Friday, November 11, 2005

Condoms: The Research Must Be Wrong

There were two big things the whiners didn't like about the curriculum that was developed for MCPS last year. One, of course, was that it talked about gay people without saying how disgusting they are. The other thing was that video -- they just hated the fact that tenth graders would learn the proper way to choose and use condoms.

They keep making this big point that condoms are ineffective. The main argument they make is that condoms don't protect against all human papillomavirus (HPV). And that would be because that virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact of any kind, not just sex. You'd have to wrap your whole body in rubber to protect a hundred percent against HPV.

It's not just in Montgomery County. This "condoms don't work" thing is a mantra for all the Family Blah Blah Blah groups, all the nuts keep saying they don't work.

This Republican congressman, Tom Coburn, got the FDA to do some studies to prove they don't work. Those results are in. Here's the New York Times telling us about it:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 - Used correctly, latex condoms greatly reduce the risks of pregnancy and disease, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday in a 63-page report.

Prepared in response to a five-year-old law, the report is to form the basis for labels for condom packaging and provide more up-to-date information about effectiveness.

The federal drug regulators found that latex condoms are "highly effective" at preventing infection by H.I.V., gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and hepatitis B, largely because all of these diseases are spread through penile contact.

But the agency noted that condoms seem to be less effective against genital herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis and chancroid because lesions from these diseases may appear on skin not covered by condoms, the report said. F.D.A. Reports Reduced Risks With Condoms

Now, you know the reason the CRC and their colleagues don't want to teach students how to use a condom is that they're just sure this information will cause kids to run right out and start having wild sex. They'd rather risk an epidemic of STDs than to say anything about safe sex to a teenager.

This report is really about what kinds of warning labels should go on latex condom packages. I guess up till now there wasn't any warning, but these congressmen decided condoms are so dangerous they need a warning label. So if somebody thought condoms were the perfect prevention for everything, they just might pause to read the label, and find that they only protect the skin under the rubber. You can still catch diseases that are spread by sneezing, even if you wear a condom.

If you want to read the report it's HERE. Not the most exciting piece of literature you're likely to encounter, I'll tell you.

Here's something that drives me crazy, and you see this all the time these days. These self-righteous folks think that wanting something to be true makes it true. For instance: they want condoms to be ineffective. This congressman asked for this research to be done just to prove that what he thought was true was really true.

And then the FDA did the research and found out condoms do just what they're supposed to do, which was not what the congressman wanted to hear.

Could he have been wrong?

Of course not. That's not how it works. The research must be wrong.
But Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who sponsored the legislation that produced the report, immediately criticized its contents.

"Today's misleading recommendations by the F.D.A. are the latest example where the agency has put the public at risk by providing inaccurate information about condoms," said Mr. Coburn, a physician who has said that condom labels provide exaggerated and dangerous reassurance that condoms protect against sexually transmitted disease.

There you go. See how that works?


Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Coburn's medical license should be revoked. (There's also the issue of forced sterilizations for the medical board to consider as well.)

November 12, 2005 1:57 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Frist and Coburn!

November 12, 2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

FYI, there already are warnings on condoms. For example:

"TROJAN Brand Latex Condoms, when used properly, are highly effective against pregnancy--although no contraceptive can guarantee 100% effectiveness...TROJAN Brand Latex Condoms, when used properly, may help reduce the risk of catching or spreading many Sexually Transmitted Diseases ("STDs") such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia infections, genital herpes, and AIDS; however, they cannot eliminate the risk..." (italics mine.)

That's right on the back of the package.
So when Coburn says that "the agency has put the public at risk by providing inaccurate information about condoms," sounds like he was the one doing misleading.

November 13, 2005 12:43 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Kristen, you do recognize that this Trojan quote is the very weakest evidence you could possibly provide for the point of view that condoms are ineffective ... right?

Look, go over and read what CDC and NIH say about it, then come back and we'll talk.


November 13, 2005 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Kristen, I couldn't agree more with you saying Tom Coburn was misleading. Not only that, but because of the law he sponsored, thousands of our federal tax dollars were wasted proving what we already knew -- that properly used condoms make sex safer than when you don't use them properly or at all.

The manufacturer already had a warning label on the package. Coburn's law-sponsored findings have confirmed this Trojan label is correct.

The label was accurate. Coburn was wrong. No big surprise there.

Aunt Bea

November 13, 2005 8:16 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Not sure what you're getting at, Jim. I'm on your side with this. My argument is that the condoms WERE correctly labelled in the first place, and didn't give any false or misleading information. Ergo, Coburn's claim was not only incorrect, it was a waste of time.

November 15, 2005 1:06 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Uh, OK, I guess I read you wrong, sorry. The difference is, I think, these guys want to put FDA "government warnings" on all condoms, rather than let the companies tell you themselves what their limitations are. Which aren't much, as the weakly-worded "warning" that you quoted implies.

I read your comment opposite of what you meant... thinking it was some kind of satire or something. Ya hang around a place like this, ya get jumpy, y'know?


November 15, 2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Hey, no problem. I guess I was under the assumption that the warning I quoted WAS government-mandated. But I guess it's just the condom companies protecting their own skins. Pun intended. ;)

November 15, 2005 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, watch out for him. He gets real jumpy if you start talkin' about "facts."

November 15, 2005 4:11 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Hey Anon, I misinterpreted something somebody said. Pretty bad, huh?

It so happens, and maybe Kristen doesn't even know this, that the CRC loves to quote those labels on condom packages. Like, look at THIS DOCUMENT from their web site -- a whole page of 'em. I pavlovianly (!) misread her comment to have been written in that tradition.


November 15, 2005 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Jim. Got carried away.

I was actually impressed with the tone of your post today. No calling anybody names.

I do think the thing where you occasionally post pictures of people you think are strange-looking is inappropriate.

November 16, 2005 11:24 AM  

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