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The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Epidemic: Condoms Don't Work

Heather Farish and Mrs. Yvette C. Schneider

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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common incurable STD in the United States. Those concrened with public health should strongly encourage the only guaranteed method of conquering this epidemic -- sexual abstinence until entering into a lifelong, monogamous marrage with an uninfected partner.

The United States is in the midst of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemic. We have the highest STD rate in the developed world, and a higher rate than some developing countries. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common incurable STD in the United States, with as many as 24 million Americans currently infected. By comparison, between 650,000 and 900,000 Americans are infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. HPV has been linked to over 90 percent of all invasive cervical cancers, and is the number two cause of cancer deaths among women, after breast cancer. Approximately 16,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, and 5,000 women die annually from this disease.

When condoms are used properly and consistently, which only occurs between 5 and 40 percent of the time, they still serve as ineffective barriers against STDs. Condoms, whether used correctly and consistently or not, do not prevent the spread of HPV. Federally funded sexual health organizations and the Centers for Disease Control, however, continue to promote condoms as effective STD barriers. They briefly mention sexual abstinence as a tool for STD prevention, before campaigning for the "consistent and correct" use of condoms as sufficient STD deterrents. Those concerned with public health should strongly encourage the only guaranteed method of conquering this public health epidemic - sexual abstinence until entering into a lifelong, monogamous marriage with an uninfected partner.

The Epidemic

In 1960, there were only two significant STDs, syphilis and gonorrhea. Both are easily curable bacterial infections. Today, after the sexual revolution and the significant cultural decay in which it played a part, there are at least 25 STDs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, "Since 1980, eight new sexually transmitted pathogens have been recognized in the United States alone. ." The Institute of Medicine reports, "Approximately 12 million new [cases of] STDs, 3 million of them among teenagers, occur annually."

Read the entire article on the Family Research Council website (new window will open).

Posted 12/13/04



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