safe sex” is not safe at all – just deadly.

** Condoms don’t protect a broken heart. The emotional consequences of premarital sexual activity are many, including worry about pregnancy and AIDS, regret, guilt, loss of self-respect and self-esteem, corruption of character, fear of commitment, rage over betrayal, depression… even suicide.

** “The pill”, “the shot”, and “the patch” provide NO PROTECTION against STDs, and about 18 percent of teens using “The pill” will still get pregnant within one year (almost 1 in 5).

** The Condom “Failure” Rate (pregnancy) during the first two months of use among unmarried (not cohabitating) teen females is as high as 22.5% (more than 1 in 5 get pregnant). [Fu, et al, “Contraceptive Failure Rates. . .”, v.3, no. 2, Mar-Apr 99]

If you’re traveling down a road and realize you’re going the wrong way, do you just keep going? Or, do you use your common sense, turn around, and come back to find the right way?

** It is also sobering to note that 58 percent of women who underwent abortions in 1994/95 reported that they were using contraception the month they conceived. Of 1,300,000 U.S. abortions per year, this meants about 754,000 contracepting women used abortion as back-up birth control. [CDC MMWR, 12/08/00, vol. 49] Birth control (condoms, pill, etc.) “fails” for 56-67% of women who abort their offspring. If birth control methods fail to stop pregnancy this often, what about STDs? How often are STDs transmitted?

** Condoms reduce the risk of HETEROSEXUAL HIV by about 85% only IF they are used “consistently and correctly.” Willard Cates, Jr., M.D. noted in his study that, “Clearly sexual abstinence will eliminate all risks.” [Cates, M.D., Medical Bulletin, International Planned Parenthood, 2/97; NIH Report, 7/01]

** Some STDs are spread by skin-to-skin contact, not by fluids caught in a condom. “Condoms are useless in preventing HPV transmission, because the virus is spread by cells that are shed on the scrotum, which then comes in contact with the vulvar skin.” [Michael Campion, M.D., Director of Gynecologic Endoscopy at Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, MISH Sexual Health Update, 4/94]

** In one trial, 14.6 percent of latex condoms either broke or slipped off the penis during intercourse or withdrawal. “These rates indicate a sobering level of exposure to the risks of  pregnancy and of infection with HIV or other STDs, even among those who consistently use condoms.” [W. Archer, M.D., OBG, Prevention in Focus, 2/93; Trussell Warner, Hatcher, “Condom Performance During Vaginal Intercourse,” Contraception, Jan. 1992, vol. 45, no.1, pp. 11-19]

** Two thirds of STD cases occur in persons UNDER 25 years of age. [CDC]

** One in three of our teens who has sex will graduate from high school with a sexually transmitted disease. As many as 60% of school populations have serious infectious sexual diseases including chlamydia and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Only the common cold virus is more common. When infected with one of these diseases the risk of HIV transmission increases by as much as 100 times.” [W.R. Archer, M.D.]

** An international study found that only 13% of Americans polled said they use a condom every time. The CDC notes that condoms used inconsistently offer little more protection than not using them at  all. [NCAE News Release, Jan. 98]

** THE CONDOM FAILURE RATE (pregnancy) during the first two months of use among unmarried (not cohabitating) teen females is as high as 22.5%  [Fu, et al, “Contraceptive Failure Rates. . .”, FPP, v. 3, no. 2, Mar-Apr 99]

STD  (not using condoms)  (using condoms)
Herpes II   1.0                           .61 to .80
Gonorhea                1.0                          .66 to .87
HPV                        1.0                          No protection
Chlamydia                1.0                               .97

[Cates & Stone, “Family Planning, STDs, and Contraceptive Choice,” FPP, v. 24, no. 2, Mar-Apr 92]

Explanation of this chart: “If, for example, the risk of contracting Herpes II without a condom is 1.0, then the risk of contracting Herpes II when using a condom is .61 to .80. This means that condoms reduce the risk of contracting Herpes II by 20% to 39% compared to having sex without using condoms.” [Take Twelve, FoF, 2001]

** “Abstinence until marriage, and sex with one mutually faithful uninfected partner in that marriage, is the only total effective prevention strategy. . .condoms give a false sense of security and having sex is dangerous. Reducing the risk is not the same as eliminating the risk…
Doctors can’t fix most of the things you can catch out there. There’s no cure for AIDS. There’s no cure for herpes or genital warts. . .There is no safe sex. Condoms aren’t going to make a dent in the sexual epidemics that we arefacing. If the condom breaks, you may die.” [Robert C. Noble, MD, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, “There is No Safe Sex,” AFA Journal, May 1991]

Is this “safe sex” or “sexual Russian Roulette”? “Reducing the risk" is NOT THE SAME as "eliminating the risk.”

Well, what do you think?
Now that you know some medical facts about “safe sex”, it doesn’t seem quite so safe and easy, does it?

Is “safe sex” worth the risk?
It’s your health; it’s your life. . .

“Safe sex” is a deadly game.
“Saved sex” is the healthy choice!

Third Edition, 01/07
1st Printing, 3/92, 2nd Printing, 11/93, 3rd Printing, 11/96, 4th Printing, 9/99
© 2007 Alabama Physicians for Life, Inc. May not be reproduced except in its entirety.