Condomologist

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Posts Tagged ‘female’

Condoms aren’t the only answer

Posted by Condomologist on March 9, 2010

I respect Serra Sippel and CHANGE, the organization she heads up, and I’m particularly grateful for their bringing me to a wonderful training in DC last year focused on increasing sexual health lobbying efforts. And they do wonderful work around female condoms and promoting them around the world. But let’s not oversimplify the end to the AIDS epidemic: condoms alone won’t solve our problems. A few days with teenagers in the work I do now, or a few days with the (mostly) men I worked with last year in Philly makes it pretty clear that simple condom availability is not the panacea we’ve long been seeking. There’s a whole lot of HIV happening to men and women who have access to free condoms. She briefly mentions stigma — though curiously does not elaborate — and certainly various forms of stigma lead to unsafe sex: asking to use a condom can lead to men accusing their female partners of promiscuity or lack of trust; the stigma and homophobia towards gay men leads to far too much secretive, anonymous, drug-fueled sex — to give two examples. But more than anything, people don’t like to use condoms much because it doesn’t feel good. Also, there is a lot of ignorance about the ill effects of not just HIV and AIDS, but the long-term effects of chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example; we don’t see the devastation it causes until it’s personal, and so we don’t take the precautionary steps we know exist. And then there are just far too many myths to count that lead to people the world over not believing HIV — or even pregnancy, for that matter — can happen to them.

Yes, let’s push for more political support for condoms. But contrary to what Ms. Sippel says, that’s not “it.” It is far more complex than that.

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