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April 11, 2011

The Condom

An affluent barangay in the Philippines recently passed a local ordinance requiring a prescription to be issued by a medical doctor for a person to purchase a male condom. This has been vigorously opposed by many locals saying no one has the right to tell them what to use as a method of family planning. The barangay (Ayala Alabang) is actually not the first to issue such a "restriction" when it comes to condom use. In Ireland for example, the country issued a similar law regulating the use of condoms to married couples only. I don't see anything wrong actually with the issuance of a prescription before purchasing a condom. I think it is even better that way so that by doing so the user is required to visit his doctor where he will get proper instructions on how to use the condom. After all, a condom, if not properly used, has also a 15% failure rate. And I think it is also fair since women go to their doctors to get a prescription to buy their oral contraceptive pills, then men should also be required to get a prescription before they purchase their condoms. If we use the same argument here with condoms, then why should we therefore limit drinking age and smoking age? After all, no one should have the right to tell us whether we can drink or smoke, right?

The condom has been there for ages. There are ongoing researches regarding the possibility of condom use in the primitive ages. Latest on condoms is actually what we call The Invisible Condom. It is a gel that hardens upon increased temperature after insertion into the vagina or rectum. In the lab, it has been shown to effectively block HIV and herpes simplex virus. The barrier breaks down and liquefies after several hours. As of 2005, the invisible condom is in the clinical trial phase, and has not yet been approved for use (US National Institute for Health, August 2005). In Switzerland, they are also manufacturing condoms that would fit 12-14 year old boys.

Interestingly, I have come upon studies concerning condom use that I find very intriguing. One study showed that condoms may increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and miscarriage by interfering with the process of paternal tolerance (Douglas, Gentle Persuasion, 2002).

Another study also mentioned about the presence of nitrosamines in condoms, which are potentially carcinogenic in humans, used to improve elasticity in latex condoms. A 2001 review stated that humans regularly receive 1,000 to 10,000 times greater nitrosamine exposure from food and tobacco than from condom use and concluded that the risk of cancer from condom use is very low. However, a 2004 study in Germany detected nitrosamines in 29 out of 32 condom brands tested, and concluded that exposure from condoms might exceed the exposure from food by 1.5- to 3-fold. (Migration of nitrosamines from rubber products—are balloons and condoms harmful to the human health, 2005)

Whatever one's stand in the use of condom, I personally believe this human invention is not going away. Perhaps, just like society's perspective, it can undergo some change. But the condom in itself will never go away.


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1 violent reactions. React Here.:

STEVENl said...

We should be careful about herpes!

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