A Catholic group called Human Life International has put up billboards in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to fight the scourge of condom usage.
Human Life International's website claims that their mission is to "fight the evils of abortion, contraception, sex education and family breakdown." I suppose the AIDS epidemic doesn't cause family breakdown. But these are the same people who argue that condoms don't prevent HIV/AIDS.
Unfortunately, members of the public uncritically accept the government and the condom manufacturers at their word. And nobody (except a few pro lifers, who are universally ignored) seems to be asking the most vital question of all.
If condoms are so effective at preventing pregnancy and AIDS transmission, why do nations that stress their use continue to experience a rapidly escalating rate of teen pregnancy and an exploding AIDS epidemic?
The HLI website lists a number of factors that can cause condoms to fail:
- Condoms break and slip off;
- They age. One study found that the breakage rate for condoms increased from 3.6% for new condoms to as high as 18.6% for condoms several years old.
- They deteriorate in even the best of conditions, but even more rapidly in extremely cold or hot situations. Condom wrappers recommend storing the product at temperatures between 59 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. One researcher found that, at major condom distribution points in New Jersey and New York, boxes of condoms were left outdoors in the ice and snow during the dead of winter. During the summer months, the researcher took photographs of eggs frying on the floors of dozens of trucks and containers where condoms were stored in temperatures exceeding 180 degrees. High temperatures cause oxidation and freezing temperatures cause crystallization in some of the chemical compounds that make up condoms, leading to cracking, drying, shrinking and drastic loss of flexibility and strength. Keep in mind that condoms exported from the United States sit in uninsulated shipping containers in extreme weather conditions for even longer periods of time;
- If taken out of the package and left unused for a long period of time, they are liable to ozone deterioration, which causes damage invisible to the eye;
- Improper use of oil-based lubricants can degrade them;
- They get broken in their packages;
- They have allowed rates of manufacturing defects. The present acceptable quality limit (AQL) for North American condom manufacturers is 99.6% of condoms free of leaks. The British AQL is 97%, and the Dutch AQL is 96.5%;
- The users are caught up in passion and do not properly follow the ten- to sixteen-step process for safe usage ;
- The users are compromised by the use of alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, or exhaustion; and
- Bodily secretions can get around and over a condom even if it performs perfectly.
These are all valid points. But that just seems to prove the need for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Instead of posting misleading billboards in a country that is ravaged with HIV, you would think that HLI would take a more compassionate stance. After all, isn't that would Jesus would do?