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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Condoms and HIV/AIDs risk

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Author Topic: Condoms and HIV/AIDs risk
Lucky1402
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Alright, I'm not very educated on this topic and I couldn't find any other info on it, so I'm hoping that someone else has insight on this. I was watching a program on television a few months ago and it was talking about how, when latex is made, there are usually little microscopic imperfections such as holes in it. Not BIG holes, but little microscopic ones that shouldn't even make a difference. The program said something like this: basically, the holes aren't big enough for sperm to pass through, but they ARE large enough for the HIV virus to pass through.

Now, I know that condoms are NOT always fool proof and that there can be a risk of transmitting HIV even if you wear a condom, but the way they put it, MANY condoms have these imperfections, therefore there is always a risk of catching or transmitting HIV and AIDs even when you do wear a condom. Does this have any truth to it? It really scared me, because it made it sound like many condoms don't protect against the virus.

Can someone please clear this up for me? I was a bit wary when I first heard it, but after I thought about it, it really started to bother me- my science teacher even talked about it in class one day. Thanks guys! Sorry if anything I said was wrong- correct me, so that I can get to the bottom of this theory.

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*^Lucky^*
Come check out what's goin on in Lucky's mind!

"At one point we decided to fight fire with fire. Well...basically...your house burned even faster."


Posts: 492 | From: Michigan | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bobolink
Activist
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You might want to read this:
http://www.fhi.org/en/fp/fpother/conom/conmon10.html

This describes in dry engineering language the methods of condom testing. Some tests are applied to every condom and some to batch samples. In either case, the test looks for holes that would pass a molecule of water. Since the water molecule is smaller than the HIV molecule it is as close to impossible as maufacturing standards permit for any STD to penetrate a latex condom.

Any real danger is in a condom breaking, not in latex porosity.

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The most exciting phrase in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "Hmmm... that's funny...."

- Isaac Asimov

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 05-16-2001).]


Posts: 3442 | From: Stirling, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
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The "fact" that condoms don't protect from HIV is regularly spread by (most of the time conservative christian) groups who do not favour teen (or other non-marital) sexuality.
It is NOT true that condoms don't protect from HIV, other STDs and pregnancy. The "Holes in condoms" story is a HOAX.

Check this info from the CDC:

quote:

There have been recent reports of naturally occurring holes in latex that are big enough for HIV to pass through. Why does CDC still recommend condoms to prevent HIV infection?

The reports of holes in latex appear to have originated from an article in Science magazine about latex gloves, not condoms. Holes as large as 5 microns in diameter were evidently identified in latex used in gloves. However, gloves are only dipped in latex once when they are made, condoms are dipped in latex twice. Gloves are allowed to fail the water leak test at a rate of 40 per thousand, while condoms are only allowed 4 failures of the water leak test per thousand condoms before the entire batch of condoms is rejected. While holes large enough to allow HIV to pass through have been found in natural membrane condoms, latex condoms do not allow HIV to pass through the condom unless the condom has been damaged or torn. Used properly, latex condoms are effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection.


Also check out the CDC's info on Condoms:
"Condoms and Their Use in Preventing HIV Infection and Other STDs".

In addition, you cannot "contract" AIDS. AIDS (Acquired Immunodefiecency Syndrome) is the syndrome caused by the HI-Virus. HIV is not AIDS, even though the majority of people who contract HIV will develop AIDS later on.

AIDS isn't ONE specific disease, someone has AIDS, as soon as (s)he has had a certain number of opportunistic infections (which can be bacterial, viral, parasital or other) which are typical for people with an HIV weakened Immune system (such as pneumocystis pneumonia carinii, Karposi Sarkoma, certain forms of parasites, etc.).
Because AIDS is not ONE disease, you can't contract it. You can contract the virus that causes AIDS (HIV), but not AIDS itself.

The CDC has a bunch of fact sheets on HIV/AIDS, you can find the full list right here:
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts.htm


Hope this helps a little.


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"We must become the change we want to see."
Mahatma Gandhi

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 05-16-2001).]


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lucky1402
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Whew, thank you! That puts my mind at ease. I didn't think that it could be possible, but the fact that my teacher brought it up in class kinda freaked me out.

At least I won't be worried about it anymore.

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*^Lucky^*
Come check out what's goin on in Lucky's mind!

"At one point we decided to fight fire with fire. Well...basically...your house burned even faster."


Posts: 492 | From: Michigan | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Help your teacher out by suggesting he or she check reliable sources before announcing this stuff, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, or even by calling a qualified doctor or gynecologist.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
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yeah, ppl are getting confused!

the condoms with the holes in them are made of lambskin.

latex, however, is a polymer that stacks up on itself quite nicely, so the only holes in latex are only a few Angstroms (it's a chemist's unit of measurement, and it's really small and used for atomic particles) wide.

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The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly moving to a state of greater entropy s, therefore, delta s is always greater than zero.


Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
Scarleteen Volunteer
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I came across some good if very basic HIV/AIDS info at the Gay Men's Health Crisis website today, so if anyone needs some, check out:

"What is AIDS - The Basics"


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1896

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Came across some more excellent AIDS/HIV ressources:
http://www.thebody.com/basics.html
http://www.thebody.com/whatis/children.html#teenprev


Just thought I'd share


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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