If you think it’s ridiculous, that makes you right. Forty-one percent of PUC students responding to a survey asking whether condoms protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in a PUC freshmen-level class this quarter said no.
The fact that so many students in a freshmen-level class held such erroneous notions of reproductive health should not be all that surprising. PUC draws a substantial portion of our student body from small, parochial high schools that sometimes fail to teach their students basic reproductive health care information.
Granted, this is only one freshmen-level class, so this might not necessarily be reflective of the entire PUC population.
But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. So allow us set the record straight on condoms.
According to an article in The New York Times, “Condoms are 98 percent effective for preventing pregnancy if used from start to finish every time you have sex.”
Heather Boonstra, an official with the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health issues, agrees. She is quoted telling NBC News that although “they do not provide 100 percent protection for people who are sexually active they are the best and the only method we have for preventing these diseases.”
But everyone wants a second opinion, and what better than an authorative answer to your question texted to you? So we texted “53632,” Planned Parenthood’s free and confidential reproductive health question service, and asked how effective condoms were. Their answer:
“The only method that is able to prevent both pregnancy, HIV and most STDs with high effectiveness is a condom. It can be used for oral, vaginal or anal intercourse. A perfect user is someone that uses a condom every time and correctly, and it is effective in preventing pregnancy 98 percent of the time. With condom use, a typical user is someone who uses a condom some of the time and not always correctly, and it is effective in preventing pregnancy 82 percent of the time.”
So there you go: if you’re not going to stay abstinent, condoms are a fundamental method of protection that you should use. Better yet, they are available for purchase at the College Market or free at Planned Parenthood in Napa.
Abstinence is safest, but when it fails, use effective protection.
Chloe Robles-Evano contributed to this article.