By Michael Treacy (Article printed in the Kaselehlie Press, Micronesia, 27th Sept 2006)
In reply to all my dear friends who are concerned about my verifiable views about the frenzied proliferation of condoms in societies around the world, I would like to explain my concerns. Firstly, it is funny that the U.N. and all its down-line organizations, along with Gay and Lesbian groups agree that condoms hold the key to the World’s Sexual problems.1 ,2
The U.N. was asking donor countries for 9.9 Billion condoms to control AIDS in affected areas, particularly in Africa.3
Perhaps they believe that if every man, woman, and child has pockets full of condoms, then, this will control the spread of AIDS. I hope that they also explain the chronic failure rate of condoms. Many studies have been done on this subject and figures range widely due to many variable factors (slipping, breaking, leaking and incorrect use). In the best educated control groups, results of condoms failure are between 2-4%.4 Other more common results are around 14% failure or higher. 5
At the Marie Stopes Center in Leeds, England, where 4666 unborn children were aborted, after proper counseling, 46% of the women blamed condom failure for their unwanted pregnancies. 6 The US Department of Health stated that condoms only offer 85% protection against HIV and 50% protection for men against Gonorrhea.7
Can a person be labeled irresponsible for demonstrating that condoms are unreliable and other options should be considered? We seem to be still suffering from the Freudian brainwash that unrestrained sexual activity is our best option in life. Our values-deficient sex education has been a disaster from the very beginning. Sex education was introduced into Swedish schools in 1956 promising to solve all problems of sexual ignorance. By 1964 venereal disease had doubled and by 1992, 65% of all first born children were illegitimate-an increase of 450% since 1957. 8 9
In Denmark, pornography was legalized in 1967 and sex education was made compulsory in 1970. Over the next 10 years, rape increased 300%, venereal disease for under15s increased 400% and abortions increased 500%. 10
In Anaheim, Orange County, California, the Sex Information and Educational Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) began teaching 9th graders the fundamentals of sexual relationships.
By the time the girls reached their senior year, 300, or half the class, were pregnant.11
Mr. Johnny Hebel and HIV/AIDS Health employees point out that, concerning condoms, “…it merely offers a life jacket to those already swimming.” I would ask, “Who pushed them into the water in the first place?” We, as educators, have a lot to answer for what we have done – or failed to do.
Sex Education should be taught alongside Character Education so that values are instilled at the same time that biological knowledge is given.
Unfortunately most of our sex educators and Health Department people are more comfortable to just teach condom application. Our teaching standards should be higher than that. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state on their fact sheet that, “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.” 12
Aren’t we showing a careless attitude when we just tell our kids to wear condoms?
At a recent World Congress of Sexology, a speaker asked the 800 sexologists present this question, “If you had available the partner of your dreams and knew the person carried HIV, how many of you would have sex depending on a condom for protection?” Not one person raised their hand. The speaker was irate and chastised them saying, “It was irresponsible to give advice to others that they would not follow themselves.”13
Apart from the biological damage (and death) that failed condoms have caused, there is a greater emotional risk that premature sexual activity can cause. In a study of “Teen Sex and Emotional Risk for Girls,” researchers found that there were big differences between abstinent and non-abstinent girls. Non-virgin girls felt twice as lonely, three times more tense, five times more likely to do self-harm and six times more likely to commit suicide than their virgin counterparts. 14
In a similar study of behavior risks for girls, it was found that non-virgin (sexually active) girls were five times more likely to be suspended from school, six times more likely to drink alcohol, seven times more likely to smoke cigarettes, nine times more likely to be arrested by police, ten times more likely to use marijuana and nearly eighteen times more likely to run away from home compared to their virgin abstinent counterparts. 15 Behavioral patterns for boys were less extreme, but still worrying.
Why are sex educators telling our kids to lose their virginity and indulge in any kind of filth that they can imagine?
In an Australian sex education manual, “Boys and Sex”, the class was instructed on how to deceive your parents, engage in premature sex with girls, other boys and even animals.16
At another school at Grand Rapids, Michigan, staff from the Community Mental Health Service (CMHS) taught students as young as Seventh Grade about sexual fantasies and included graphic descriptions of masturbation, oral sex and group sex. 17
Now the truth about the success in Uganda through the major role of the abstinence education and faithfulness to one partner which occurred over time through convincing education programs: When the program started in Uganda in 1980, the number of pregnant women infected with HIV was 21.2%. By 2001 the number was 6.2%. In Botswana, where condoms were promoted as the answer, their figure remained at 38% of pregnant women with HIV. 18 The miss-reporting of facts by the liberal-leaning Washington Post, printed a very different scenario. They said that condoms saved the day (or the Nation). 19
However, it was due to the ABC model with emphasis on Abstinence and Faithfulness with one partner which really made the changes in Uganda.
Epidemiologist, Dr. Rand Stoneburner who conducted a USAID study, concluded that Uganda’s success was based on behavioral change in response to the epidemic. 20 In particular, he found that 89% of Ugandans had changed their sexual behavior to avoid AIDS. 21 It was discovered that now 98% of Ugandan women were reporting either abstinence or no sex partner outside their regular partners. 22
Under Uganda’s ABC approach, condoms were considered the last option, aimed primarily at high risk groups such as commercial sex workers who were unlikely to change their sexual behaviors, and most of the population rejected the condom option, as Dr. Vinand Nanlulya, an infectious disease advisor to President Museveni said, “Ugandans never really took to condoms.”23
Even of the high risk groups, 91% of condoms distributed went unused. 24
We need to ask how effective condoms really are in combating epidemics like HIV/AIDS. A UNAIDS report clearly stated, “There are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by preventive programs based primarily on condom promotion. 25 In countries which have the highest levels of condom availability – Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya – they still have the highest HIV prevalence rates. 26
In conclusion, it is essential that the principles of the ABC program are in the right order: abstinence, fidelity and condoms as a last resort.
Dr. Anne Peterson, USAID director of global health commented, “Kids are willing and able to abstain from sex.” She added, “Condoms play a role. They are better than nothing, but the core of Uganda’s success story is a big A, big B and a little C”. 27 We should then question why Global Funds, like UNAIDS and WHO (World Health Organization) continue to devote much of their resources to the least affective means of combating HIV/AIDS – Condoms.
Another troubling fact is that the average Global Fund employee’s salary is $174,603 ( a sum greater than the salaries of most heads of state).28
After working hard to solve Uganda’s tragic situation, President Museveni said, “We made it our highest priority to convince our people to return to their traditional values of chastity and faithfulness and failing that, to use condoms. The alternative was decimation.” 29
The evidence cited above is an indictment on the false hope and limited protection of condoms that some would have us believe to be a sufficient safeguard. It is also true that condoms don’t protect the heart. Certain emotional damage is inevitable when we adopt that lifestyle. Regret may come years later.
We should all feel responsible for the wholesome development of our youth who will be the parents and leaders of tomorrow.
Let us learn from the mistakes of the past and work together to guarantee them a safer, happier and more peaceful world for the future.
(Michael Treacy is the Micronesian Director of the Universal Peace Federation)
1 “Report rips U.S. abstinence plan in Uganda” by Patrick Letellier, Planet Out Network, April 1, 2005
2 Population Action International (2002) 'Condoms Count', available online: www.populationaction.org/resources/publications/condomscount/downloads/CondomsCount_English.pdf
4 Contraceptive Technology: 17th Ed., New York, N.Y., Arden Media Inc. 1998, 325-355
5 “The facts about Condoms & STDs” : www.medinstitute.org
6 2001 U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Panel
7 Sex Education and the Schools, May 1979, cited in Wallis “Chaos in the Classroom” , Page 247
8 “Psychiatry eradicates morals” Psychiatry Destroying Religion (CCHR 1997)
10 Wallis, “Chaos in the Classroom”, Page 248
13“Why Tony Abbott May Be Right” March 9th, 2005, please view hyperlink http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2004/03/19/why-tony-abbott-may-be-right/- Mr. Bill Muehlenberg is the Vice-President of the Family Council of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
14 “Premature Sexual Activity as an Indicator of Psychosocial Risk”, Donald Orr, Pediatrics, Vol. 87, No.2, Feb. 1991, 141-7.
16 Pomeroy, W.B., “Boys & Sex”, Page 149 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 1968)
17 “Meddling with Minds” Education: Psychiatry’s Ruin (Los Angeles: CCHR 1995) Pg 16-21
18 “Uganda Winning the Battle Against AIDS – Using Abstinence”, Culture and Family Institute, July 2002
19 Emily Wax, “Ugnadans Say Facts, Not Abstinence, Will Win AIDS War”, The Washing Post, July 9, 2003
20 Rand Stoneburner, PhD. “The ABC’s of HIV Prevention” Report of Primary Prevention against HIV/AIDS, US Agency for International Development, Sept 17, 2002.
21 Macro International, “Uganda Demographic and Health Survery 2000-2001”
22 Ibid. See also Edward C. Green, PhD. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Health - Committee on Energy & Commerce, US House of Representatives, March 20, 2003
23 Arthur Allen, “Uganda v. Condoms”, The New Republic Online, June 30, 2003.
24 P. Waibale et al., “Comparison of Two Condom Approaches for Prostitutes in Jinja District, Uganda,” International Conference on AIDS.
25 S. Chen and N. Hearst, “Condoms for AIDS Prevention in the Developing World:” A Review of Scientific Literature, ”Geneva, UNAIDS, 2003.
26 In Botswana median HIV prevalence among pregnant women in urban areas was nearly 45 percent in 2001. See UNAIDS, “Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2002.
27 Tom Carter, “Uganda Leads by Example on AIDS”, The Washington Times, March 13 2003.
28 Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) inserted an amendment to the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 that prevents disbursement of any funds to the Global Fund “if any employee of the fund was paid a salary higher than that of the vice-president of the United States. The vice-president’s salary is now $175,000.”
29 Associated Press, “Bush to Uganda: You’ve shown what is possible”, July 11, 2003.