CDC Report Says Abstinence the Best Way to Prevent HPV Disease

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

CDC Report Says Abstinence the Best Way to Prevent HPV Disease

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 5, 2004

Washington, DC ( — The Centers for Disease Control has issued a new report saying that abstinence is the best way to prevent the transmission of the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV). The agncy also said the use of condoms is not as effective as abstinence.

"The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV, is to refrain from genital contact. The use of condoms should not be a substitute for routine screening with Pap tests to detect and prevent cervical cancer," the Georgia-based federal agency said.

Pro-life groups welcomed the news.

Gene Rudd, MD, an OB/GYN physician and the associate director of the Christian Medical Association, said, "It’s heartening to see the CDC correctly report the effectiveness of
abstaining from sex and the limitations of condom use in combating this widely spread sexually transmitted disease."

"Condoms simply are not foolproof, and the public needs to understand that," Rudd added. "The medical principle of informed consent requires that we provide the public with scientifically accurate information about sexual disease prevention strategies. The CDC appears to have done so in this case, and we applaud the candidness of this report."

The CDC report agrees.

"While a few studies on genital HPV and condom use showed a protective effect, most studies…did not show a protective effect," the report says. "The available scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend condoms as a primary prevention strategy for HPV."

President Bush has strongly supported abstinence education and his efforts to increase funding for it have drawn praise from pro-life advocates.

"Each year, about three million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them, or kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents," Bush has said. "In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks… Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases."

President Bush is proposing doubling spending on abstinence only programs from $135 million to over $270 million in his proposed FY 2005 budget.

"The bad news is that the latest available statistics show there are still over 850,000 teen pregnancies a year," says Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation. The "good news," Weyrich says, "We have a President who thinks that rate is unacceptable and he is willing to put his reputation on the line to fight the bad news."

And the risk Bush is taking is drawing further opposition from abortion advocates.

"President Bush’s misguided promise to double funding for abstinence-only education programs … will leave our youth tragically uninformed about how to prevent sexually transmitted infections and about contraceptive options, and their ignorance will have devastating consequences," Planned Parenthood in a press release.

"Abstinence-only programs have no proven record of success, yet this budget proposes to double federal funding," the pro-abortion group said.

Genital HPV infection is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV, and roughly 5.5 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.

Related web sites:
Centers for Disease Control –