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Lawmaker says new
data show condom labels should not be changed

Lawmaker says new
data show condom labels should not be changed

Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, says data from a new study show that condoms do protect against sexual transmission of human papillomavirus, and as such, Republican-led efforts to get condom labels changed to warn of HPV risks are unnecessary, reports "CQ HealthBeat," a congressional newsletter. Waxman wrote to Food and Drug Administration commissioner Lester Crawford to inform him that a study presented last month at the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research conference in Amsterdam shows that condom use significantly reduces HPV risks among women. Of 200 female university students studied for 22 months, those who used condoms for each sexual encounter were 70% less likely to contract HPV than women who never or rarely used them. HPV has been linked with the development of cervical cancer in women and can cause genital and anal warts in both men and women.

"The new study, combined with previous evidence, seriously undermines the call by some conservative organizations and lawmakers for labeling that warns consumers that condoms do not protect against HPV," Waxman wrote to Crawford.

Republicans dismissed Waxman's claims, saying there is ample evidence to show that condoms do not offer significant protection against HPV or certain other STDs. "This is a debate Congressman Waxman lost five years ago when President Clinton signed a bill into law requiring the FDA to come up with a medically accurate condom label," John Hart, a spokesperson for Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, told "CQ HealthBeat." Coburn, a pro-life, anti-condom senator, is leading the charge to get condom labels changed to say they don't protect against some STDs. Coburn had delayed Crawford's appointment as FDA chief because of concerns that the FDA wasn't moving fast enough to change condom labels.

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