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Social Issues: Letters

From: Ross Olson <ross{at}>
Sent: Monday, July 8, 2013
To: Editor Star Tribune (opinion{at}
Subject: Condom Conundrum

The effectiveness of condoms for prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is grossly
overrated. (See “Global Initiative Tackles Condom Conundrum” 7/8/13). The real conundrum is how a
trained reporter can uncritically buy the glib reassurances.

Even the quoted sales pitch betrays the underlying philosophy – if increasing the use of condoms from
5% to 10% will “stem the tide,” then they are only describing minor statistical decreases. They are not
considering individual safety which is clearly tied to changes in sexual behavior – either one partner for
life or none.

Years ago at a convention, hundreds of sex educators were asked the question, “If you found the sex
partner of your dreams was HIV positive, would you depend on a condom?” After a very long pause,
only one hand tentatively went up.

Too bad that our jaded society does not even understand the mathematics of morality – and persists in
repeating the condom fantasy.

Ross S. Olson MD

Send comments to me at ross{at}

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