Republicans call for investigation into condom claims

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 25 2003 11:00 PM ET

Congressman Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and former congressman Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the current cochair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate claims by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that condom use can prevent human papillomavirus infections, The Washington Times reports. In separate letters to the acting principal deputy inspector general at HHS, the men say the claims that condom use can help prevent HPV violates a 2000 law aimed at providing accurate information about the sexually transmitted disease. Souder and Coburn claim that a recent federal study shows that condom use is ineffective at preventing HPV infection, which contradicts information on the CDC Web site claiming that condoms "can reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk for transmission to unifected partners." Coburn says the CDC's claims are false and are fueling the spread of HPV.

"You can have 100% condom use in this country, and you would still have HPV," he told the Times. An HHS spokesperson said Friday that an inspector had been assigned to investigate the matter. HPV is a common coinfection among HIV-positive men, with as many as 90% of HIV-positive gay men carrying the virus. HPV also has been linked with the majority of cervical cancer cases in women.