Condoms vs. AbstinenceSTEVEN MOSHER
Over the past twenty years, HIV/AIDS prevention programs have centered on the large-scale distribution of condoms. These have been combined with “safe sex” propaganda campaigns aimed at convincing the public that putting a layer of latex between sexual partners can guarantee protection against infection by the HIV/AIDS virus.
Over the course of the nineties, USAID shipped approximately 5 billion condoms abroad.(3) Billions of others came from the UN Population Fund, the UK’s Overseas Development Agency, and other providers. Yet, despite this flood of condoms into the developing world, the rate of HIV/AIDS infection continued to grow at startling rates. The number of victims increased one thousand-fold, from just over 40 thousand in 1990 to over 40 million in 2000. Why is this?
One answer may be suggested by a review of the scientific evidence on condom effectiveness conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).(4) Citing a study by Davis and Weller, NIH postulated that condoms, if consistently and properly used, provide an 85% reduction in HIV/AIDS transmission risk.(5) While no one would deny that this reduction in risk is significant, it is far from being the perfect protection promised by the “safe sex” propaganda funded by USAID. Even paved with condoms, the road to promiscuity still leads to death.
The failure of condoms to provide perfect protection against HIV/AIDS is also suggested by studies of condom use for the prevention of pregnancy. Approximately 3% of couples who reported using condoms consistently and correctly (considered “perfect use”) are estimated to experience an unintended pregnancy during the first year of use.(6) If sperm can find their way around the latex barrier, then so, presumably, can the AIDS virus.
To further complicate
matters, the presumed protection resulting from using a condom may lead to behavioral
changes that completely negate the protection. For example, an individual who
believes that consistent and correct use of condoms provides near-absolute protection
against HIV/AIDS may engage in recklessly promiscuous behavior that they would
otherwise avoid. Why? Because they have been led to believe that, by practicing
“safe sex,” they are immune from contracting the disease. In this way, the rate
of HIV/AIDS transmission may not be reduced at all by the “safe sex” message,
but actually increase over time.
Mosher, Steve. “Condoms vs. Abstinence.” Population Research Institutel (2003).
Steven W. Mosher, President of the non-profit Population Research Institute, is widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the population question. Steven Mosher, a convert to Catholicism, is the author of the best-selling A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy. Other books authored by Steve include Hegemon: China's Plan to Dominate Asia and the World, China Attacks, China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality, Journey to the Forbidden China, and Broken Earth: The Rural Chinese. Articles by Steven Mosher have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, TheNew Republic, National Review, Reason, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Freedom Review, and numerous other publications. Steve Mosher and his wife, Vera, have nine children. They reside in Virginia.
© 2003 PRI
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