Apparently today – 14 February or Valentine’s Day – is National Condom Day. I know, I know it just makes you feel so warm and fuzzy inside, right?
Of all the things to celebrate on a day meant to celebrate love, the Family Planning NSW has chosen to shove the ‘safe sex’ message into clear view of university students across the state with O-Week information stalls and condom dissemination (pardon the pun).
The FPNSW website claims that condom use is one of the best ways to avoid STIs, but this inaccurate to say the least.
A few notes from Human Life International’s Condom Failure Rate Fact Sheet:
"24 sets of condoms tested and all failed" and almost 71% failed "In respect of one or more of the physical requirements of the specification, notably freedom from pinholes." SABS report April 89.
"Spillage from condoms occurs as much as 65% to 75% of the time." Bjorklund and Gordon. Univ of Manitoba. Nov. 1990.
"The rubber comprising latex condom has intrinsic voids about 5 microns in size." The HIV virus is 0.1 micron. Roland, Rubber World. June 1993. Roland and Sobieski, Rubber Chemistry and Technology. Vol. 62, 1989.
Condoms reduce the risk of HIV infection by about 70% if they are used "consistently and correctly" IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) Medical Bulletin Feb. 1997.
"It is not established whether the condom is as effective at preventing heterosexual transmission of HIV as it is for preventing conception." "The level of protection approximates 87%, with a range depending upon the incidence (of HIV) among condom nonusers. Thus the condom's efficacy at reducing heterosexual transmission may be comparable to or slightly lower than its effectiveness at preventing pregnancy." Family Planning Perspectives, 1999.
The failure rate for condoms in preventing pregnancy is 10%. K. Niswander. Manual of Obstetrics 1980.
The ISO standard for condoms allows 2 per 350 to be defective (about six defects per thousand.) (Tough luck if you happen to be one of those six)
"Increased condom use will increase the number of [HIV/AIDS] transmissions that result from condom failure" and "a vigorous condom promotion policy could increase rather than decrease unprotected sexual exposure if it has the unintended effect of encouraging a greater overall level of sexual activity." "Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons" The Lancet, 29 Jan 2000
In one test, 33% of latex condoms leaked HIV sized particles. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. vol.19. 1992
Ontario Ministry of Health campaign to promote condoms by means of televised AIDS messages made respondents more inclined to use condoms but less inclined to avoid casual sexual partners. Wilde, Target Risk, PDE Publications, 1994.
IPPF indicates that the risk of contracting AIDS during so-called "protected sex" approaches 100 percent as the number of episodes of sexual intercourse increases. Cates Medical Bulletin, IPPF 1997.
The only sure ways to avoid sexual transmission of diseases (including AIDS, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, and syphilis) are not to have sex at all or to limit sex to one uninfected partner who is also monogamous. Food and Drug Administrationc (USA) Consumer Magazine Sep 1990.
So given the statistics, why does FPNSW continue to distribute copious quantities of condom? What are they hoping to achieve by giving these away? How can they possible benefit?
Perhaps condom failure is seen as a positive for FPNSWs bottom line which would then benefit by treatment of the ensuing STI. Or abortion of the resulting baby.
© Eva Whiteley 2011