We had a letter published in the Church of England Newspaper entitled 'Tellng the truth on Condoms', as follows:
'Your edition of January 22 brought to our attention the General Synod debate on HIV/AIDS due on February 12. On reading the Church's report for this debate, Telling the story: being positive about HIV/AIDS - A report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council, we found the report very disturbing.
The report states that abstinence-only programmes have little impact and that Christian Aid research suggests sex education and access to condoms delays sexual debut. Is Christian Aid being serious here - how can placing a condom in the hand of teenagers stop sexual debut? Such statements by Christian Aid fly in the face of recent Health Development Agency statements that abstinence education must now be promoted in UK schools. Research published in the Journal of Health Communication shows that after three years of teaching abstinence to all 9-14 year olds, sexual debut fell from 47% to 32%.
The Church report also advocates the promotion of condoms to help prevent the spread of HIV in Africa. However, the British Blood Transfusion Service leaflet entitled 'Keep Blood Transfusion Safe' states that, "You must not give blood for at least 12 months after sex (even if you use a condom or other protection) with a partner who has, or you think may have been, sexually active in parts of the world where HIV/AIDS is very common. This includes most countries in Africa."
The General Synod, Christian Aid and all other agencies that promote and support the use of condoms, have to answer why the British Blood Transfusion Service place a restriction on the giving of blood if someone has had sex in Africa even if they use a condom.
According to an article entitled, 'Latex and Life' by George Weigel, Senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington DC, Dr Rachel Baggaley, a consultant to Christian Aid insists that "correct condom use" reduces the risk of HIV by 90%. That means that Christian Aid cannot refute that 10 per cent of condom users will get HIV even if a condom is used correctly. Weigal's article raises the following four points which again all condom promoters must answer.
- For the sake of argument let's stipulate that the 90% "success rate" claimed for latex condoms as an AIDS prevention device is accurate. Imagine your teenager assures you that playing Russian roulette is "safe" because the gun he and his friends are using has ten chambers and only one is loaded. Is this "safe shooting"? Or is it suicidal behaviour? Do you immediately take the gun off him?
- The most successful African Aids prevention is in Uganda where its President stresses abstinence and "zero-grazing".
- Critics of abstinence have to explain why three countries where condoms are available and their use vigorously promoted, - Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa - have the world's highest rates of HIV.
- Harvard medical anthropologist Edward Green shows abstinence works and that in the Lancet, John Richens of London's University College shows that "condoms encourage risky behaviour".
Christian Aid and General Synod must provide answers to the points raised in this letter.'
Direct Link to Rubber World the leading magazine for the rubber industry
Once on Rubber World site click on 'Articles/Archives' then scroll to month 'June' & year '1993' for CM Roland's article entitled : The barrier performance of latex rubber.
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