Saturday, July 02, 2005

STDs and failure rates.

One thing that irks me is how people apply statistics or similar rather erroneously to insinuate some sort of goal or aim. As I've shown in the past, many groups that are opposed to public health measures like vaccines, often manipulate or distort various statistics. So it seems that certain groups are again distorting facts away and trying to discredit the useage of condoms for preventing STDs.

Firstly, condoms when used correctly have been repeatedly demonstrated to protect against STDs such as gonnorhea and chlamydia. Unfortunately, this is not usually the ideal situation and condoms are not always used correctly each time. The fact is, many teens are confused about how to use condoms properly and this leads to condoms being considerably less effective than normal (Warner et al 2005). The same study also verified that many factors in reporting condom usage resulted in underestimating the effectiveness of condoms. Unfortunately, detractors of sexual education campaigns often use these as 'evidence' condoms are ineffective or similar.

A second problem occurs in that many teens do not recognise oral and anal sex as 'sexual intercourse' (Nicoletti 2005). Because someone cannot get pregnant through these routes, many do not regard it as significant to use protection. Unfortunately, diseases such as chlamydia and gonnorhea can be spread through oral sex (as an example). This means that even when condoms are not used in terms of vaginal sex, indivduals may still be infected by another route.

The best solution is to make sure that teens are well educated about how to use condoms properly, the risks associated with different kinds of organisms (Herpes transmission is unaffected by condoms generally) and what they should consider to protect themselves. Unfortunately, miseducating people about the effectiveness of condoms and what STDs can and can not do is not going to help.

Warner L., M. Macaluso, H.D. Austin, D.K. Kleinbaum, L. Artz, M.E. Fleenor, I. Brill, D.R. Newman, and E.W. Hook III (2005). Application of the Case-Crossover Design to Reduce Unmeasured Confounding. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161,8:765-773

Nicoletti A. (2005). The Definition of Abstinence. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecolology, 18:57–58.