Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Dr A. Soorian Seremban

Malaysia: Polyurethane condoms are safer

ALLOW me to comment on the interesting article, "Condoms don't protect 100pc against AIDS" (NST, Aug 9).

The writer's quote, "Condoms have holes 50 times larger than HIV" (S.I. McMillen, MD, David E. Stern, MD, 'None of These Diseases') does not hold true anymore. Recently, polyurethane condoms, as distinct from latex condoms, have been introduced into the market. Polyurethane condoms are made from plastic. They are thinner than latex but cost a great deal more. Being thin, they conduct body heat better and are supposed to give you as close a feel to the real experience.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US says: "Laboratory testing has shown that particles even as small as sperm and viruses like HIV cannot pass through this polyurethane material." The other advantages of polyurethane material are that it is hypoallergenic and can be kept longer without buckling under fluctuations of temperature.

Whilst we agree with the writer that "sex is sacred" and should be confined ideally to post-marriage, we cannot escape the fact that we are imperfect earthlings in an imperfect world. AIDS is a stark reality.

In the universities that I studied in the UK and Australia, large open boxes of condoms were left at the entrance for the needy.

We have to pay a price for our rapid modernisation. "Abstinence from sex" and "keeping sex sacred" are ideals that we respect. Even if condoms reduce HIV infection by 69 per cent, it is still a big plus! So prevention is better than cure.

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Created: August 26, 2001
Last modified: August 26, 2001
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