An article in my local paper announced that a study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (Winer, “Condom Use and the Risk of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Young Women,” June 22, 2006) had found that “Condoms protect against cervical cancer.”
Given the recent television advertising campaign blanketing the airwaves, everyone should know by now that most cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is transmitted through sexual contact.
To the average person the word “protect” gives the impression that if a couple were to use condoms 100% of the time, the chance of the woman becoming infected with HPV would be very slight.
What the study actually found was that if 100 women used condoms 100% of the time for one year, 37 would be infected with HPV. This is hardly protection, particularly where the risk of cancer is concerned.
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