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By Samhouriii27 Oct 21, 2014 1249 Words

Review of "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS"
by Petter Woll
The use of condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, even more important, the spread of sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) has been controversial. This critical review examines an article that links condom usage to the spread of AIDS. The article, "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS," was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest. As the title of the article indicates, the author is against the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STDs. In fact, he claims that teaching children how to use condoms will eventually increase the spread of AIDS. Although the author has some good points, his article is biased and contains some misinterpretation of data from others’ analysis of the effectiveness of the condom. Summary

This sections contains a summary of the article "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS." In his introduction, Zimmerman says that condom usage "may break its [AIDS] spread in the short run; but accelerates its spread in the long run" (p. 111). He bases his conclusion on an analysis done for the World Health Organization (WHO) published in Population Reports. The results from this analysis indicated that condoms users have a one-third lower risk for acquiring STDs compared to non-condom users. This, however, provides small comfort for the author. He says that using a condom is like playing Russian roulette. There are two reasons why condom usage will increase the spread of AIDS. Firstly, the promotion of condoms by the authorities, like teachers and health workers, increases sexual promiscuousity. This leads to miseducation of adolescents, breaking down their natural and cultural barriers against sex before marriage. Secondly, condom usage promotes a false sense of security and a pseudo-responsibility. According to the author, the most prevalent HIV virus is the one that spreads more easily through sodomitic (anal) intercourse among homosexual men. However, if today’s trend continues, the African type, which spreads through heterosexual intercourse, "may strike our schools like the atom bombs which devastated Nagasaki and Hiroshima" (p.113). In his conclusion, the author draws parallels to the Black Death that haunted Europe during the fourteenth century. This is the scenario he pictures if schools promote sexual education. It is already happening in Uganda, he says, where AIDS is endemic. Arguments

This section looks into the author’s arguments and what these arguments mean to the general population. In addition, counterarguments from the public and professional spheres are contrasted with those of the author. AUTHOR’S ARGUMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS

The main purpose for the article written by Zimmerman is to abolish the promotion of condom use in the society. He argues for this by saying that promotion of condom use will increase the spread of AIDS. According to the author, there are two reasons for this. One is that the promotion of condom usage will increase sexual immorality: that is, more sex before marriage. If people are more frequently exposed to sex, they will have sex earlier in adolescence, compared to if they are exposed less frequently. Exposure increases the risk of acquiring HIV and, thus, developing AIDS. The other reason why condom usage will increase the spread of AIDS is that it leads to a false sense of security and something the author calls pseudo-responsibility. People, he says, who promote condom usage advertise condoms as reducing the risk of transmitting HIV. This, according to the author, misleads ordinarily people to think that all sex is safe, and therefore it increases their sexual behavior. The implication of the author’s arguments is that to reduce the spread of AIDS and avoid a future catastrophe having the same devastating effects as the black plague in Europe on the 14th century, promotion of condom use must be stopped. CONTRASTING OPINIONS

Zimmerman has a very moralistic view on sexuality that is not compatible with the public’s view. The trend today is that young people start having sex earlier than before. Also, there are few people who wait to have sex until they are married. This trend was illustrated by the controversial movie, "Kids," made by a sixteen-year-old American boy, which has been highly debated by health workers. The view on condoms in the sphere of public health is that they are our best means of reducing the spread of sexual transmitted infections like HIV. In one study that looked at the transmission rate among heterosexual partners with one partner infected by HIV, among the 123 couples that consistently used condoms, none of the partners became infected, whereas 12 of the 122 who didn’t consistently use condoms became infected. For optimum effect in using a condom, correct use and storage is a necessity. Therefore, health workers travel around to schools to teach adolescents to use condoms correctly. This method belongs to the principles of harm reduction, which says: "You should not use, but if you do…." Several studies have confirmed that up to the present time, this is the most effective method for preventing the spread of STDs. Some people go as far as to say that condoms should be made as common as toothpaste and toilet paper, in order to protect us against infections. Evaluation

This section contains an evaluation of the article. Firstly, the author’s arguments appear to be biased towards his Christian beliefs. He is a Catholic priest and has a very moralistic view of sex. In his opinion, sex before marriage is immoral. A minority in the American population would support this kind of view. His views on sexuality are, in short, not consistent with current views within the population. Furthermore, he shows prejudice against homosexuals and Africans. He holds these two groups as the source of the HIV virus. The fact that the virus is more prevalent in these two groups does not mean that they are the source of the spread. In his article he says that "the ghetto of sodomites is going into extinction, and that could lead to the extinction of AIDS." This is an extremely prejudiced statement, and it has parallels to Hitler’s statements about Jews: if we eliminate all the homosexuals, we can get rid of AIDS. Another negative point about this article is that it is very argumentative with little support. The author throws out statements, giving no evidence or supporting details for them. This is bad writing, and the author loses his creditability. Finally, he misinterprets information from other data and gives the wrong information or only parts of the truth. The data from the analysis done for the WHO indicate that condoms significantly decrease the risk of transmitting HIV. However, Zimmerman overlooks this, and instead interprets it to show that condoms increase the spread of HIV. Furthermore, he refers to the endemic situation in Uganda, and claims that this is the situation we are going to experience in the future if the promotion of condoms continues. What he fails to mention is that the situation in Uganda could have been avoided with the promotion of condoms. The number one cause of the spread of HIV is unprotected sex, and with the correct use of condoms, the spread can effectively be reduced. Conclusion

This critical review has evaluated the article "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS" by Anthony Zimmerman. The arguments in the article show the presence of bias, prejudice, argumentative writing without supporting details, and misinformation. These points weaken the author’s arguments and reduce his credibility. ---

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