Jump to content
John Salerno

Can HIV pass through condoms?

Recommended Posts

I was reading the article on Natural Family Planning on Wikipedia just now and I came across this sentence:

 

"In 2003 BBC's Panorama claimed that Vatican is intentionally spreading lies that HIV virus can pass through the membrane of the condom."

 

No other comments are made, so I'm a little confused. I had actually heard a long time ago that latex condoms have naturally occurring holes through which HIV *can* pass (since the purpose of condoms aren't necessarily to prevent disease, but to prevent pregnancy, since sperm *can't* pass through the holes). But given the above statement, I'm unclear now. Can anyone clarify please?

 

Thanks.

 

Edit: I found the transcript of the BBC program and here's a statement from it:

 

"The most authoritative recent report is by the US National Institute of Health which concluded: "In tact condoms are essentially impermeable to the smallest sexually transmitted virus, and that the consistent use of male condoms protects against HIV/AIDS transmission."

 

Assuming that's true, I can't believe I've thought otherwise for so long. I'm not even sure where I heard that anymore.

Edited by John Salerno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know the biggest problem with condoms (w.r.t. Preventing HIV or pregnancy) is breakage or slippage. But even so, even IF there were a error-rate (say 1/20) that seminal fluid could be transmitted, barring abstinence, condoms would still be the most effective way of preventing HIV. But condoms do NOT promote the spread of HIV, the do NOT increase the risk of pregnancy or any of these things which the Catholic church has so wonderfully lied about. The pope came to Africa a few years ago (specifically sub-saharan Africa) and actually counselled against condom use! In an area where you have over 20 million HIV sufferers, that is just blatantly immoral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found one article that showed that some condoms do in fact let through small amounts of virus, but the exposure is several magnitudes of order smaller than what would be experienced without a condom. So... use condoms.. no sense in playing russian roulette with extra bullets in the chamber.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9132983

 

full text

 

Background:: Because of the possible presence of small holes, the effectiveness of condoms as barriers to virus transmission is controversial.

 

Goals:: To determine the proportion of condoms that allow virus penetration and the amounts of virus that penetrate.

 

Study Design:: A sensitive, static test was used to evaluate different condom types as barriers to a small virus, including brands with or without lubrication and ones of different materials. The test included some physiologic‐based parameters and some parameters that exaggerated expected actual use conditions.

 

Results:: Under test conditions, 2.6% (12 of 470) of the latex condoms allowed some virus penetration; the median level of penetration was 7 × 10−4 ml. Lubricated condoms performed similarly to nonlubricated ones. Polyurethane condoms yielded results higher than but not statistically different from those for latex condoms.

 

Conclusions:: Few condoms allowed any virus penetration. The median amount of penetration for latex condoms when extrapolated to expected actual use conditions was 1 × 10−5 ml (volume of semen). Thus, even for the few condoms that do allow virus penetration, the typical level of exposure to semen would be several orders of magnitude lower than for no condom at all.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found one article that showed that some condoms do in fact let through small amounts of virus, but the exposure is several magnitudes of order smaller than what would be experienced without a condom. So... use condoms.. no sense in playing russian roulette with extra bullets in the chamber.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm..../pubmed/9132983

 

full text

 

Background:: Because of the possible presence of small holes, the effectiveness of condoms as barriers to virus transmission is controversial.

 

Goals:: To determine the proportion of condoms that allow virus penetration and the amounts of virus that penetrate.

 

Study Design:: A sensitive, static test was used to evaluate different condom types as barriers to a small virus, including brands with or without lubrication and ones of different materials. The test included some physiologic‐based parameters and some parameters that exaggerated expected actual use conditions.

 

Results:: Under test conditions, 2.6% (12 of 470) of the latex condoms allowed some virus penetration; the median level of penetration was 7 × 10−4 ml. Lubricated condoms performed similarly to nonlubricated ones. Polyurethane condoms yielded results higher than but not statistically different from those for latex condoms.

 

Conclusions:: Few condoms allowed any virus penetration. The median amount of penetration for latex condoms when extrapolated to expected actual use conditions was 1 × 10−5 ml (volume of semen). Thus, even for the few condoms that do allow virus penetration, the typical level of exposure to semen would be several orders of magnitude lower than for no condom at all.

 

 

 

But what about the point made that viruses are larger than electrons, or water molecules, or air molecules, and none of these things can escape from a condom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

they may not be able to penetrate through solid latex or polyurethane, but as the article pointed out there are sometimes manufacturing defects in condoms that could produce microscopic holes, but its still hard to say whether it is this that contributes to the small failure rate or if it is all just improper condom use and/or slippage, breakage, etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of these concerns have to be seen in the context of the fact that the transmission of AIDS in the developed world is extremely low. The transmission of AIDS to males in normal heterosexual intercourse in the West is close to zero.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

they may not be able to penetrate through solid latex or polyurethane, but as the article pointed out there are sometimes manufacturing defects in condoms that could produce microscopic holes, but its still hard to say whether it is this that contributes to the small failure rate or if it is all just improper condom use and/or slippage, breakage, etc

 

Well, I understand that manufacturing defects are a different story altogether. My original question was referring to the myth (?) that latex condoms have naturally occurring holes, i.e. that *all* condoms would have this issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"All of these concerns have to be seen in the context of the fact that the transmission of AIDS in the developed world is extremely low. "

 

How does the virus know it's in the developed world?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"All of these concerns have to be seen in the context of the fact that the transmission of AIDS in the developed world is extremely low. "

 

How does the virus know it's in the developed world?

I was watching a documentary on student loans and there was a middle-class girl saying that she knew she was taking on a lot of debt but that she wasn't worried about it because she had chosen a career field she loved and she believed everything would work out. I think this type of mentality affects people's behavior in numerous ways. The idea that you have a good future waiting for you if you can avoid messing it up can motivate people to be more careful, protect themselves against various risks, etc. When you feel like no matter what you do, something will destroy your life one way or another, I think people can more easily fall into an attitude of living for the moment regardless of the consequences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very interesting puzzle that concerned epidemiologists when the AIDS virus first appeared, since other similar STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea had shown no preference for targets in the developed vs. the undeveloped world. But the epidemiological data are quite clear: AIDS is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped areas but not in Europe or North America. Several reasons have been suggested. One is that the immune systems of people in the Third World are weaker, given their frequent exposure to parasites and bacterial infections, so they are less resistant to AIDS. This would also account for AIDS' more efficient spread through the Gay population everywhere, given certain Gay sexual practices which weaken the immune system. Another theory is that parasitic infections common in the Third World create patterns of micro-tunnels throughout the body, thus promoting the spread of the AIDS virus, especially out of the vaginal canal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marat:

 

One is that the immune systems of people in the Third World are weaker, given their frequent exposure to parasites and bacterial infections, so they are less resistant to AIDS.

 

Gay sexual practices which weaken the immune system.

 

Another theory is that parasitic infections common in the Third World create patterns of micro-tunnels throughout the body, thus promoting the spread of the AIDS virus, especially out of the vaginal canal.

 

Could you please document these three statements. I am not familiar with these concepts and would like to read up on the science. SM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very interesting puzzle that concerned epidemiologists when the AIDS virus first appeared, since other similar STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea had shown no preference for targets in the developed vs. the undeveloped world. But the epidemiological data are quite clear: AIDS is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped areas but not in Europe or North America. Several reasons have been suggested. One is that the immune systems of people in the Third World are weaker, given their frequent exposure to parasites and bacterial infections, so they are less resistant to AIDS. This would also account for AIDS' more efficient spread through the Gay population everywhere, given certain Gay sexual practices which weaken the immune system. Another theory is that parasitic infections common in the Third World create patterns of micro-tunnels throughout the body, thus promoting the spread of the AIDS virus, especially out of the vaginal canal.

'

Couldn't one of the factors that encourages the spread of AIDs in underdeveloped nations be simply that these countries are often economically highly volatile which causes frequent and relatively large-scale internal migration of people seeking work and essential living resources not common to more developed countries, so, the number of chance sexual encounters increases amongst the migrant population thus the 'window of opportunity' for infection across the general population is magnified...the migrant parts of a population are the vectors? Couple this with inadequate hygiene practices/resources and no physical barriers like condoms in widespread use, it seems to me, you've got all the ingredients for the proliferation of a pathogen. All the other sexual diseases are rife in these nations as well a cursory Google search reveals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No doubt there are confounding variables in trying to trace the relevant factors for the differential incidence of AIDS throughout the world: but this is almost always the case in epidemiology. But still it is quite striking that multiple sexual partners in the West does not seem to have anything like the same AIDS-incidence increasing effect as it does in Africa, nor does it have the same significance among men as it does among women. What the AIDS fear-mongers don't want you to know is that if you are a male in a developed country having sex with females from developed countries, your AIDS risk is insignificant. Biology is neither delicate nor politically correct, but causing micro-tears rather than receiving micro-tears seems to make a lot of difference to your risk.

 

A good data sheet on the evidence for the complex interaction between the great differences in AIDS incidence in the developed and underdeveloped world and its relation to parasitology, pre-existing immune deficiency, nutrition, and unclean sorts of homosexual sex is by Dr. Richard Bowan Pearce, "Parasites as Cofactors in AIDS" (1997).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you mean the Richard Bowman Pearce who writes drivel like this

http://notaids.com/en/parasites

 

Since SMF asked for science, I don't think you have answered his request.

Is there any scientific backup to your statements (rather than ill informed dangerous nonsense that denies the role of HIV in AIDS)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's Russian roulette:

 

Manufacturers "spot check" their condoms using a "water-leak" test. FDA inspectors do a similar test on sample condoms they take from warehouses. The condoms are filled with water and checked for leaks. An average of 996 of 1000 condoms must pass this test.

 

(Don't try the water-leak test on condoms you plan to use, because this kind of testing weakens condoms.)

 

Government testing can not guarantee that condoms will always prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. How well you are protected will also depend a great deal on which condoms you choose and how you store, handle and use them.

So, we're talking about a 1/250 failure rate out of the box, before considering misuse by the users.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But can anyone just address the simpler question of whether latex condoms have naturally occurring holes? The study cited above (from thedavidbjorn) seems like it was meant to investigate this, but the results don't necessarily suggest that the virus penetration was a result of naturally occurring holes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.