Do Condoms Protect Against Small Viruses?
The use of condoms is widely recommended to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including those caused by such viruses as herpes simplex, hepatitis B, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The efficacy of condoms in these circumstances, however, is unknown. The water-leak test used to ensure the integrity of condoms can detect holes as small as 3 to 4 m in diameter, but sexually transmitted viruses are much smaller, with diameters of 0.04 to 0.15 m. A previous study demonstrated that about one third of condoms tested allowed penetration of HIV-sized polystyrene spheres.
Editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, Dr. C. Michael Roland of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., spoke about his
research on "intrinsic flaws" in latex rubber condoms and surgical gloves (published in Rubber World, June, 1993).
Roland said that what I am about to relate is "common knowledge among good scientists who have no political agenda."
Electron microscopy reveals the HIV virus to be about O.1 microns in size (a micron is a millionth of a metre). It is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium, and 450 times smaller than a single human sperm.
The standard U.S. government leakage test (ASTM) will detect water leakage
through holes only as small as 10 to 12 microns (most condoms sold in Canada are made in the U.S.A., but I'll mention the Canadian test below).
Roland says in good tests based on these standards, 33% of all condoms tested allowed HIV-sized particles through, and that "spermicidal agents such as nonoxonol-9 may actually ease the passage."
Roland's paper shows electron microscopy photos of natural latex. You can see the natural holes, or intrinsic flaws. The "inherent defects in
natural rubber range between 5 and 70 microns."
And it's not as if governments don't know. A study by Dr. R.F. Carey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that "leakage of HIV-sized
particles through latex condoms was detectable for as many as 29 of 89 condoms tested." These were brand new, pre-approved condoms. But Roland says a closer reading of Carey's data actually yields a 78% HIV-leakage rate, and concludes: "That the CDC would promote condoms based on [this] study...suggests its agenda is concerned with something other than public health and welfare."
The federal government's standard tests, he adds, "cannot detect flaws even 70 times larger than the AIDS virus." Such tests are "blind to leakage volumes less tha one microliter - yet this quantity of fluid from an AIDS-infected individual has been found to contain as many as 100,000 HIV particles."
As one U.S. surgeon memorably put it, "The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net."
It's the same story with latex gloves. Gloves from four different manufacturers revealed "pits as large as 15 microns wide and 30 microns
deep." More relevant to HIV transmission, "5 micron-wide channels, penetrating the entire thickness were found in all the gloves." He said
the presence of such defects in latex "is well established."
For Canada, the story is the same. A standard Health and Welfare Canada test of condoms manufactured between 1987 and 1990, based on stringent tests of pressure, leakage, and volume (as in the U.S., there is no effort to examine micron-level leakage), reported that an astonishing 40% of the condoms tested failed at least one of the tests. Tests in 1991 showed an
"improved" 28% rate.
New US government website attacked for comments on sexuality and effectiveness of condoms
The wording of information about condoms on the site is also potentially misleading (they mean factual). US abstinence education programmes usually only mention condoms when referring to their potential for failure.
The 4parents.com site suggests that condoms offer only moderate protection against HIV and gonorrhoea, less protection against Chlamidya, herpes and human papilloma virus, and that the ability of condoms to protect against syphilis has not been well studied. Although these claims are backed by reference to studies looking at the effectiveness of condoms, they do not acknowledge that the studies were, almost exclusively, conducted in populations with a high prevalence, or risk of sexually transmitted infections.
The rest of the article (attacking the new semi honest official statements on condoms) is a pathetic attempt to defend condoms citing the one and only study (if you can call it that) conducted over twelve years ago that claimed that condoms reduced 'AIDS' in the 132 couples studied. As usual the 'conclusions' section of that report which said 'in real world use condoms failed up to 32% of the time' was ignored.
This study has been contradicted by ALL the 400 subsequent studies almost without exception.