The Safer Sex Illusion

John B. Shea
June 2002
Catholic Insight
Reproduced with Permission

For human beings, freedom of choice is a given. This is not to say that all of our actions or bodily functions are under voluntary control, but that we have both the intelligence to discriminate between options, and the capacity to select them. We do not always possess, however, the power to determine in advance what the outcome or consequences of our choices are going to be.

This sobering fact is relevant to one of the great challenges faced today by the medical profession; how to eradicate an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease which, in some countries, has reached the dimensions of a plague. Some idea of the scale of this plague is indicated by World Health Organization statistics. Throughout the world in 1998 there were 62 million cases of gonorrhea, 89 million cases of chlamydial infection, and 170 million cases of trichomoniasis. Today 36 million people suffer from HIV/AIDS and already, 22 million people have died of this disease. (Maclean's Magazine, July 9, 2001).

This epidemic is also a challenge for parents, educators, politicians, and above all, for those most at risk and most vulnerable, our youth. Adolescents face today, a barrage of stimuli, which, intentional or not, urge them to be sexually active. The domains of advertising, television, radio, music, the internet, and of ordinary social discourse sing the same siren song … indulge and gratify desire. This ambiance of seduction and temptation has inexorably led far too many to partake in promiscuous sexual activity and ultimately to experience sad lives of tragedy and broken dreams. It is of paramount importance to realize the dominant role played by sexual promiscuity among the various factors which cause the spread of sexually transmitted disease of all kinds.

The general public is under the impression that sexual activity, perceived as almost irresistibly attractive has only two disadvantages: unwanted pregnancy and disease. The public also believes that these two can be avoided; that there is such a thing as "safe sex", or to use the more recent term, "safer sex". But, there is the problem. As shall later be described in more detail, the risks of promiscuous sexual activity involve serious disease and death for many. There is no such thing as "safe" promiscuous sex, and the word "safer" creates the impression for many that "safer" is equivalent to safe. It also may, at the same time, absolve the counselor of legal, if not moral responsibility for the counsel given.

Why is promiscuous sex not safe? Simply because a person who has sexual intercourse with another whose sexual history is unknown is never sure whether that other person is infected. Indeed the person who chooses to indulge in promiscuous sexual activity with another may already be infected himself or herself and not be aware of that fact. This can occur, for example, when a woman is infected with papilloma virus or gonorrhea, or either a woman or a man is infected with chlamydia. These diseases are frequently asymptomatic. Promiscuous sexual intercourse exposes a person to all the diseases to which both parties have been exposed because of previous sexual encounters. It has been reported, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, on June 20, 2001, that the human papilloma virus (HPV) will infect 55% of sexually active young women within three years. The researchers also concluded that a young woman's chance of contracting HPV increases 1000% with every sexual partner. This disease kills 400 Canadian women a year according to Health Canada statistics. Dr. John Sellors, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and senior author of a similar study of Canadian women in the year 2000, has stated that there is no cure for viral infections such as HPV and that condoms have proven ineffective at preventing the spread of viral STDs.

Postponing sexual activity until marriage with an uninfected mate is the only realistic way for anyone to be certain of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. It also precludes the dangers of the use of contraceptive pills, and the temptation to have an abortion with its harmful consequences. It is in consideration of the foregoing facts that this short work is offered. Its purpose is to help those responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of the young to become more fully acquainted with the relevant medical facts.

Some Causes for Concern

These Health Canada statistics are quoted from a publication of Respect de la Vie, Outaouais, email

The Condom Illusion

Viral Sexually Transmitted Disease

The Health Canada report is quoted from a publication of Respect de la Vie, Outaouais, e-mail

The Dire Effects of STD's

Chlamydia Trachomatis Cervicitis:

Chlamydia is the most prevalent STD in Canada. Chlamydia Trachomatis causes about 50% of the urethral infections in men, not caused by gonorrhea, and most of the pus- forming infections of the cervix in women, not caused by gonorrhea. One in a hundred females between 15 and 24 is diagnosed as infected. Seventy percent of chlamydia cases in women are asymptomatic, and as a result, largely undiagnosed. Even more male cases may be missed. (Health Canada:

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Ectopic pregnancy
Chronic pelvic pain

Inflammation of testicles

Premature birth
Eye infection


Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in Canada. Seventy to eighty percent of women with gonorrhea have no clinical symptoms. (Health Canada:

Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tube)
Chronic pelvic pain

Infection of joints, heart valves and/or brain

Fetus and Newborn:
Meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain)
Arthritis (infection of the joints)

Hepatitis B: (HBV)

Women and Men:
Cirrhosis (chronic scarring of the liver)
Liver cancer

Fetus and Newborn:
Scarring of liver and liver cancer
90% of infants become chronic carriers of HBV

Genital Herpes: (HSV-2)



Those with an impaired immune system.

     The virus may spread to the brain, skin, joints, liver and lungs.

     An infected newborn may die. Infection may also cause congenital malformation of the fetus. Because a fetus may become infected during the birth process, an infected mother may have to be delivered by Cesarean section if she has active lesions of the cervix.


Vaginitis and vaginal discharge


Granuloma Inguinale:

Infection of genitals
May spread to groin, bones, joints and liver
Common only in tropical and subtropical regions

Proctitis: (inflammation of the lining of the rectum)


Especially in homosexual men, the infecting organism can be gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia trachomatis infection, herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus infection


Women and Men:
Infection of genitals and lymph nodes of the groin.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV):

Cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina

Cancer of the penis

Fetus and Newborn
Warts in throat which may require surgery


Syphilis increases transmission of HIV by six to sevenfold. (Health Canada:

Women and Men:
Serious damage to heart, arteries, brain, eyes, nervous system, bones and joints.

Fetus and Newborn:
Death soon after delivery … 25%
Active syphilis … 40 - 70%
Damage to heart, brain, eyes

Hepatitis A and B (H.A. and H.B):

viral hepatitis ranks fourth in the annual number of cases of communicable diseases in the U.S.A. The U.S. Center for Disease Control, in 1991 reported that in Denver, 29% of H.A. occurred in homosexual men, New York, 60%, San Francisco 50% and Toronto 40%. It is known that 1 - 2% of H.B. cases die of acute liver failure and that 0.5% develop chronic active hepatitis, which often leads to liver failure or cancer of the liver.

Human Immuno - deficiency Virus (HIV)

Women and Men:
Gay Bowel Syndrome:

The organisms which cause this syndrome are the amoeba, shigella, salmonella, giardia, campylobacter, cryptospiridium and cytomegalovirus. The symptoms are various combinations of vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), and dehydration. The amoeba can cause abscess of the liver, which could cause death.

Opportunistic disease-consequences of AIDS due to lowered resistance to infection and malignancy:

Dementia - This occurs early in HIV infection; it may be the earliest and at times the only evidence of it. HIV may enter the nervous system early in the course of the infection. Dementia is common in AIDS patients. Its symptoms include agitation, irritability, insomnia, difficulty in learning and recall, apathy, indolence, lack of emotional participation concerning one's own destiny and decreased verbal fluency.

For references pertaining to dementia, see the following,

Fetus and Newborn:
One third of babies born to HIV mothers become infected.
Of the children who are born carrying the virus, half will be dead by age 3, and 90% by age 5, unless properly diagnosed and treated.19

The Pill Illusion … Contraception

The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) does not always prevent conception, though many believe it does. There is strong evidence that oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) do not always prevent ovulation, and that, as a result, so-called 'break-through' ovulation sometimes occurs even though a woman is taking the pill in accordance with instructions. The pregnancy rates following break-through ovulation are often under estimated. A study accounting for under-reporting of elective abortions gave these pregnancy rates:

How often does break-through ovulation occur in women on OCPs?

For OCPs that contain both estrogen and progestin, studies show rates varying from 1.7% to 28.6%.28 For OCPs containing progestins only … 33% to 65%.29 Some researchers have calculated that the OCP, (of all kinds), directly causes between 1.53 and 4.15 million chemical abortions per year in the United States, up to two and a half the number of surgical abortions per year.30 It is openly admitted by the most ardent abortion supporters that the OCP and the IUD cause abortion. In his arguments before the Supreme Court of the U.S. in 1999, in the case of Webster versus Reproductive Health Services, Mr. Frank Susman, arguing for the pro-abortion side told Justice Anthony Scalia, that "the most common forms of what we generally in common parlance, call contraception today, act as abortifacients. They are correctly labeled as both." (The New York Times, 1989).

Only about 11% of all women who use the pill do so correctly, according to a 1989 study20. This is a major contributor to the number of 630,000 pregnancies per year among U.S. women who are on the pill, more than 80% of which occur among women 15 - 24 years old. Even when a woman is a compliant user (is in good health and uses the pill without error) the method effectiveness of the pill is 96.2% per year … that is, over 3% of women will become pregnant.21,22

The Illusion of the Intra-uterine Device (IUD) as 'Contraceptive'

Many believe that the IUD acts only as a contraceptive. Though its precise mode of action is not known, it appears probable that its prime function is to interfere with the implantation of the embryo in the lining membrane (endometrium) of the uterus. This action is abortifacient.23 The IUD causes a mild inflammatory reaction in the endometrium which not only interferes with implantation, but increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease 150%, and as a result increases the woman's chance of becoming infertile.24

The Illusion that the Pill Does Not Abort

The OCP does not always act as a contraceptive. All OCPs cause abortion some of the time. Some OCPs cause abortion most of the time. The low dose and the "mini-pill" frequently cause abortions.

The Pill - Mechanisms of Action

The mechanisms involved are:

The pituitary gland produces two hormones, FSA (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone). These stimulate the ovary to produce an egg each month … to ovulate. The ovary produces estradiol, a type of estrogen, and progesterone. OCPs are a combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. The pills "trick" the pituitary gland into producing less FSA and LH. This suppresses, but does not eliminate ovulation.25

The organs affected by the pill are:

Four Types of Contraceptive Pills

Implants and Injections

Implants and injections: there are long acting synthetic progestins. Depoprovera is injected intra-muscularly every three months, and is used world wide, despite the fact that it almost doubles the risk of breast cancer in women who take it for more than 2 years before the age of 25.31

Norplant consists of a series of Silastic (rubber like) strips filled with Levonorgestrel implanted under the skin in the upper arm, slowly releasing progestin over a 5 year period. Norplant allows break-through ovulation in over 44% of a woman's monthly cycles. In addition, a study in rabbits has shown that sperm freely reached the fallopian tubes, even when the rabbits were given high doses of synthetic progestin. The combination of a high rate of break-through ovulation and documented sperm migration to the fallopian tube (in animals) implies that the use of progestins such as Norplant and Depoprovera, allow a high rate of abortion, most likely higher than the rate with OCP use.32

Next Page: How the Pill Acts After Conception
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