Condoms have proven to be effective

Letters, Normal

I REFER to your editorial “Condoms promote promiscuity” (Feb 5) claiming condoms are ineffective in stopping the spread of HIV and they promote promiscuity.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, have repeatedly been found to be highly effective at preventing HIV transmission.
The first study of the effects of condom promotion on HIV infection and promiscuity was published in 1992. HIV declined and casual sex among youth was unchanged.
To be sure, condoms cannot be the only strategy in HIV prevention. HIV programs must target families too, including couples with different HIV status who depend upon condoms to prevent HIV transmission.
But the promotion of condoms is complementary, not in conflict with, messages emphasising abstinence and fidelity.
It may be that in Papua New Guinea condoms are displacing bibles in hotel rooms. Perhaps that is because those rooms are used for having sex.
In response to the AIDS epidemic, promoting pragmatic interventions, such as condoms, has shown to be effective.
In Zambia, it is mandatory for hotels to have two bibles in each room. Yet, nearly one in six Zambians is infected with HIV. 
Combating HIV/AIDS requires comprehensive strategies, not speculation and moralising.
Adopting human rights based, rather than ideological, and often stigmatising programmes to address HIV, are most likely to reduce HIV transmission and protect individuals and families.


Joe Amon
Via email