Monday 6 April 2009

The Great Condom Con Part Two

The failure rate of condoms is hard to assess accurately, for all sorts of reasons. However, everybody admits that they do, on occasion, fail: and this often has tragic consequences.

Anyone who has worked in pregnancy counselling will know quite how often an unplaned pregnancy is the result of condom failure. And as a woman can only become pregnant on a relatively small number of days in her cycle, but can be infected with HIV on any day, then condoms are clearly a risky strategy.

Some failure is down to mechanical failure (splitting etc) but it seems that most is due to user error. And guess what, kids are not the most proficient users.

So encouraging the kids to be ‘responsible’ by using condoms is, to say the least, a very questionable policy.

‘But, but,’ the condomaniacs will howl, ‘we must, because some are going to have sex anyway, and condoms certainly reduce the risks, even if they don’t completely negate them.’

That’s a bit like saying ‘some teenagers are going to get drunk and drive at high speeds, so in order to reduce the risks, we must take a non-judgemental approach and issue them all with crash helmets....’

Of course, a drunk teenager, driving recklessly but wearing a crash helmet is safer than one not wearing a crash helmet, but for some reason even the health and safety brigade haven’t gone down that path (yet...)

Because actually we know about the law off unintended consequences: and it is to that I will turn in my next post in this exciting series.

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