The Benefits of Condoms

The research is clear about the efficacy of condoms. Condoms are highly effective against the most dangerous of sexually transmitted infections—HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. They are also effective against unintended pregnancy as well as against gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. Condoms use is also associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease. It is vital that sexually active youth have access to condoms to protect their health and their lives.

However, the last eight years have seen ultra-conservative, far-right ideologues attacking condoms and their effectiveness, while at the same time making the outrageous claim that providing young people with information about condoms leads them to have sex.

Analysis and Talking Points

  • According to the CDC, NIH, and all of the leading medical associations in this country, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection and reduce the risk of pregnancy and a number of sexually transmitted infections. Yet, the United States has spent over $1 billion in federal and state funds on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that suppress information about the health benefits of using condoms.
  • Numerous studies have shown that providing young people with information about condoms does not lead to increased sexual activity. This is a fact.
  • Abstinence is the only way to guarantee staying 100 percent safe. Yet, condoms are by far the best protection for anyone who is sexually active.
  • More than 70 percent of school-based health centers in America are prohibited from providing condoms to sexually active students. Given the fact that each day more than 25,000 American youth get an STI, more than 2,000 become pregnant, and as many as 55 contract HIV, such policies defy common sense and sound public health practice.
  • Clearly, it is time to get over any “condom phobia” and promote the health benefits of this effective and inexpensive medical device.