About AIDS

Bush Plays Politics With Condom Info

The Bush administration is playing right-wing politics by omitting or negatively spinning key information on condom use in a revised "fact sheet" recently posted on the CDC's Web site, after the page had been removed for over a year. It would seem that the Bushites do not want to include information that conflicts with the administration's abstinence-only stance.

They have eliminated instructions on how to use a condom properly, plus information from studies indicating that educating young people about condom use does not lead to earlier sexual activity. Both topics were covered in the original 1996 fact sheet. They also phrase information on condom effectiveness to make it appear that condoms are not a dependable means of HIV/STD protection.

California Congressman Henry Waxman hit the nail on the head in noting the "Orwellian trend. ... Information that used to be based on science is being systematically removed from the public." HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson denies that is the case.

Of course, the truth is that condoms -- correctly and consistently used -- are a highly effective way to prevent HIV and STD transmission. Like anything else, they are not perfect. Public health officials owe the public honesty. Unfortunately, their political machinations have a negative effect: Young people continue to have sex, they just blow off condom use, believing "they don't work."

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