CDC's Leader Urged to Resign

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein

A group of physicians yesterday called for the resignation of the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because the agency has failed to tell "the whole truth" about condoms.

"The CDC has known about the ineffectiveness of condoms for at least a decade," the Physicians Consortium said in a letter to President Bush released yesterday.

Yet the CDC has chosen to rely on "unproven theoretical models and unrealistic laboratory testing" to maintain its claims that condoms can protect against most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), said Rep. Dave Weldon, Florida Republican and former Rep. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, both practicing physicians who support the consortium's efforts.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now shown that "condoms offer extremely limited benefit to our patients," the doctors said.

They asked the White House to replace Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, CDC director, with "fresh and bold leadership." They further asked that condom labels and all publicly funded health materials and Web sites be rewritten to reflect "the clinical science on condom effectiveness."

CDC officials declined to discuss calls for Dr. Koplan's resignation but said in a statement that the NIH study "doesn't say condoms are ineffective - it says the evidence is fully sufficient only for HIV and gonorrhea, and for other STDs, more research is needed."

According to the Physicians Consortium, which is based in Harrisburg, Pa., and claims to have 2,000 members, the NIH study found that condoms offer 85 percent risk reduction for HIV/AIDS, and "some risk reduction" for gonorrhea for men, but not for women. …