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Pope's immoral stance a death sentence; protest the unholy father

By Tony Iltis

July 12, 2008 -- The visit to Sydney for World Youth Day (WYD), July 15-20, by Pope Benedict XVI and 300,000 Catholic pilgrims is set to become the scene for protests. Ironically, the protests are being fuelled by the clumsy efforts of the NSW state Labor Party government to suppress them — passing laws making it illegal to “annoy” pilgrims and defining “annoy” broadly enough to include having signs, or even wearing t-shirts, with messages that the doctrinally rigid pope or his followers disapprove of.

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No to Pope Rallies, July 19, 2008

Sydney


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Brisbane

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Protesting against the “thou shalt not annoy” laws and in defence of free speech is important, as is opposing the state government’s handout of $86 million of taxpayers’ money for WYD to an extremely wealthy private organisation. A more important reason to protest, though, is the pope’s political agenda.

While the pope’s reactionary utterances on homosexuality, euthanasia, contraception and abortion are generally portrayed as “moral” rather than political viewpoints, this distinction works to undermine democracy. In 1997, for example, a law was passed by federal parliament overturning the legalisation of euthanasia in the Northern Territory, despite 80% of Australians supporting voluntary euthanasia.

Assisting the powerful

Furthermore, the pope, or Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as he was known before becoming “infallible” in 2005, played an active role in the suppression of liberal and anti-imperialist currents within Catholicism in the 1980s and ’90s. In 1981, Ratzinger was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the successor to the medieval inquisition) by Pope John Paul II.

Ratzinger used the powers at his disposal — banning from teaching, sacking from the priesthood and excommunication from the Church — to silence those who opposed the drive to extinguish the modernising reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

The main targets of Ratzinger, described in an April 16, 1999 article in the National Catholic Reporter as “the Vatican’s enforcer”, were proponents of liberation theology — the doctrine that the place of the Church was with the poor. In Latin America, liberation theology was an important current in opposition to US imperialism.

In El Salvador, pro-poor Archbishop Oscar Romero was gunned down by a pro-US death squad as he performed mass in 1980, while in Nicaragua, priests served in the left-wing Sandinista government that came to power after the 1979 revolution against US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza.

More importantly, Christian Base communities established by liberation theologists played an important role in empowering and mobilising the masses throughout Latin America. The Vatican’s suppression of liberation theology assisted in the maintenance of US hegemony over Latin America — although the influence of the doctrine can still be seen in the highly eclectic ideology of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution.

The powerful reciprocate

The US has reciprocated by incorporating the puritan sexual politics of John Paul II and Benedict XVI into foreign aid policy. This began in 1984 when then-president Ronald Reagan instituted the “global gag” rule, preventing US development aid going to any organisation that gave out any information on abortion.

This was rescinded by president Bill Clinton’s administration but reinstated by President George Bush on the first day of his administration. Bush expanded the policy to prevent any US aid going to organisations that don’t condemn prostitution and restricting funding for HIV/AIDS prevention to institutions not promoting the abstinence model.

These policies help sabotage the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Furthermore, serving mammon as well as God, the US has campaigned against the production of cheap, generic drugs and tied US aid to the buying of expensive brand-name drugs to boost the profits of multinational pharmaceutical corporations. Western financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund even insist that poor countries producing generic drugs pay royalties to the patent-holding corporations.

At the end of 2007, there were approximately 33.2 million people in the world with HIV/AIDS. Over two thirds of these are in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981 — 2.1 million in 2007. Almost 70% of people in the Third World who develop AIDS (as opposed to being just HIV positive) will die due to lack of drugs.

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The number of unnecessary deaths due to US policies cannot be quantified. However, while religious believers have a right to preach that premarital and extramarital sex are immoral (and live their own lives accordingly), to claim, as both Bush and Benedict XVI do, that promoting premarital abstinence and marital fidelity is an effective way of combatting the spread of HIV, or any other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is a deadly lie.

In September 2007, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report on abstinence-until-marriage “sex education” programs in New York schools that, despite annual funding of more than US$14 million from state and federal governments, appeared to make no difference to adolescent sexual behaviour in terms of decreasing premarital sex, but left teenagers in New York with higher rates of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies than in jurisdictions with medically accurate comprehensive sex-education programs.

The NYCLU report pointed to numerous inaccuracies and religious prejudices in the material used in the abstinence-based programs. These ranged from the ridiculous (that AIDS can be spread by French kissing) to the dangerous: exaggerating the medical dangers of abortion and misleadingly suggesting that condoms were not effective in preventing pregnancy or the spread of STIs.

The material demonised homosexuality and reinforced gender roles: one program citing “financial support” as one of the “five major needs of women” and “domestic support” as one of the “five major needs of men”.

Good example undermined

The experience of Uganda, which until recently was one of the few success stories in combatting HIV/AIDS in Africa, graphically illustrates what does and doesn’t work in HIV/AIDS prevention. By the turn of the century the prevalence of AIDS had been reduced to a third of what it was in the early ’90s.

While the Ugandan strategy combined promoting abstinence and fidelity with mass distribution of condoms, the February 24, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle reported that research in the Rakai district suggesting that abstinence and fidelity were actually declining in that region but, thanks to increased condom use, so was the HIV infection rate.

However, in 2003, when Bush launched his $15 billion fund for combatting AIDS globally, the Ugandan experience was cited as an example of the effectiveness of the abstinence-based model. In 2004, Ugandan policy changed, with free condoms being recalled, allegedly for quality-control reasons, and condoms subsequently sold with a high sales tax imposed.

Sam Okware, a senior health ministry official and architect of Uganda’s HIV/AIDS prevention strategy cited the financial imperatives imposed by Bush’s fund as the reason for the policy change, the June 1, 2006 Independent reported. The results have been predictably tragic. By 2005, new HIV infections in Uganda had risen to 130,000 — up from 70,000 in 2002.

The demand that US AIDS/HIV prevention funds only go to organisations that publicly condemn prostitution is equally disastrous given that sex workers are a high risk group, particularly if unable to access condoms. “How can we help the girls if we condemn them?”, Maurisia Ssebuggwawo, a volunteer midwife and health worker in a slum district of Kampala told the Independent.

In 2004, Brazil rejected $40 million in already promised US funding when it was made clear that organisations receiving it would have to denounce prostitution. Brazil’s policies, among the most successful in the world, had involved working closely with high risk groups including sex workers and IV drug users, and had succeeded in limiting the number of HIV-positive Brazilians to half what had been predicted by epidemiologists.

Benedict XVI’s host in Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, hails from the same conservative wing of the Catholic Church as Ratzinger. Like the pope, he periodically makes inflammatory remarks attacking Muslims. He shares the pope's puratanical views on sexuality and has even described AIDS as a form of divine retribution against homosexuals.

However, this inflexibility on sexual morality does not apply to cases of priests sexually assaulting parishioners, including children. Over the past week complaints about Pell’s role in covering up sex abuse scandals have resurfaced. In 2002, at World Youth Day celebrations in Toronto, he explained his attitude: if someone from your parish asks you about the child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, just tell them that abortion is a worse moral scandal.

Preaching intolerance, practicing hypocrisy and closely tied to the rulers of the world, the likes of Pope Benedict and Cardinal Pell deserve to be targets of protest.

Protest the unholy father

By Rachel Evans

July 12, 2008 - Pope Benedict XVI is coming to town. Sydney is once again to be subject to a special police regime as this saintly, celibate white man bravely preaches the joys of sexual abstinence in the very Circus Maximus of Sin City (Randwick race course). Pope Benedict is also the CEO of a very big company called the Catholic Church. The third largest landowner in the world, if this company were incorporated it would be listed in Australia’s top 10. So this pope is also loaded.

When George Bush, CEO of another very powerful institution, sauntered into Sydney last September, the NSW Labor government snapped to attention, creating massive exclusion zones, placing snipers on rooftops and bringing out the biggest toy in the Australian public order toy chest — the NSW police’s $600,000 water cannon.

Ten thousand protesters kept their cool in the face of this provocation, rallying against Bush’s mass murder record and the crazed threats of NSW Premier Morris Iemma and police commissioner Andrew Scipione.

Of course, Pope Benedict is not responsible for the deaths of 1 million Iraqis. But this “holy father” is the author of a conservative contraception edict that condemns millions of people to death through AIDS. In Africa, where the Catholic Church has a great deal of influence over people’s sexual practices, HIV-AIDS is a pandemic.

As justification, the pope quotes a 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, On Human Life (!?), which describes contraception as evil. The Vatican has also published a document claiming that condoms have holes and do not protect against AIDS.

It is a crime against humanity that church leaders persist in medieval, obscurantist and false advice about human sexual practices. Indeed, it’s a massive and damaging sin, while pre-marital and homosexual sex, using condoms and the pill, and having an abortion are not.

Loopy old Pope Benedict has said that homosexuals are “objectively disordered” and same-sex marriage is “a threat to world peace”. Prior to becoming pope, Cardinal Ratzinger told voters it would be a sin to vote for pro-choice candidates. He has campaigned against governments implementing marriage, or civil union rights, for same-sex couples.

Some governments, especially that of very Catholic Spain, have had the spine to withstand his reactionary garbage on these vital issues. Not so in Australia. Here, the political influence of the Catholic (and non-Catholic) right on government policy continues to prevail on respectful and pious Labor administrations (against majority opinion).

The Australian government was the first and, so far, the only in the Western world to ban same-sex marriage. Abortion remains on the criminal code in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.

Given this massive show of moral squalor it would have been a political sin to allow Pope Benedict’s visit for World Youth Day to go without protest.

The NoToPope Coalition was formed to bring together everyone opposed to Pope Benedict’s backward and anti-human positions. Initiated by Community Action Against Homophobia, the coalition now includes 16 groups, with the Socialist Alliance being the first political party to sign up.

The Iemma government has reacted by showing that it learned nothing from last year’s Bush protests. Now we are also rallying against laws that may result in protesters being slapped with a $5500 fine for handing out condoms!

Deputy premier John Watkins’ “annoyance” regulations have made Macquarie Street the laughing stock of everyone from the Sydney Morning Herald to influential Catholic figures like Father Frank Brennan. The Chaser is said to be considering suing for theft of material as Morris Iemma persists in his own weird form of papal infallibility.

The premier’s war on everything has brought the NSW Council for Civil Liberties into action in support of the right to protest. Christians have joined the NoToPope Coalition, with supporters of liberation theology forming groups such as “Catholics for Condoms”.

The NoToPope Coalition welcomes the determination of such groups to protest Pope Benedict’s backward positions. We also welcome and look forward to dialogue with the tens of thousands of Catholic youth who are coming to World Youth Day. We shall try to convince them to join us in action to stem the HIV-AIDS pandemic, and to fight within their church for a humane approach to sexuality and marriage rights.

Help us get this message out as powerfully as possible. Protest the unholy father on July 19!

[Rachel Evans is a spokesperson for the Sydney-based NoToPope Coalition and a member of Sydney West Socialist Alliance.]

From Green Left Weekly issue #758 16 July 2008.

Comments

Pope anti-protest laws quashed

"Two Sydney activists have won a Federal Court challenge to special World Youth Day laws that carry $5500 fines for annoying pilgrims.

NoToPope Coalition (and Socialist Alliance) members Rachel Evans and Amber Pike took the NSW Government to court over the police powers granted for the month of July, seeking a declaration that they were unconstitutional."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world-youth-day/court-dumps-annoy-law/2008/07...

SMH: Court dumps "annoy" lawhttp://www.smh.com.au/news/world-youth-day/court-dumps-annoy-law/2008/07/15/1215887596459.html
Australian: Protesters win court challenge to pope annoyance lawshttp://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24022959-12377,00.html
News Corp: You can be annoying - judgeshttp://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24022955-5016937,00.htmlLiveNews: Citizens free to annoy World Youth Day pilgrims - Federal Court
http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/07/15/Annoyance_laws_overturned_A_win_for_the_NoToPope_Coalition
 

Pope protest celebrates civil liberties win

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/759/39237

Pope protest celebrates civil liberties win

Jay Fletcher & Kerry Smith, Sydney
19 July 2008

*A spirited rally of 1500 people protesting against the pope’s
reactionary policies took place on July 19 against the backdrop of an
important civil liberties victory in the courts.*

“We won the battle in court”, Rachel Evans, one of the rally organisers,
told the crowd. “This is not just a victory for the NoToPope Coalition
(NTPC), or just for the queer community, or just for campaigners for
reproductive rights. This is a victory for all protesters.”

Evans was referring to the July 15 Federal Court ruling that overturned
part of the state Labor government’s World Youth Day (WYD) laws that
would have made “annoying” Catholic pilgrims during WYD activities a
crime punishable by fines of up to $5500.

The laws were part of regulations announced by deputy premier John
Watkins on June 28, the last sitting day of parliament before WYD and
less than one week after the NoToPope protest was announced. The same
regulations banned the “sale or distribution” of a range of items
(including condoms and stickers) without approval by the government’s
WYD authority.

As the NTPC had advertised its intention to distribute condoms and
stickers, these regulations directly challenged the right of the protest
to go ahead as planned. Evans and Amber Pike from the NTPC, with
assistance from the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL), responded by
launching a legal challenge to the government’s regulations.

In ruling on that challenge, the Federal Court interpreted the relevant
sections of the regulations to mean that only commercial items required
authorisation. It found that all the activities planned by the NTPC fell
within the bounds of Australia’s implied constitutional right to “free
political expression”.

NSW CCL president Cameron Murphy addressed the July 19 rally to drive
home the importance of this civil liberties victory. He concluded by
saying, “Let’s all make sure we are as annoying as we can possibly be”.

An important aspect of the rally was the participation of several
speakers from Broken Rites, a group campaigning for justice for victims
of sexual assault within the church.

“We have a role in the gay community, we have a role in society: it is
to stand up and speak up with the truth about what’s happened in the
church and what’s been covered up”, Broken Rites representative Chris
MacIsaac told the rally.

Alex Bainbridge from the Socialist Alliance told the crowd that the
Catholic Church hierarchy was waging a “war against sex”, whereas what
we need is “a war against sexually transmitted diseases”. Reverend Karl
Hand from the Metropolitan Community Church told protesters, “The rules
the pope has made are oppressive and unjust”.

“AIDS does not discriminate, but people do”, said Allan Preistly from
Community Action Against Homophobia. “It doesn’t know the difference
between men and women, gay or lesbian, white, black or anything. Yet the
Vatican is playing russian roulette with our lives.”

Rally participants from queer collectives, sex worker rights groups and
political organisations such as Resistance, the Socialist Alliance and
the Greens then marched the Mardi Gras route from Taylor Square to Moore
Park. The march was led by a mock “popemobile” and a banner proclaiming,
“The pope is wrong — put a condom on”.

In *Brisbane*, more than 100 people rallied with helium-filled condoms
and banners, and heard speakers from the Queensland Council for Civil
Liberties, pro-choice collectives, the QT queer collective and radio
station 4ZZZ.

“We are protesting against the pope’s anti-queer, anti-abortion,
anti-condom stance”, spokesperson Paul Benedek told the /Brisbane
Times/. A speaker from 4ZZZ addressed Queensland’s age of consent laws,
which discriminate against lesbian and gay youth.

Rhiahnon Kennedy reports that more than 100 people also rallied on the
steps of parliament in *Melbourne* on July 13. The Youth Against World
Youth Day event was organised by a coalition of secular groups with
endorsements from the Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Community Action
Against Homophobia, community radio 3CR and the queer department of the
National Union of Students, as well as groups such as Broken Rites and
In Good Faith and Associates.

Melbourne protest organiser Jason Ball said the action supported freedom
of religion but also the need for the separation of church and state.
“We’re frustrated by the taxpayer-funded nature of WYD, to the tune of
$150 million”, he said.

Activists in *Perth* also held a Youth Against World Youth Day event,
collecting signatures and increasing awareness and support for future
actions for queer rights, contraception education and abortion rights.

From: Australian News, Green Left Weekly issue #759
<http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2008/759> 23 July 2008.

Catholic Views on Life

So I am a bit confused about these views. Everything seems to run counter to the very meaning of pro-life, does it not? I'm thinking: Okay, if you want people to live a fulfilling and happy life, then why make them suffer at the end of it? There's 'hell' for that, for those of us who 'deserve' it. Some of the statistics point to a world-wide rise in Euthanasia tourism. I mean, people travel halfway across the world, just to end their life, risking their health and abandoning any insurance claims in the process! Aren't there a lot of Catholics in Mexico? Then why does Mexico allow the black market for euthanasia barbiturates. It's all very ironic. It would be a find day when the Catholic church recognize's an individual's right to a life not dictated by their archaic 'morals.'

Save Lives or Argue Morality?

I am a married Christian man (Protestant) and I do believe that people should abstain from sex until marriage and that marriage is sanctified. However, I know that unmarried people have sex every day. I know that same sex couples love each other and want to unite. These are realities. Why does the Pope continue to ignore reality?

In third world countries where holding on to misguided Catholic principals which make contraception a mortal sin - even among married men and women - (to name just one) is causing spread of HIV and resulting in millions of children born who will not reach their first birthday, the Pope needs to set aside his self righteous morality and save lives!

Educate people and hand out condoms by the truckload. Then preach about morality - while you have living people to preach to. Show love for non-believers and believers alike - THAT is what a Christian is supposed to do. It is not for man to make judgments - the highest command Christians have is to love their fellow people - believer, non-believer, straight, gay, and everyone in between. And we should be working to save all from disease and death, not sit in judgment of their actions - because we are ALL sinners in one way or another: as Jesus said - "do not complain about the speck in your brother's eye until you remove the plank from your own eye." The Pope needs to remove his plank.

Disillusioned with Catholic Church leadership

I agree with you completely. This is why for several years now I have been growing more and more disillusioned and cynical towards the leadership of the Catholic church. Though I'm still believe in the Catholic belief systems of morality and spirituality, I find myself balking even rebelling against several unreasonable edicts from the Clergy.The issue that really gets to me is the Vatican's stance towards safe sex. In my opinion their belief that contraceptives are evil and that we should rely on natural birth control is not only stupid it's also dangerous. Until today I fail to see the logic and morality of their stance , and I further reinforces my view of their leaders as just a bunch of crazy , power-hungry , out of touch old men.

TAC South Africa: Pope's condom statement `irresponsible'

Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa)


On Tuesday 17 March, Pope Benedict XVI visited Cameroon and told

reporters, "You can't resolve with condoms ... On the contrary, it

increases the problem." To view a CNN video clip of the Pope's comments

please click here.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhxqvVmgEbg&feature=related>


The Pope's comments are irresponsible. The evidence that consistent

condom use is effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission is

incontrovertible. Below we reprint the abstract of a scientific meeting

that analysed 138 peer-reviewed articles to determine the effectiveness

of condoms at reducing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted

infections (STIs) including HIV. A key finding of the meeting was that

the results of "longitudinal studies of the sexual partners of

HIV-infected persons indicate that consistent condom use reduces the

risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85%."

See also:


* Page 15 of our HIV prevention issue of Equal Treatment

<http://www.tac.org.za/documents/et19.pdf%20>

* An article by The Body.com summarising the evidence on the

efficacy <http://www.thebody.com/content/art17057.html>of condom

<http://www.thebody.com/content/art17057.html>s as an HIV

prevention tool <http://www.thebody.com/content/art17057.html>

* A Center for Disease Control (CDC) factsheet on condom

effectiveness <http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm>


The evidence is considerable that abstinence-only programmes, apparently

favoured by the Pope, are ineffective. The AIDS Research Institute of

the University of California, San Francisco published a monograph in

March 2002 that states:


/An assessment of the peer-reviewed, published research reveals no

evidence that abstinence- only programs delay sexual initiation or

reduce STIs or pregnancy. By contrast, credible research clearly

demonstrates that some comprehensive sex education, or

'abstinence-plus,' programs can achieve positive behavioral changes

among young people and reduce STIs, and that these programs do not

encourage young people to initiate sexual activity earlier or have more

sexual partners. /


The AIDS Research Institute's report can be accessed in full by clicking

here <http://ari.ucsf.edu/science/reports/abstinence.pdf>.


The evidence shows that it is important to distribute condoms and that

it is also important to provide sex education to adolescents that

includes accurate information on how to use condoms (see the second of

the two abstracts below titled "Condom Use Errors and Problems Among

Adolescents").


In Khayelitsha, Cape Town's largest township, TAC activists distribute

in excess of 500,000 condoms every month. A dedicated Khayelitsha

activist is nicknamed the 'Condom King'. As a result, medical officials

in Khayelitsha report that sexually transmitted infections among the

local population have declined. And this is in a poor community with

traditionally high rates of STIs and HIV.


Preaching abstinence to many communities in Africa is alienating and

irrelevant. Many sexual encounters in marginal communities with high

rates of HIV infection are coercive or transactional. In contexts in

which gender inequality is rife, to instruct women to abstain from sex

or to remain faithful to only one partner demonstrates an ignorance of

their sexual realities.


The South African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) is a large

provider of HIV services in South Africa including antiretroviral

treatment. It is concerning that the views of the leader of the Catholic

Church are incongruent with the good work being done by the SACBC.


The following two abstracts mentioned above can be retrieved by

following this link

<http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102261955.html>.

 


*Effectiveness of Male Latex Condoms for HIV/STD Prevention:

Workshop Update*


Kanouse DE; National HIV Prevention Conference (2003 : Atlanta, Ga.).

Abstr Book 2003 Natl HIV Prev Conf July 27 30 2003 Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Hotel Atlanta Ga Natl HIV Prev Conf 2003 Atlanta Ga. 2003; abstract no.

T1-C1301.

RAND, Santa Monica, CA


*BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:* In June 2000, four federal agencies (U. S.

Agency for International Development, Food and Drug Administration,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of

Health) co-sponsored a workshop to evaluate the published evidence

establishing the effectiveness of male latex condoms in preventing

HIV/AIDS and 7 other STDS.

*METHODS:* The scientific scope of the workshop was limited to the

effectiveness of male latex condoms for use during penile-vaginal

intercourse for reducing the risk of transmission of 8 STDs: HIV

infection, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, syphilis, chancroid,

trichomoniasis, genital herpes caused by herpes simplex viruses (HSV) 1

and 2, and genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV disease.

Condom effectiveness was defined to mean the level of protection against

STDs when condoms are used correctly and consistently. The panel

examined only peer-reviewed, published articles (n = 138).

*RESULTS:* Male latex condoms were found in laboratory tests to be of

high quality. Viral penetration assays demonstrate that condoms provide

a highly effective barrier against the smallest STD organisms. Data on

condom use suggest that method failure (breakage/slippage) occurs in

about 3% of coital acts and is related to user knowledge and experience.

Studies of the effectiveness of condoms to reduce the risk of

transmission through intercourse are methodologically much stronger for

HIV/AIDS than for other STDs. Results of longitudinal studies of the

sexual partners of HIV-infected persons indicate that consistent condom

use reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission by approximately 85%.

Studies on the effectiveness of condom use for preventing transmission

of gonorrhea were limited either by retrospective design, inadequate

measures of condom use, or small sample sizes. However, several studies

demonstrated a protective effect of condoms for men, and the pane l

concluded that collectively these studies demonstrated that consistent

and correct condom use would reduce the risk of gonorrhea for men, with

insufficient evidence available for women. The panel reviewed 12 studies

that addressed condom effectiveness for prevention of chlamydial

infection and found the results inconclusive. One limited study found a

30% reduction in trichomonas infection among women attending an STD

clinic who reported using condoms as a method of contraception, but

further studies are needed to arrive at an accurate assessment of risk

reduction. Limitations in study design or paucity of data prevented the

panel from forming any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of

condoms for HSV 1 or 2, chancroid, or syphilis. For HPV, the panel found

no evidence that condom use reduces the risk of HPV infection, but some

evidence that condom use might reduce the risk of HPV-associated diseases.

*CONCLUSIONS:* Consistent use of male latex condoms reduces risk of HIV

transmission between men and women and reduces the risk of gonorrhea

transmission in men. Recent studies not reviewed by the panel provide

evidence of condom effectiveness against transmission of HSV and

chlamydial infection. These findings can be represented in various ways.

Promoting correct and consistent condom use should be a key part of a

comprehensive prevention strategy that also includes other messages

aimed at reducing STD/HIV incidence.

 


*Condom Use Errors and Problems Among Adolescents*


Crosby, RA Emory University, Atlanta, GA


*BACKGROUND:* Condom promotion programs delivered to adolescents are a

central feature of public health efforts to reduce the incidence of HIV

and other sexually transmitted infections. Unfortunately, researchers

and practitioners have largely ignored a critical aspect of condom use

promotion.

*OBJECTIVE:* To assess the prevalence and selected correlates of condom

errors and problems as experienced by males and females 14 to 24 years

of age.

*METHODS:* Data from three distinct samples was analyzed: African

American adolescent females, undergraduates from a large Midwestern

university and from a Southern university. Assessed errors included

slippage during withdrawal, incorrect and incomplete application of

condoms, starting sex before condoms were applied, removing condoms

before sex was over, reusing condoms, and lack of adequate lubrication.

Assessed problems included loss of erection, slippage during sex, and

breakage. Significance was defined by an alpha of .05. Correlates were

tested in a multivariate logistic regression models. Data (collected

from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health) relative to

misinformation about correct condom use was also analyzed.

*RESULTS:* Condom use errors and problems were commonly reported. Errors

related to incomplete use and incorrect applications were especially

common. Problems related to erection, slippage, and breakage were also

very common. Significant correlates included gender, instruction on

condom use, motivation to use condoms, and frequency of condom use.

*CONCLUSIONS:* Condom use errors and problems among adolescents are

common and may be amenable to behavioral intervention. Implications for

the design, delivery, and evaluation of improved condom use promotion

programs will be discussed.

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