Friday, November 21, 2008

Question Box Friday: Do condoms work?

There are 18.9 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year and 9.1 million of those cases happen among people ages 15-24. There are around 800, 000 teen pregnancy each year. Why such high numbers? It is because we've given into this "safe" sex mentality. This mentality tells us that it is possible to "protect" ourselves from the consequences of sex such as an STD or a pregnancy by using a condom or getting on the birth control pill. However, condoms and birth control have failure rates. Just think about how much protection doctors wear when they know they could come in contact with their patient's bodily fluids. They are covered head to toe in protective gear. However, when talking to our teens or young adults about sex (an exchange of bodily fluids), they are often handed a small piece of thin latex and told "Just use this and you will be safe."

Here are some informative information to chew on from The Medical Institute for Sexual Health's (MISH) 2003 publication, Sex, Condoms and STDs: What We Now Know - "Safer Sex" isn't nearly safe enough.

What does "protection" mean?
The scientific meaning of the word "protect" can mean anything from "somewhat better than nothing" to "complete safety from a risk factor."

What is consistent (always) condom use?
It is usually defined as 100% condom use during all sexual acts indefinitely.

100% use of condoms for many years is so uncommon that it is almost a, "purely theoretical concept," except for very few, very meticulous individuals. Even among adults who knew their partner had HIV, only 56% used condoms every time.

What do condoms actually do?
Condoms DO NOT provide protection, they reduce the risk of infection

Condoms slip or break on average 1.6% to 3.6% of the time even when used 100% of the time.

The less experience someone has with condom use the greater the chance of condom failure, but most importantly, the more acts of sex someone has, there is more chance of experiencing condom slippage and breakage.

Which STDs do condoms "protect" a person from?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV and the #1 most common STD) and Trichomonas Vaginalis: NO clinical evidence of any risk reduction.

Syphilis: With 100% consistent condom use, there remains a 50%-71% risk of infection

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: With 100% consistent condom use, there remains a 50% risk of infection

Herpes II: With 100% consistent condom use, there still remains a 60% risk of infection
(Herpes II often produces lesions outside the areas that are covered by condoms.)

HIV: With 100% condom use, there still remains a 15% risk of infection

For the approximately 20 other STDs, not enough data exists to say whether or not condoms offer any risk reduction from sexual transmission.

Among teenagers and young adults, when using a condom, there is still a 22.5% risk of becoming pregnant.

The birth control pill, when taken properly everyday, has a 2% failure rate of pregnancy, but provide no reduced risk of contracting a STD.

Condoms and the birth control pill were not invented to "protect" us from STDs or pregnancy. They were created so we can have sex whenever we want with whoever we want.

There was already a very healthy and natural way of preventing STDs and pregnancy. It's called abstinence and it is a great thing! Our sexual urges and feelings are healthy and good, but we are not a mere a collection of urges. We are human beings with the inherent dignity of being created with the ability to reason and will. We have the great privilege and capacity to control ourselves; our urges or feelings whether they be sexually or not. We have got to stop believing the lie that "If it feels good then do it," or "If it feels good then it must be good" or "They'll going to do it anyways." Sex is great, but we don't have to have sex in order to be happy in life. I look forward to my honeymoon night, but I am 24 years old and have not yet had sex and I am very happy and fulfilled.

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