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1 20th November 21:13
paulking
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Posts: 1
Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE? (condoms stress birth control down virus)


CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?
by
Peter W. Plumley, F.S.A.
17 East Division Street
Chicago, IL 60610


Peter W. Plumley, an independent consulting actuary, is a Fellow of the
Society
of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He has had
six papers
published in the Transactions of the Society of Actuaries, including
"Modeling
the AIDS Epidemic by ****ysis of ***ual and Intravenous Drug Behavior"
(1989)
and "An Actuarial ****ysis of the AIDS Epidemic as it Affects
Hetero***uals"
(1992). He also has had three articles on AIDS published in Contingencies,
the Journal
of the American Academy of Actuaries. These are "AIDS - Is the Prognosis
for
the Future Really so Dire?" (1990), "Has the AIDS Epidemic Peaked?"
(1991), and "The Magic of Risk - The Risk of Magic" (1992).
Mr. Plumley is Chairperson of the Society of Actuaries Non-Insurance
HIV/AIDS Task
Force and is a member of the Society of Actuaries Committee on HIV/AIDS
(which deals
with insurance-related AIDS is- sues). He served on the Board of Governors
of the
Society of Actuaries from 1981-1984.
"Always wear a condom!!" "Safe
*** for all!"
How often have we heard this? Plenty - that's how often. Now that Bill
Clinton is
in the White House, condoms have replaced abstinence as the centerpiece of
"AIDS
prevention" efforts for hetero***uals. They are handed out in schools, in
some
cases to children who are too young to even care about matters ***ual. Any
talk
show dealing with *** emphasizes the need to practice "safe ***". Those
who claim to use condoms get applauded; those who don't get booed.
These "AIDS prevention" warnings are based on the assumption that AIDS
is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, known as "HIV", and
therefore
to control the AIDS epidemic we must prevent the transmission of HIV.
Later we'll discuss whether HIV really does cause AIDS by itself, or
requires some
cofactor, or even is unrelated to AIDS. However, for the moment, let's
assume that
HIV infection is bad for you, and then ****yze whether these "safe ***"
warnings are desirable for those who make up the great majority of the
American
public - the hetero***uals who are not into the drug culture .From a
public health
point of view, does "condomania" make sense for the average American?
Condoms and hard hats
Do you wear a hard hat all the time? No, of course not. Neither does
anyone else.
Yes, construction workers do while at work, and so do others such as
football and
hockey players, some motorcyclists and bicyclists, and people who are
engaged in
work or play where there is a special risk of injury to the head.
But how many hard hats do you see on the heads of people walking down Main
Street
or riding in a car? Few, if any. Is this because there is no risk at all
of getting
hit on the head? Not at all. Many people have been hurt or killed from
head injuries
that would have been prevented if they had worn a hard hat while going
about their
daily activities.
Then why doesn't everyone wear a hard hat all day long? The answer is
simple. It's
because (1) for most people the risk of a head injury is very small, and
(2) a hard
hat is inconvenient and uncomfortable to wear. So unless you are a
construction
worker or an athlete, you probably are willing to take this small risk in
order
to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort.
What about condoms? Isn't it possible that the failure to use a condom
could cause
you to become infected with a ***ually transmitted disease ("STD")?
Certainly
- we've known that for years!
And what about the dreaded HIV? That's supposed to spread ***ually, too.
Yet we
know that the majority of men are not using condoms, in spite of all the
"safe
***" messages. Why aren't they? Are they foolhardy and irresponsible? Or
are
condoms like hard hats - awkward and uncomfortable to wear, and designed
to prevent
a risk too small to be of concern for most people?
Who is really at risk of getting HIV?
A recent study of the ***ual lifestyles of Americans titled "*** in
America"
confirms that, not only is HIV infection currently confined largely to
such "high-risk"
groups as homo***ual men, drug users, and their ***ual partners and
children, but
also that it will stay that way. In other words,HIV will not spread
generally into
the hetero***ual population through ***ual contact.
There are two reasons for this. First, according to the study there isn't
that much
***ual contact between those in the drug community and the rest of the
hetero***ual
population. But another, more important reason, is that, unlike other
***ually transmitted
diseases, HIV is extremely difficult to transmit ***ually, particularly
from a female
to a male. It can be mathematically demonstrated that the more difficult
it is to
transmit an STD, the greater the proportion of such transmissions occur
between
primary, regular, and possibly monogamous partners, rather than between
those involved
with "one night stands". Because HIV is so difficult to transmit
hetero***ually,
HIV infections that are caused by hetero***ual contact usually arise from
a regular,
long term ***ual relationship with an IV drug user. (Occasionally, though,
an individual
has an unusual susceptibility to HIV infection, perhaps because of genital
sores
or lesions from some other STD).
As a result, while other, more easily transmitted, STDs go from a man to a
woman
to a man to a woman, etc. by ***ual contact, HIV typically goes from an IV
drug
user to his regular ***ual partner, and no further.
What about homo***ual men? Are they all at high risk for HIV infection?
Not really.
Typically, HIV is confined to a relatively small subset of homo***ual men.
Those
at risk usually have engaged in repeated (and frequently drug induced)
**** ***ual
practices which have put them at risk for a variety of diseases, which in
turn make
it easy for HIV to be transmitted. But it is not all homo***ual men that
are at
risk - only a specific subset of them.
So while there is a significant risk of HIV infection for many of those in
the "high
risk" groups, the typical healthy hetero***ual who is not involved with
the
drug community has virtually no risk.
Will urging the use of condoms reduce the spread of HIV? If so, is the
right population
being targeted? We have seen that the "politically correct" position is
to urge everyone to use a condom, every time *** takes place.
But, wait a minute - if that really happened (and the condoms always
worked properly),
wouldn't the human race eventually die out because no more babies would be
conceived?
Of course it would. So let's say that we don't need to use condoms when
having ***
with our primary partner; however, if we have multiple partners, then we
should
pull out the condom.
Nice idea, and one which might help reduce the spread of some of the more
easily
transmitted STDs. But it won't do much for the reduction of HIV
transmission, because
as we have seen, HIV is so difficult to transmit ***ually that HIV
infection usually
requires a regular, long term ***ual relationship with an HIV infected
partner,
not just a one night stand. (Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the
risk of
HIV infection does not increase with the number of ***ual partners.)
So we are faced with a dilemma. If we are able to get everyone to use
condoms all
the time, we eventually wipe out the human race. (Now that will stop the
spread
of AIDS!) On the other hand, if we concentrate only on those who are
engaging in
*** with secondary partners, very few HIV transmissions will be
prevented.
Fortunately, the dilemma solves itself. The extreme difficulty with which
HIV transmits
by hetero***ual intercourse also is the reason that most HIV transmissions
are drug
related, involving either sharing needles or **** *** not ******l ***.
These easily
identifiable groups are and continue to by the correct target groups for
both HIV
infection and prevention. Even if every hetero***ual used a condom all of
the time,
only a very small percentage of new HIV infections would be prevented.
Therefore, assuming HIV infection to be a matter of concern, the place to
look for
significant ways to reduce its spread is not by "condomania" for
hetero***uals,
but by focusing in on the real, significant risk groups.
Who is really at risk for AIDS?
Up to this point, we've been assuming that HIV is the cause of AIDS.
However, in
the last few years, an increasing number of respected scientists have come
to the
conclusion that the relationship of HIV to AIDS is far more complicated
than simply
that "HIV causes AIDS". Some of these people, such as Dr. Peter Duesberg,
one of the world's leading authorities on retroviruses such as HIV,
believe that
HIV is a harmless virus that has nothing to do with AIDS. Others, such as
Dr. Robert
Root-Bernstein, author of the book Rethinking AIDS, believe that HIV is
related
to AIDS in some way, but that it requires some immune system damaging
"co-factor"
to be harmful.
****ysis of this issue is complicated by several factors. One is that AIDS
is not
a disease - it is a syndrome consisting of a number of diseases which have
been
around for years, but have become much more prevalent in recent years. The
conventional
theory is that this increase has occurred because of the spread of the
virus known
as "HIV". However, others believe that it is the result of other causes
such as the dramatic increase in recreational drug use, drug-driven ****
*** and
its associated diseases and treatments, and other immune suppressing
activities.
A second problem is that the definition of "AIDS" has been expanded
several
times, most recently in 1993. It is a complicated definition, which in
most (but
not all!) cases requires that the person test positive for HIV. As a
result, when
developing AIDS statistics, people with these diseases who are
HIV-positive are
diagnosed with "AIDS", while those who test HIV-negative are simply
diagnosed
as having the underlying disease (which may not even have to be reported
to the
local health department). Naturally there is a high correlation between
HIV and
AIDS!
While we don't know all the answers, we do know that in virtually every
case in
which "AIDS" has been diagnosed, there is some provable and identifiable
risk factor present (besides HIV) which would tend to damage the immune
system.
In his book, Dr. Root-Bernstein gives a lengthy list of drugs and other
conditions
which are known to damage the immune system. These include not only IV
drugs, but
also non-IV "recreational" drugs such as crack, "poppers", etc.,
as well as certain prescription drugs such as AZT, and even some of the
stronger
drugs prescribed for the treatment of some ***ually transmitted diseases
(and which
are frequently taken in large quantities by those infected with such
diseases).
It also includes immune system abnormalities such as hemophilia.
These provable and identifiable risk factors have been known for years to
cause
immune system deficiencies, for both homo***uals and hetero***uals. So
regardless
of whether or not HIV "causes" AIDS, it is clear that the people who
really
are at significant risk for developing potentially fatal diseases related
to immune
system deficiencies - whether these diseases are called "AIDS" or
something
else - are those who in one way or another have damaged immune systems.
These are the people who need attention and education, if a significant
number of
lives are to be saved. Urging the use of condoms will not have a
significant impact
on the prevention of AIDS, because condoms do not affect the root causes
of immune
deficiency problems.
AIDS and young people
We frequently hear about the "exploding" AIDS epidemic among our young
people. This is used as a compelling reason for passing out condoms in the
public
schools. Yet the government's own data indicates to the contrary.
The total number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control
in 1990
for ages 13-24 was 1796. In 1991, the number was 1633 - a decrease of 163,
or 9%.
In 1992, the number decreased further, to 1605. Not exactly an
"exploding"
epidemic. (A comparison with 1993 data is meaningless because of the
expanded definition
of AIDS which took effect on January 1, 1993.) Furthermore, as with all
age groups,
the majority of these cases were attributed to high risk homo***ual *** or
IV drug
use. And the majority of those attributed to hetero***ual contact involved
***ual
contact with drug users. For ages 13-24, deaths from AIDS are less than 2%
of the
total deaths for those ages - and most of this 2% are drug-related. So
when young
people compare the risks of getting AIDS from hetero***ual contact with
the other,
much greater, hazards they face in their daily lives - guns, auto
accidents, drugs,
etc. - it is no wonder that so many of them pay little attention to "safe
***"
warnings. Once again, the solution is not condoms, but education about
other STDs
and the dangers of drug use - but even more important, solving the
other,more serious
problems facing our youth. (Dave's note: Later data for 1995 and mid 1996
continues
to show the clear almost insignificnt risk for healthy hetero***uals that
don't
do drugs. See our other AIDS articles and CDC data).
The dangers of "condomania"
Public health authorities have mounted a massive campaign to urge the use
of condoms
to prevent the spread of AIDS. However, as we have just seen, "safe ***"
campaigns for hetero***uals are destined to fail as a significant AIDS
prevention
method. But are they doing any harm? After all, considering the number of
illegitimate
births, isn't it a good idea to try to scare young people into using
condoms, and
thereby reduce the number of ****age pregnancies?
Some may think so, but this writer disagrees. We are telling everyone that
"Unprotected
*** means HIV infection", and "HIV infection means certain death".
In the process we are terrorizing the entire population about a virus of
questionable
pathogenicity and about a disease that significantly affects only certain
specific
and easily identifiable groups.
Does terrorizing the population do harm? You bet it does! Think what is
happening
here. It is one thing to tell our daughters not to get pregnant until they
are married
and ready for children. But we are teaching our children (and everyone
else) that
"intimacy means death". In the process, we are interfering with one of
the most basic human desires - that of ***ual intimacy - by telling
millions of
people, most of whom have little or no risk of HIV infection, that *** may
kill
them unless they "protect" themselves from a partner who may be carrying
a deadly, and transmittable, virus. We are telling them that they may die
a horrible
death unless they intrude on the lovemaking process by using some
artificial means
to prevent their body fluids from intermingling, even though for many that
is an
important part of the ***ual experience.
Unfortunately, while most people understand that hard hats aren't worth
the bother
when walking down Main Street, few understand how difficult it is to get
infected
with HIV from ***ual intercourse. A survey conducted in 1987 by the
National Center
for Health Statistics indicated that 97% of those surveyed believed that
unprotected
*** with someone with AIDS was either "very likely" or "quite likely"
to result in HIV infection. Only 3% understood that it really was highly
unlikely,
because the HIV is so difficult to transmit in that manner.
One must wonder how many millions live in constant fear of a disease they
will never
get, and how much harm this fear is doing to their lives. On two occasions
this
author has talked with women who expressed their reluctance to develop
relationships
with men because of their fear of AIDS. On both occasions, they were chain
smoking
as they talked - a habit ten thousand times as dangerous as the ***ual
contact that
they feared. One has to wonder how many others have destroyed their health
from
some unhealthy habit that they might have been able to break if they had
felt free
to seek out the comfort of a loving relationship with someone.
Today our nation is terrorized by violence. Most of this violence has
nothing to
do with AIDS. However, for years many prisons have allowed conjugal visits
in order
to reduce the stress, and resulting violence, among prisoners. If *** can
reduce
violence, doesn't it follow that lack of *** will increase violence? How
many of
the acts of violence in today's society are in some way related to stress
caused
by the lack of a good ***ual relationship due to an unwarranted fear of
AIDS?
And finally, consider what "AIDS paranoia" in general has done. Today
we have a population which not only has become fearful of ***, but of
almost any
other type of contact with someone with who has tested HIV antibody
positive. A
1990 report by the American Civil Liberties Union do***ented 13,000
complaints of
AIDS-related discrimination. Laws have been passed to prevent some of this
discrimination,
but these laws cannot correct public attitudes - only better public
education can
do that, through a reduction in "AIDS paranoia".
Unfortunately, "condomania" is doing just the opposite.
So, should anyone bother with condoms?
It is clear that not everyone needs to use a condom, any more than we all
should
wear hard hats. But should anyone use a condom? Certainly, just as some
people should
use hard hats.
Condoms can be used to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy, if no other
method
of birth control is being used.
Condoms should be used by homo***ual men when engaging in **** ***,
particularly
if many partners are involved, to prevent the transmission of STDs.
Condoms should be used by hetero***uals for the prevention of other STDs
when one's
***ual partner is at increased risk for such diseases. For example, they
should
be used when one's partner has a history of STDs, or has some current
symptoms,
such as lesions, sores, or genital warts, or is particularly suseptible to
exposure
to STDs (such as might be the case with a street prostitute). But in many
cases,
if your concern about ***ually transmitted disease is so great that you
feel the
need to use a condom, you probably shouldn't be in the bedroom in the
first place!
(Would you feel safe walking through a bad neighborhood, just because you
were wearing
a hard hat to protect yourself from a rap on the head by a mugger?)
Is there a better way?
When articles such as this one suggest that condoms aren't always needed,
someone
is always quick to condemn the writer as "irresponsible" and "risking
the lives of others".
However, the same statement could be made about an article urging any
activity involving
even the smallest risk - boating, riding in a car, skiing, etc. Yet those
articles
don't get criticized. Why not? Because we all recognize that we must take
some small
risks in order to enjoy life's pleasures.
The same is true for ***ual pleasure. A good ***ual relationship is a
normal and
healthy part of human existence. However, such relationships nearly always
involve
small risks of some sort, even if only emotional. So while ***ual
responsibility
is important, paranoia about such "one-in-a- million" risks where common
sense should be sufficient protection can destroy the pleasure that nature
intended.
If "condomania" isn't the answer, is there a better way to be safe from
AIDS?
The good news is that there is.
We know that persons testing HIV-positive from ***ual contact nearly
always either
have a long term relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, or have
some STD
or involvement with drugs which makes him or her unusually susceptible to
HIV infection.
We also know that the vast majority of AIDS cases continue to be
associated with
substance abusers, both homo***ual and hetero***ual, and their regular
***ual partners
(most of whom are also substance abusers).
So a sensible way to avoid getting AIDS is not "condomania". Instead,
it is to keep your own body healthy and not infected with any other
***ually transmitted
disease (recognize the symptoms, and get prompt treatment, if you get
one), and
to avoid street drugs and those who use them. In other words, avoid the
various
activities which have always caused damage to the immune system.
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2 20th November 21:13
paulking
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE? (condoms stress birth control down virus)


CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?
by
Peter W. Plumley, F.S.A.
17 East Division Street
Chicago, IL 60610


Peter W. Plumley, an independent consulting actuary, is a Fellow of the
Society
of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He has had
six papers
published in the Transactions of the Society of Actuaries, including
"Modeling
the AIDS Epidemic by ****ysis of ***ual and Intravenous Drug Behavior"
(1989)
and "An Actuarial ****ysis of the AIDS Epidemic as it Affects
Hetero***uals"
(1992). He also has had three articles on AIDS published in Contingencies,
the Journal
of the American Academy of Actuaries. These are "AIDS - Is the Prognosis
for
the Future Really so Dire?" (1990), "Has the AIDS Epidemic Peaked?"
(1991), and "The Magic of Risk - The Risk of Magic" (1992).
Mr. Plumley is Chairperson of the Society of Actuaries Non-Insurance
HIV/AIDS Task
Force and is a member of the Society of Actuaries Committee on HIV/AIDS
(which deals
with insurance-related AIDS is- sues). He served on the Board of Governors
of the
Society of Actuaries from 1981-1984.
"Always wear a condom!!" "Safe
*** for all!"
How often have we heard this? Plenty - that's how often. Now that Bill
Clinton is
in the White House, condoms have replaced abstinence as the centerpiece of
"AIDS
prevention" efforts for hetero***uals. They are handed out in schools, in
some
cases to children who are too young to even care about matters ***ual. Any
talk
show dealing with *** emphasizes the need to practice "safe ***". Those
who claim to use condoms get applauded; those who don't get booed.
These "AIDS prevention" warnings are based on the assumption that AIDS
is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, known as "HIV", and
therefore
to control the AIDS epidemic we must prevent the transmission of HIV.
Later we'll discuss whether HIV really does cause AIDS by itself, or
requires some
cofactor, or even is unrelated to AIDS. However, for the moment, let's
assume that
HIV infection is bad for you, and then ****yze whether these "safe ***"
warnings are desirable for those who make up the great majority of the
American
public - the hetero***uals who are not into the drug culture .From a
public health
point of view, does "condomania" make sense for the average American?
Condoms and hard hats
Do you wear a hard hat all the time? No, of course not. Neither does
anyone else.
Yes, construction workers do while at work, and so do others such as
football and
hockey players, some motorcyclists and bicyclists, and people who are
engaged in
work or play where there is a special risk of injury to the head.
But how many hard hats do you see on the heads of people walking down Main
Street
or riding in a car? Few, if any. Is this because there is no risk at all
of getting
hit on the head? Not at all. Many people have been hurt or killed from
head injuries
that would have been prevented if they had worn a hard hat while going
about their
daily activities.
Then why doesn't everyone wear a hard hat all day long? The answer is
simple. It's
because (1) for most people the risk of a head injury is very small, and
(2) a hard
hat is inconvenient and uncomfortable to wear. So unless you are a
construction
worker or an athlete, you probably are willing to take this small risk in
order
to avoid the inconvenience and discomfort.
What about condoms? Isn't it possible that the failure to use a condom
could cause
you to become infected with a ***ually transmitted disease ("STD")?
Certainly
- we've known that for years!
And what about the dreaded HIV? That's supposed to spread ***ually, too.
Yet we
know that the majority of men are not using condoms, in spite of all the
"safe
***" messages. Why aren't they? Are they foolhardy and irresponsible? Or
are
condoms like hard hats - awkward and uncomfortable to wear, and designed
to prevent
a risk too small to be of concern for most people?
Who is really at risk of getting HIV?
A recent study of the ***ual lifestyles of Americans titled "*** in
America"
confirms that, not only is HIV infection currently confined largely to
such "high-risk"
groups as homo***ual men, drug users, and their ***ual partners and
children, but
also that it will stay that way. In other words,HIV will not spread
generally into
the hetero***ual population through ***ual contact.
There are two reasons for this. First, according to the study there isn't
that much
***ual contact between those in the drug community and the rest of the
hetero***ual
population. But another, more important reason, is that, unlike other
***ually transmitted
diseases, HIV is extremely difficult to transmit ***ually, particularly
from a female
to a male. It can be mathematically demonstrated that the more difficult
it is to
transmit an STD, the greater the proportion of such transmissions occur
between
primary, regular, and possibly monogamous partners, rather than between
those involved
with "one night stands". Because HIV is so difficult to transmit
hetero***ually,
HIV infections that are caused by hetero***ual contact usually arise from
a regular,
long term ***ual relationship with an IV drug user. (Occasionally, though,
an individual
has an unusual susceptibility to HIV infection, perhaps because of genital
sores
or lesions from some other STD).
As a result, while other, more easily transmitted, STDs go from a man to a
woman
to a man to a woman, etc. by ***ual contact, HIV typically goes from an IV
drug
user to his regular ***ual partner, and no further.
What about homo***ual men? Are they all at high risk for HIV infection?
Not really.
Typically, HIV is confined to a relatively small subset of homo***ual men.
Those
at risk usually have engaged in repeated (and frequently drug induced)
**** ***ual
practices which have put them at risk for a variety of diseases, which in
turn make
it easy for HIV to be transmitted. But it is not all homo***ual men that
are at
risk - only a specific subset of them.
So while there is a significant risk of HIV infection for many of those in
the "high
risk" groups, the typical healthy hetero***ual who is not involved with
the
drug community has virtually no risk.
Will urging the use of condoms reduce the spread of HIV? If so, is the
right population
being targeted? We have seen that the "politically correct" position is
to urge everyone to use a condom, every time *** takes place.
But, wait a minute - if that really happened (and the condoms always
worked properly),
wouldn't the human race eventually die out because no more babies would be
conceived?
Of course it would. So let's say that we don't need to use condoms when
having ***
with our primary partner; however, if we have multiple partners, then we
should
pull out the condom.
Nice idea, and one which might help reduce the spread of some of the more
easily
transmitted STDs. But it won't do much for the reduction of HIV
transmission, because
as we have seen, HIV is so difficult to transmit ***ually that HIV
infection usually
requires a regular, long term ***ual relationship with an HIV infected
partner,
not just a one night stand. (Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the
risk of
HIV infection does not increase with the number of ***ual partners.)
So we are faced with a dilemma. If we are able to get everyone to use
condoms all
the time, we eventually wipe out the human race. (Now that will stop the
spread
of AIDS!) On the other hand, if we concentrate only on those who are
engaging in
*** with secondary partners, very few HIV transmissions will be
prevented.
Fortunately, the dilemma solves itself. The extreme difficulty with which
HIV transmits
by hetero***ual intercourse also is the reason that most HIV transmissions
are drug
related, involving either sharing needles or **** *** not ******l ***.
These easily
identifiable groups are and continue to by the correct target groups for
both HIV
infection and prevention. Even if every hetero***ual used a condom all of
the time,
only a very small percentage of new HIV infections would be prevented.
Therefore, assuming HIV infection to be a matter of concern, the place to
look for
significant ways to reduce its spread is not by "condomania" for
hetero***uals,
but by focusing in on the real, significant risk groups.
Who is really at risk for AIDS?
Up to this point, we've been assuming that HIV is the cause of AIDS.
However, in
the last few years, an increasing number of respected scientists have come
to the
conclusion that the relationship of HIV to AIDS is far more complicated
than simply
that "HIV causes AIDS". Some of these people, such as Dr. Peter Duesberg,
one of the world's leading authorities on retroviruses such as HIV,
believe that
HIV is a harmless virus that has nothing to do with AIDS. Others, such as
Dr. Robert
Root-Bernstein, author of the book Rethinking AIDS, believe that HIV is
related
to AIDS in some way, but that it requires some immune system damaging
"co-factor"
to be harmful.
****ysis of this issue is complicated by several factors. One is that AIDS
is not
a disease - it is a syndrome consisting of a number of diseases which have
been
around for years, but have become much more prevalent in recent years. The
conventional
theory is that this increase has occurred because of the spread of the
virus known
as "HIV". However, others believe that it is the result of other causes
such as the dramatic increase in recreational drug use, drug-driven ****
*** and
its associated diseases and treatments, and other immune suppressing
activities.
A second problem is that the definition of "AIDS" has been expanded
several
times, most recently in 1993. It is a complicated definition, which in
most (but
not all!) cases requires that the person test positive for HIV. As a
result, when
developing AIDS statistics, people with these diseases who are
HIV-positive are
diagnosed with "AIDS", while those who test HIV-negative are simply
diagnosed
as having the underlying disease (which may not even have to be reported
to the
local health department). Naturally there is a high correlation between
HIV and
AIDS!
While we don't know all the answers, we do know that in virtually every
case in
which "AIDS" has been diagnosed, there is some provable and identifiable
risk factor present (besides HIV) which would tend to damage the immune
system.
In his book, Dr. Root-Bernstein gives a lengthy list of drugs and other
conditions
which are known to damage the immune system. These include not only IV
drugs, but
also non-IV "recreational" drugs such as crack, "poppers", etc.,
as well as certain prescription drugs such as AZT, and even some of the
stronger
drugs prescribed for the treatment of some ***ually transmitted diseases
(and which
are frequently taken in large quantities by those infected with such
diseases).
It also includes immune system abnormalities such as hemophilia.
These provable and identifiable risk factors have been known for years to
cause
immune system deficiencies, for both homo***uals and hetero***uals. So
regardless
of whether or not HIV "causes" AIDS, it is clear that the people who
really
are at significant risk for developing potentially fatal diseases related
to immune
system deficiencies - whether these diseases are called "AIDS" or
something
else - are those who in one way or another have damaged immune systems.
These are the people who need attention and education, if a significant
number of
lives are to be saved. Urging the use of condoms will not have a
significant impact
on the prevention of AIDS, because condoms do not affect the root causes
of immune
deficiency problems.
AIDS and young people
We frequently hear about the "exploding" AIDS epidemic among our young
people. This is used as a compelling reason for passing out condoms in the
public
schools. Yet the government's own data indicates to the contrary.
The total number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control
in 1990
for ages 13-24 was 1796. In 1991, the number was 1633 - a decrease of 163,
or 9%.
In 1992, the number decreased further, to 1605. Not exactly an
"exploding"
epidemic. (A comparison with 1993 data is meaningless because of the
expanded definition
of AIDS which took effect on January 1, 1993.) Furthermore, as with all
age groups,
the majority of these cases were attributed to high risk homo***ual *** or
IV drug
use. And the majority of those attributed to hetero***ual contact involved
***ual
contact with drug users. For ages 13-24, deaths from AIDS are less than 2%
of the
total deaths for those ages - and most of this 2% are drug-related. So
when young
people compare the risks of getting AIDS from hetero***ual contact with
the other,
much greater, hazards they face in their daily lives - guns, auto
accidents, drugs,
etc. - it is no wonder that so many of them pay little attention to "safe
***"
warnings. Once again, the solution is not condoms, but education about
other STDs
and the dangers of drug use - but even more important, solving the
other,more serious
problems facing our youth. (Dave's note: Later data for 1995 and mid 1996
continues
to show the clear almost insignificnt risk for healthy hetero***uals that
don't
do drugs. See our other AIDS articles and CDC data).
The dangers of "condomania"
Public health authorities have mounted a massive campaign to urge the use
of condoms
to prevent the spread of AIDS. However, as we have just seen, "safe ***"
campaigns for hetero***uals are destined to fail as a significant AIDS
prevention
method. But are they doing any harm? After all, considering the number of
illegitimate
births, isn't it a good idea to try to scare young people into using
condoms, and
thereby reduce the number of ****age pregnancies?
Some may think so, but this writer disagrees. We are telling everyone that
"Unprotected
*** means HIV infection", and "HIV infection means certain death".
In the process we are terrorizing the entire population about a virus of
questionable
pathogenicity and about a disease that significantly affects only certain
specific
and easily identifiable groups.
Does terrorizing the population do harm? You bet it does! Think what is
happening
here. It is one thing to tell our daughters not to get pregnant until they
are married
and ready for children. But we are teaching our children (and everyone
else) that
"intimacy means death". In the process, we are interfering with one of
the most basic human desires - that of ***ual intimacy - by telling
millions of
people, most of whom have little or no risk of HIV infection, that *** may
kill
them unless they "protect" themselves from a partner who may be carrying
a deadly, and transmittable, virus. We are telling them that they may die
a horrible
death unless they intrude on the lovemaking process by using some
artificial means
to prevent their body fluids from intermingling, even though for many that
is an
important part of the ***ual experience.
Unfortunately, while most people understand that hard hats aren't worth
the bother
when walking down Main Street, few understand how difficult it is to get
infected
with HIV from ***ual intercourse. A survey conducted in 1987 by the
National Center
for Health Statistics indicated that 97% of those surveyed believed that
unprotected
*** with someone with AIDS was either "very likely" or "quite likely"
to result in HIV infection. Only 3% understood that it really was highly
unlikely,
because the HIV is so difficult to transmit in that manner.
One must wonder how many millions live in constant fear of a disease they
will never
get, and how much harm this fear is doing to their lives. On two occasions
this
author has talked with women who expressed their reluctance to develop
relationships
with men because of their fear of AIDS. On both occasions, they were chain
smoking
as they talked - a habit ten thousand times as dangerous as the ***ual
contact that
they feared. One has to wonder how many others have destroyed their health
from
some unhealthy habit that they might have been able to break if they had
felt free
to seek out the comfort of a loving relationship with someone.
Today our nation is terrorized by violence. Most of this violence has
nothing to
do with AIDS. However, for years many prisons have allowed conjugal visits
in order
to reduce the stress, and resulting violence, among prisoners. If *** can
reduce
violence, doesn't it follow that lack of *** will increase violence? How
many of
the acts of violence in today's society are in some way related to stress
caused
by the lack of a good ***ual relationship due to an unwarranted fear of
AIDS?
And finally, consider what "AIDS paranoia" in general has done. Today
we have a population which not only has become fearful of ***, but of
almost any
other type of contact with someone with who has tested HIV antibody
positive. A
1990 report by the American Civil Liberties Union do***ented 13,000
complaints of
AIDS-related discrimination. Laws have been passed to prevent some of this
discrimination,
but these laws cannot correct public attitudes - only better public
education can
do that, through a reduction in "AIDS paranoia".
Unfortunately, "condomania" is doing just the opposite.
So, should anyone bother with condoms?
It is clear that not everyone needs to use a condom, any more than we all
should
wear hard hats. But should anyone use a condom? Certainly, just as some
people should
use hard hats.
Condoms can be used to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy, if no other
method
of birth control is being used.
Condoms should be used by homo***ual men when engaging in **** ***,
particularly
if many partners are involved, to prevent the transmission of STDs.
Condoms should be used by hetero***uals for the prevention of other STDs
when one's
***ual partner is at increased risk for such diseases. For example, they
should
be used when one's partner has a history of STDs, or has some current
symptoms,
such as lesions, sores, or genital warts, or is particularly suseptible to
exposure
to STDs (such as might be the case with a street prostitute). But in many
cases,
if your concern about ***ually transmitted disease is so great that you
feel the
need to use a condom, you probably shouldn't be in the bedroom in the
first place!
(Would you feel safe walking through a bad neighborhood, just because you
were wearing
a hard hat to protect yourself from a rap on the head by a mugger?)
Is there a better way?
When articles such as this one suggest that condoms aren't always needed,
someone
is always quick to condemn the writer as "irresponsible" and "risking
the lives of others".
However, the same statement could be made about an article urging any
activity involving
even the smallest risk - boating, riding in a car, skiing, etc. Yet those
articles
don't get criticized. Why not? Because we all recognize that we must take
some small
risks in order to enjoy life's pleasures.
The same is true for ***ual pleasure. A good ***ual relationship is a
normal and
healthy part of human existence. However, such relationships nearly always
involve
small risks of some sort, even if only emotional. So while ***ual
responsibility
is important, paranoia about such "one-in-a- million" risks where common
sense should be sufficient protection can destroy the pleasure that nature
intended.
If "condomania" isn't the answer, is there a better way to be safe from
AIDS?
The good news is that there is.
We know that persons testing HIV-positive from ***ual contact nearly
always either
have a long term relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, or have
some STD
or involvement with drugs which makes him or her unusually susceptible to
HIV infection.
We also know that the vast majority of AIDS cases continue to be
associated with
substance abusers, both homo***ual and hetero***ual, and their regular
***ual partners
(most of whom are also substance abusers).
So a sensible way to avoid getting AIDS is not "condomania". Instead,
it is to keep your own body healthy and not infected with any other
***ually transmitted
disease (recognize the symptoms, and get prompt treatment, if you get
one), and
to avoid street drugs and those who use them. In other words, avoid the
various
activities which have always caused damage to the immune system.
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3 20th November 21:14
gmcarter
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


Common sense. And scientific too. The data are there.

George M. Carter
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4 20th November 21:14
gmcarter
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


Common sense. And scientific too. The data are there.

George M. Carter
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5 20th November 21:15
paulking
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Nonsense. Complete nonsense.
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6 20th November 21:15
paulking
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


Nonsense. Complete nonsense.
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7 20th November 21:15
gmcarter
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


Yay! You're finally getting it. Most of what you post is indeed
nonsense. Congratulations.
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8 20th November 21:15
gmcarter
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


Yay! You're finally getting it. Most of what you post is indeed
nonsense. Congratulations.
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9 25th November 17:04
paulking
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Default CONDOMANIA - COMMON SENSE OR NONSENSE?


In your pathetic blind and moronic opinion.

Congratulations on being the total idiot.
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