Magazine article Free Inquiry

Mexican Red Cross Opposes Condom Use

Magazine article Free Inquiry

Mexican Red Cross Opposes Condom Use

Article excerpt

An inhumane Red Cross? It seems like a contradiction in terms. Yet the head of the Mexican Red Cross has announced his opposition to the use of condoms for birth control and AIDS prevention and has halted the agency's fight against the disease, which is now threatening epidemic proportions in Mexico. This move is, of course, a radical departure from the policies of the International Red Cross.

At a recent press conference, Jose Barroso Chavez, director of the Mexican Red Cross for 12 years, explained his views and said that condoms have "a failure rate of up to 40% [in preventing disease], and the proof of this is the fact that every day there are more people infected." But in offering this figure, he misconstrued a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The study was done to determine the effectiveness of improperly used condoms. Actually, the CDC says that a great deal of research shows that properly used condoms have an effectiveness rate of 94% to 100% in preventing transmission of HIV/AIDS. The study that Barroso refers to actually concludes that there is a need for better education on how to correctly use condoms and that latex condoms were superior to other types in disease prevention.

Ironically, a Mexican Federal law, the Norma Oficial published November 22, 1993, states that condoms are approved for use in protecting against both fertilization and the transmission of sexual diseases and that ten international health organizations say that condom effectiveness is between 85% and 97%. …

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