Archive for Saturday, January 8, 2005

Condom failure

January 8, 2005


To the editor:

I agree with Wes Crenshaw and Jenny Kane that teens need to think very seriously and get extensive and unbiased information before engaging in sex. And I appreciate seeing this important discussion in a family newspaper (Journal-World, Jan. 4).

It is doubly unfortunate therefore that Kane repeated this factual howler: "(Condoms) fail 10 percent of the time. That's one baby every 10 times you have sex." That assumes you get pregnant every time you have unprotected sex, which just ain't so.

A more nearly correct statement would be that a sexually active couple that uses condoms regularly for one year experiences pregnancy around 10 percent of the time. But even that is seriously misleading, partly because the available data are somewhat squishy, but more importantly because it lumps together careful and knowledgeable condom users with careless or uninformed users.

David Burress,


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