Do condoms prevent all sexually transmitted diseases?
Most of the learned population feel completely safe in their sexual relations when they use condoms. Most of the data available on internet and elsewhere claim that condoms are an effective protection against HIV/AIDS. However, the under-informed masses are unaware of the fact that condoms do not provide protection agains a number of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) like herpes, HPV, syphilis, pubic lice, or scabies. They spread through skin to skin genital contact. Even if no fluid exchange occurs, these STIs may spread easily and can produce a life threatening condition, no where less threatening than the much hyped HIV, which make the immune system weak to the fatal extent.
HIV weakens the immune system by lowering the number of T-Lymphocytes. The normal range of T- Lymphocyte is 500 to 1500 which drops below 200 due to HIV infection. This makes the immune system weak enough for any other pathogen to attack the body and cause secondary infection. Usually, the patient dies of secondary infection caused by the weakened immune system which make the body vulnerable to secondary attacks. These are called opportunist infections, some of which are mentioned as under:
• Candidiasis of bronchi, trachea, esophagus, or lungs
• Invasive cervical cancer
• Cytomegalovirus disease
• Encephalopathy, HIV-related
• Herpes simplex: chronic ulcer(s) (greater than 1 month’s duration); or bronchitis, pneumonitis, or esophagitis
• Isosporiasis, chronic intestinal (greater than 1 month’s duration)
• Kaposi’s sarcoma
• Lymphoma, multiple forms
• Mycobacterium avium complex
• Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
• Pneumonia, recurrent
• Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
• Salmonella septicemia, recurrent
• Toxoplasmosis of brain
• Wasting syndrome due to HIV
Being a viral infection, antibiotics are of no use to prevent the infection of HIV. HIV Vaccine, although confirmed at research stage is still not available in open market for masses.
Sexually transmitted infections like herpes, HPV, syphilis, pubic lice, or scabies are not prevented with the use of condoms. So, this is a big myth among the masses that condoms prevent all sexually transmitted disease. Moreover, these STIs may lie dormant in the body of the carrier person without any symptoms or physical manifestation. However, they may transmit the infection to someone who comes in sexual contact. So, its very difficult to find conclusively that a person is infected or not.
However, there are certain misconceptions too about sexually transmitted infections. They do not transmit through the use of same utensils, toilet or towels. However, the less severe infection like pubic lice or scabies may transmit by sharing clothes. However, they may be treated by the use of simple medicine or creams.
Monogamy is the safest way to prevent any sexually transmitted infection and condoms are not an alternative which could be chosen for life.