Good Reading
Essays (37)

Condoms and HIV
©William Gairdner, 1995

    "Condoms Can Prevent Aids" was plastered over two letters critical of my recent article about the natural holes in latex condoms and surgical gloves. Don't believe it.
     Critics made the point that HIV tends to travel bound to a white blood cell (which is true) and therefore the natural holes in latex - some 70 times larger than the virus - are "irrelevant" (which is not true).
     The public health logic relied upon to promote condom use is the pragmatic one heard everywhere from those suffering the moral surrender common to liberalism: the young "are going to do it anyway." Strange that this logic does not apply to everything the young do.
     We know quite precisely how many of today's young will die from smoking, alcohol and drug use as adults. Yet public health officials do not (yet) enter the schools handing out samples of vodka, heroin, or free cigarettes to the students. We energetically, even fanatically discourage cigarettes, booze and drugs, but not sex. Children listen.
     Yet I say they are being grievously duped. If AIDS were the Black Death, and it were mostly caught by sexual contact, would we encourage sex in any way? Would we put free condom machines in school washrooms for young children? I suggest not. Public health authorities, in the most stirring tones and with the most graphic media available, would quarantine, or strictly control contact with, all those infected, to protect "public health."
     Instead, AIDS is the first deadly infectious disease in history in which the infected (about 85% male homosexuals) are uncontrolled (have even been allowed to give blood anonymously), and so-called "public health" measures - with the pathetic condom - are mostly directed at the uninfected in a pathetic effort to democratize the disease. The condom and AIDS?
     Expect death, should be the official warning.
     On every pack of cigarettes we see a dire official WARNING about possible cancer. And there are expressions of earnest solicitude in many bars in Canada (from an abortion-happy government) warning the pregnant mother about danger to her baby's health from fetal alcohol syndrome.
     Just as for cigarettes, responsible health officials should be lobbying to print, say, a skull and crossbones on every condom manufactured, then society's double message about AIDS would be fair. A tickler with a difference.
     "Hey, you tryin' to kill me?" would be the reaction.
     Now to the facts. There is extensive research to show that while it is true the HIV virus may be bound to a white blood cell when carried in blood, the concern with the condom is not only blood, but infected seminal fluid.
     The bald fact is that "TESTS OF SEMINAL FLUID SHOW HIV-1 TO BE PRESENT AS FREE VIRUS PARTICLES" [V.L. Scofield, The Journal of NIH Research, 4, 105 (1992)]. Remember: one microliter of seminal fluid (all condom tests are blind to such small leaks) may contain up to 100,000 HIV particles, any one of which could pass through a normal hole in latex rubber without even touching the sides.
     HIV-1 particles are also found as FREE PARTICLES in pre-ejaculatory fluid (G.Ilaria, et. al. The Lancet, 340, 1469 (1992). For parents and concerned citizens: there are many references to free HIV particles in seminal fluid in D.J. Anderson, The Journal of NIH Research, 4, 104, (1992).
     A 1993 review of 11 published studies on condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexually transmitted HIV concluded that condoms "may only lower risk somewhat," and that "high risk behaviour" (in this case, only heterosexual intercourse with HIV carriers) "should be...ELIMINATED" [S.C.Weller, Social Science and Medicine, 36, 1635 (1993)].
     As for the homosexual activity so widely normalized by media and schools? There is wide agreement that condoms afford virtually no protection during anal sex. The U.S. Surgeon-General actually went public on this, declaring "anal intercourse is simply too dangerous a practice."
     As for condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases other than AIDS? More danger. The common Human Papilloma and Herpes Simplex viruses that are now epidemic among youth, make their home all over the external genital area.
     So it's time to admit the so-called contraceptive model based on the condom has been a failure. The program was created to reduce teen pregnancy, illegitimate birth, abortion, STDs, and promiscuity. But everywhere it has been implemented, all these things - except teen live births (knocked off by abortion) - have skyrocketed.
     By 1977, Canada's own Badgley Commission had already declared the contraceptive model of Sex-Ed a failure. Alan Guttmacher, of Planned Parenthood - the largest provider of contraceptives and abortion to school children, has agreed publically that the model leads to early promiscuity, the root of the problem.
     The U.S. Centers for Disease control says that "50-per cent of teenagers who get abortions have been using contraception at the time of conception." A Johns Hopkins study reports that 28 per cent of teen pregnancies "are intentional."
     Sometime soon we are going to see a study saying "50 per cent of those who died of AIDS were using a condom at the time they got the virus."
     "Safe sex with condoms?" A lottery, I'd say.