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Analysis: Condoms
for HIV prevention do not encourage sex

Analysis: Condoms
for HIV prevention do not encourage sex

Analysis debunks right-wing claims that condom access promotes sexual activity.

A federally funded analysis of 174 studies on HIV prevention work debunks a long-held belief by conservatives that condom education and distribution programs encourage sexual activity, reports. The analysis found the exact opposite--that providing information about condoms in addition to motivational and behavioral outreach actually reduced the frequency of sexual activity more than just motivational and behavioral programs.

Condom information also did not encourage earlier sex among youth, lead to more frequent sexual activity, or lead to more sexual partners among those already sexually active, according to the analysis, performed by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University.

The analysis, published in the March edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and examined data from 174 studies that individually chronicled the impact of 206 separate HIV prevention programs from January 1989 to May 2003. More than 115,000 people participated in the prevention programs analyzed.

Right-wing members of the Bush administration, Congress, and abstinence-only sex education programs have long claimed that providing young people with information about condoms--or making condoms available to them--encourages them to have sex. But this analysis "should provide reassurance that increased numbers of sexual partners, larger numbers of partners, and more likely sexual activity are not iatrogenic [unintentional] effects of providing condoms or training in condom use skills and interpersonal negotiation skills," the researchers wrote. (The Advocate)

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