In response to some conservative groups' claims and assertions by the Catholic Church that HIV is so small that it can pass through latex condoms, the European Union last week released study data showing condoms are effective barriers against the virus. The European Commission-funded project, called "Assessment of Methods for Finding Holes in Condoms," evaluated latex condoms for water, air, and ion permeability and concluded that HIV cannot pass through condoms. Other multicenter studies conducted in Europe reached the same conclusions, including a study focusing on gay and straight couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is uninfected. Among study participants who used condoms for vaginal and anal sex, no HIV infections were recorded over a nearly two-year period.
"I rely on statements that are based on sound scientific evidence," said European research commissioner Philippe Busquin, "and we can demonstrate that condoms are the best way to prevent HIV infection. Statements not supported by sound scientific evidence are not plausible."