Physicians Groups Charge US Government with Condom Cover-up

By Austin Ruse | August 17, 2001

     (NEW YORK – C-FAM) Groups representing over 10,000 doctors have accused the Centers for Disease Control of covering up the government's own research that shows that condoms do not protect individuals from most sexually transmitted diseases. In a statement issued by the Physicians Consortium, retired Congressman Tom Coburn, M.D., Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. and the Catholic Medical Association, these groups allege that ".the CDC has systematically hidden and misrepresented vital medical information regarding the ineffectiveness of condoms to prevent the transmission of STDs. The CDC's refusal to acknowledge clinical research has contributed to the massive STD epidemic

     The charges stem from the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) release of the "Workshop Summary" on condom effectiveness, a paper written in June 2000 by HHS, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to the physicians groups, this government research found no clinical proof that condoms offer protection from most STDs, such as herpes, syphilis and chylamydia.

     Instead of reporting these findings to the public, the physicians groups claim that the CDC attempted to conceal the paper and to delay its release. The CDC also demanded revisions to the Workshop Summary in order to create ".unwarranted confusion and misinformation to what otherwise is a clear-cut repudiation of condom effectiveness."

     The paper's most serious findings involve the STD Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The paper's authors state that "There was no epidemiological evidence that condom use reduced the risk of HPV infection." According to Dr. Richard Klausner, the Director of the National Cancer Institute, HPV causes over 90 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer. Every year, more than 200,000 women, including 5000 American women, die of cervical cancer.

     The federal government knew of this HPV risk even earlier. A 1996 NIH "Consensus Statement" on Cervical Cancer reports that "The data on the use of barrier methods of contraception to prevent the spread of HPV.does not support this as an effective method of prevention…" The CDC has apparently ignored this information for at least five years.

     The physicians groups are calling for the resignation of the Director of the CDC, Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan. In light of these findings, some conservative critics raise other questions: is the "safe sex" message truly based upon the science of disease-prevention? Since cervical cancer claims the lives of more American women than AIDS, can the promotion of condom use be considered pro-women? Finally, should the US, as well as the UN, fund condom-distribution worldwide, especially in countries that lack the basic medical services to diagnose and treat HPV before it results in cervical cancer? As the 1996 Consensus Statement concludes, "Worldwide, cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer as the most common malignancy in both incidence and mortality. More than 471,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, predominantly among the economically disadvantaged." The UN is the largest distributor of condoms in the world.