What is

What do they mean by, “Safe Sex?”

The Whole Truth About “Safe Sex,” STD’s and Condoms

Dear Concerned Parent,

As the parent of a teen or young adult you are no doubt well aware that times have changed since you were a teen growing up. And that sexual freedom today now means youth are exposed to sexual dangers that were not present when you were a youth. Moreover, that making sexual choices in our world today means youth are forced with making critically responsible sexual decisions for long-term health.

But here are some “Safe Sex” facts to consider!

Did you know in America today?

  • 1 in 4 sexually active teen will catch an STD, (sexually transmitted disease) before graduation. And it jumps dramatically to 1 in 2 sexually active young adults before they reach the age of 25.
  • The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 56 million Americans have an incurable STD. That means 1 in 5 Americans are infected!
  • 12 million people get a new STD each year. And many STD’s are permanent and have life-threatening consequences.
  • Today there are now over 20 different types of STD’s a youth can catch including HIV and AIDS. Previously STD’s were called VD or venereal disease!
  • In Baltimore, Washington, Metro 1 in 16 people are HIV/AIDS positive.
  • According to medical experts a condom can never provide 100 percent protection from any of the 20+ STD’s or from an unwanted pregnancy, (even latex or polyurethane).
  • Read the warning label on a box of condoms. It warns the user that condoms are not 100 percent effective at stopping STD’s and HIV and AIDS or unwanted pregnancies.
  • Condoms have between a 3 and 14 percent failure rate.
  • According to the CDC, sexually transmitted diseases have risen dramatically from 10 years ago and are up by over 10 percent.
  • Many STD’s are caught from skin to skin contact while the person (a youth) thinks they are protected practicing “safe sex” using a condom. And again, 1 in 2 sexually active youth will catch an STD before they reach 25. The Washington Post.

The “Facts of Life” Have Changed, Indeed!

  • So why then do we encourage teen-sexuality today saying things like, “A condom is the only way to enjoy sex and stay safe”… (Taken from a popular teen web site)

To answer the question, what is “Safe Sex?” it is important to know exactly what question the reader is asking.

  • Is the person asking, how to have “Safer” sex and reduce their risk of catching a sexual disease?
  • Or are they asking, how to have sex with the guaranteed assurance they will never catch a disease or run the risk of an un-wanted pregnancy?

Read what a leading condom expert says about the effectiveness of condoms and “safe sex” today.

  • “Both user error and manufacturer error exist… The only 100 percent “safe sex” is no oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or abstinence.” www.GoAskAlice.columbia.edu

The condom expert is correct in saying that abstinence is the only 100 percent “safe sex” guarantee from catching any sexually transmitted disease. That’s because all the aforementioned forms of “sex” have associated risks that some condom advocates have dismissed as not important need-to-know knowledge for the full sexual protection of youth today.

Even if the risk of sexually infection were minimized to just 10 percent, that would mean 1 in 10 condoms would likely result in failure. But are those sex-risks worth jeopardizing the health of our youth by implying they are safe and protected while using a condom? Ask most youth (teens) today if they are safe from sexual disease or pregnancy by using a condom and they would overwhelmingly say, YES.

The myth that most people (teens) are made to believe that “safe sex” means they are completely protected from the risk of catching a sexual disease while using a condom has created false “safe sex” protection.

We simply cannot afford to be wrong with life-threatening diseases where HIV/AIDS is concerned. Sexual freedom also means “freedom” from getting a sexual disease. And that is precisely what many youth are interested in today. Knowledge is power!

Other misleading “safe sex” phrases have popped-up on sex advice web sites influencing youth that sex is 100 percent safe and to go ahead and have sex.

Phrases like

  • If you don't want to end up in a STD clinic or with a baby, using a condom is a good idea.
  • A condom is the only way to enjoy sex and stay safe.
  • A condom greatly reduces the risk of disease and pregnancy…

However, students who have learned that there is no such thing as “safe sex” and are not 100 percent protected from any of the more than 20 different types of permanent STD’s - HIV/AIDS and pregnancy are more likely to re-evaluate their sexual freedom and wait to have sex.

Even the best sex-instruction or education is never going to be sufficient enough protection to keep one safe from today’s social diseases. The most it can offer is to minimize the risk of infection. Moreover, despite the world’s best effort to fight HIV/AIDS and STD’s today that these diseases still pose the greatest threat of infection worldwide and continue to rise significantly each year.

World health leaders fear the world is not prepared for the AIDS pandemic. And by 2010 the number of HIV/AIDS cases may more than double from 40 million people today, to infect over 100 million people; and leave in its wake over 25 million orphans, thus becoming the greatest health and economic burden known to man of any totally preventable disease.

If the rate of AIDS and STD’s were going in a manageable direction then we would not be having this debate. However, since the number of new HIV and AIDS infections keeps rising daily at record rates then we have addressed these condom concerns in this forum for the health of every community in the world.

Here again the condom expert comments,

“Use of condoms during sexual intercourse greatly reduces the risk of an unwanted pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).”

Yes, “reduced risk” of sexual infection is good. And for some people “reduced sexual risk” is better than no protection at all. But for those users we say this: “User Beware.” And offer this dire warning: Risk of catching a sexually transmitted disease is still out there and becomes greatly magnified by the false pretense that condom users are 100 percent protected from catching a sexual disease. AIDS is not a respecter of persons, AIDS KILLS.

However, many people today feel that the risk of catching a permanent STD, HIV or AIDS is far too great and want true 100 percent protection from sexual disease, and are not satisfied with the risky protection condoms offer.

We are not opposed to sex and understand all too well that condoms have their place in today’s sexually-free society. Conversely, we have found many youth are eager and want to learn the significant difference between “safer sex” and 100 percent protection. And once they know the true sex-facts have made the decision for 100 percent protection for themselves.

Youth today are smart. And we need to give them a lot of credit to be able to figure this out for them self. And all we are doing is giving them the raw data about sexual risks that exist today and they do the computations for themselves.

Read what another leading condom expert says about condom safety,

  • There are several types of contraception available today. However, abstinence is the only way to completely avoid pregnancy. www.4parents.gov

Another question is asked of one of America’s leading experts on condom efficacy.
“When you say that contraceptives, like condoms, have a 12 percent failure rate, do you mean that they result in pregnancy in 12 out of every 100 women who use them? I hope you mean that 12 percent of people who use them become pregnant in a year, or something like that. Otherwise, it sounds as risky as Russian roulette to rely on condoms.”

Dear Reader,
“Your second interpretation of contraceptive effectiveness rates is more like it. During a year of typical condom use, 14 out of 100 women will become pregnant.”
That sounds like Russian roulette to me.
Honestly, and in reality, there is no such thing as “safe sex” where physical contact between people is exchanged.

Abstinence may not always be the most popular choice, but it works 100 percent of the time. And it provides 100 percent protection from things like unwanted pregnancy and STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) HIV and AIDS. Therefore, we recommend abstinence as the best course of action for those who have learned there is no 100 percent “safe sex,” guarantees.

Again, read what the condom expert warns:

Both user error and manufacturer error exist… The only 100 percent “safe sex” is no oral, anal, or vaginal sex, or abstinence.

The decision for 100 percent protection is becoming more popular among youth today that find it hard to swim against a sea of sexually transmitted disease. It has now become a leading choice for millions of youth who have figured out for themselves that sexual risks and disease are far too great and are making the decision to wait to have sex.

We honor youth who are making that type of strong decision and applaud them for their choice.

When I was growing up we learned all about VD. It was called venereal disease. You knew what VD was and you did not want to get it. Today we are calling the very same thing something else, an STD, in order to become less offensive and more politically correct.

We hope that as a guardian or parent of a youth you are not offended that we do not offer explicit sexual education or instruction on this web site. Our work is dedicated to reach and protect the hundreds of millions of teens (people) today who have made the decision to wait to have sex.

Our program offers comprehensive sex education that is designed to inform youth about the dangers involved in sexual choices today. Our objective is to help youth delay pursuing their sexual drives and impulses and to avoid mistakes made by early sexual choices.

Around the world there are horrifying HIV/AID and STD examples that are fast-becoming immediate concern for every nation of the world.

A little known country in Africa called Swaziland now has the dubious title of being the most AIDS-infected country in the world today. Up, 900 percent from 1992 to 2002. And up again from 38.6 percent to 46 percent in 2004 to present day.

Uganda similarly was once known as having the worst HIV and AIDS rate in the world. And in 1992 their total population was more than 30 percent infected. Now today they are around 3 percent. (+ or -).

Why and how?

For the sake of the youth, both civic and religious groups banded together and set aside their differences for the good of that society to rethink AIDS abatement as more that just condom protection and included a thorough comprehensive understanding of abstinence teaching. In essence they helped their people learn how to wait to have sex. And not, “Just say, no!”

They adopted the now world-famous ABC program. This program had the full assistance and cooperation of both of religious and government leaders. A=abstain B=be faithful for your spouse, and if you could not do either A or B, then use a condom.

AIDS Rate Drops in India!

India's 5.1 million people living with the HIV/AIDS virus has fallen by more than a third. Rare good news in the fight against AIDS since India has the world's second-highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS -- after South Africa. India has been pushing condom use as key to its anti-AIDS strategy, along with loyalty to one's spouse.

Please note that India’s success against AIDS is due to a combination of social modification, AIDS awareness and comprehensive AIDS education and condom distribution.

HIV Rate Drops in Swaziland Youth

Recently the infection rate of 15-19 year-olds in Swaziland has decreased, due in part to condoms and abstinence-based programs among youth.

Despite these recent declines, AIDS continues to spread faster than any other totally preventable disease worldwide today. Moreover, experts now predict the 42 million cases of HIV/AIDS are set to double to 100 million infections by 2010.

We should not take these recent successes as permanent trends of decline or an “Out of the Woods” safe scenario.” But should keep on in the fight against AIDS by using every means possible, including modified programs like abstinence and targeted condom distribution in conjunction with each other.

The Religious Debate

As an AIDS researcher I have heard the condom debate from both sides of the argument. Once asked of a religious man if their youth had to choose between using a condom while having sex how would they respond. They said they would recommend their child not ever use a condom. That type of thinking has left many youth confused and vulnerable to infection.

On the flip side I heard it said from people who are opposed to abstinence say they would rather their child have every sexual freedom at whenever they choose. They believe that teaching abstinence is a societal and behavioral violation of their freedom and rights. And if they use a condom and get a disease at least they had the choice to choose. Let’s be honest, talking to our kids about the dangers of sex and about condom risks increases their ability to decide.

What we have done, then, as a society has been to make the topic (argument) of protecting people from the scourge of social/sexual diseases like AIDS and STD’s a religious debate that has left many uninformed people hanging in the balance.

The Facts of Life Have Changed

In every society whenever social/sexual activity has been reduced, (suppressed) it has, in turn, reduced the risk and rates of HIV/AIDS infection worldwide. But flooding the market with condoms has created a false “safe sex” security that condom users are 100 percent safe from catching a sexually transmitted disease.

Most of the people who use condoms are totally unaware that they are still likely to catch a disease even by using a condom. And it has given many communities a false sense of protection and caused sexual activity to rise. Moreover, it gives people the impression that if they use a condom they are 100 percent protected from the risk of catching any kind of sexual disease.

As the National Council for HIV/AIDS Education we know that condoms have their place in our sexually promiscuous society and are not opposed to groups that practice targeted condom distribution. Because the more correct the information about the dangers of sex is to our kids today, then better are their chances that they will be able to enjoy a healthy life that is free from sexual disease.

Offering widespread condom distribution without offering proper education about condom risks has created a worldwide problem in itself by sending mixed signals about condom safety.

For example, as we travel extensively through some the most AIDS-infected countries of the world we regularly read sign that say,

• Use a Condom Every Time.
• Only a Condom Will Protect You.
• Condoms Save.

Far too often people who use condoms in these highly infected AIDS areas have not learned about the sexual risks that are still associated even while using a condom. And free and open distribution of condoms has created a more sexual ignorantly society that believes they are 100 percent safe from sexual disease.

As the National Council for HIV/AIDS Education we have found when communities combine and use both strategies together for creating HIV-Free communities they have the greatest amount of success at controlling HIV/AIDS –STD’s and unwanted pregnancies.

The purpose of the Global AIDS Day and the National Council for HIV/AIDS Education is not to infringe upon anyone’s sexual freedoms or right to have sex, but rather to inform with correct accuracy just what exactly is meant by “safe sex” and inform people that the risk of sexual disease still exists.

Our program is designed at assisting youth (people) in making healthy sexual choices and to rethink there is no such thing as 100 percent contraception protection. Youth are going to have sex. And all we are doing is assisting them in their decision to postpone having sex for as long as possible. That was how Uganda was able to turn the AIDS pandemic around by saving a generation that was living at risk.

If society would place as much energy and emphasis on helping youth (people) learn the whole truth about sex and the dangers of using condoms today, then we would see much fewer STD’s, unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS, and we would have a much healthier youth culture.

Doctors speak out about condom failures!

Holes in Condoms

STDs are very tiny organisms, minuscule in size compared to sperm. These super-small viruses can get through a hole in a condom much more easily than sperm can. For example, HIV (the AIDS-causing virus) is so small that two million of the disease-causing agents could crowd on the period at the end of a sentence.

In 1993 the University of Texas analyzed the results of 11 different studies that had tracked the effectiveness of condoms to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus. The average condom failure rate in the 11 studies for preventing transmission of the AIDS virus was 31%.

One reason condoms fail in preventing the transfer of AIDS is that latex condoms have tiny intrinsic holes called "voids." Sperm is larger than the holes, but the AIDS virus is 50 times smaller than these tiny holes which makes it easy for the virus to pass through [Source: Dr. C. M. Roland, editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology]. To give you an idea of how easy it would be for the AIDS virus to pass through these holes, just imagine a ping pong ball going through a basketball hoop.

Are You ready to catch a sexually transmitted diseases?
Condoms provide considerably less protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than they do against pregnancy.

That's because a girl can get pregnant only at ovulation time (that's two to three days each month) but STDs can pass from partner to partner at any time of the month.

STDs are frequently passed through "skin to skin" contact even when condoms are used. This can happen because the bacterial or viral germs that cause many serious STDs (such as human papillomavirus, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis) do not infect just one place on your body. They may infect anywhere in the male or female genital areas.

So, even if the virus or bacteria isn't passed through tears or holes in the condom itself, you can still get diseases because condoms don't cover or protect all areas of the genital region. That means condoms don't prevent many of the STD infections that take place during sexual contact.

25% of High School students will be infected with an STD before graduation.
And according to the Washington Post 1-in-2 sexually active youth will contract an STD before they reach the age of 25.

Some Facts to Remember . . .

The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 56 million Americans have an incurable STD. That means 1 in 5 Americans are infected!

12 million people get a new STD each year!

33,000 people get a new STD every day and 22,000 of them are 15 to 24 years old!

Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York and Center for Disease Control

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