posted in slate today:
somehow, unnamed members of congress managed to get $200k out of the cdc's budget earmarked for a bunch of conservative wackos with the vaguely professional-sounding name medical institute for sexual health (like physician's committee for responsible medicine, who i will not link to because they are a pack of assholes) to use for purposes of "sex education for medical students." 2 major problems here: a)c'mon, people, by the time they hit med school, i think they know what goes where, and disease transmission is already adequately covered by the regular medical curriculum, and b)HOW THE HELL DOES ANYONE GET TO DICTATE WHERE THE CDC GETS TO AWARD IT'S GRANTING DOLLARS?? $200k doesn't sound like a hell of a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's certainly enough to run a large, well-established lab for a year, or several first-time scientists for their first year of independent research. instead, this cash gets funneled into the ideology of people who like to preach abstinence-only sex ed classes.
basically, the story goes that a once-upon-a-time study didn't have enough data to concretely, statistically prove that condoms have an impact on preventing some diseases (gonorrhea & HIV were proven prevented at that point). the nutsos then wanted to require condoms to be labelled to indicate that they **didn't** prevent that long list of other diseases, and still want to this day to strongly stress in sex ed classes that condoms are ineffective in preventing most std's. the study didn't prove condoms are useless, it just wasn't targeting anything other than those 2 specific diseases, and was therefore inconclusive on the others. sonce then, plenty of more recent research has provided the proof on condom's efficacy (seriously, isn't this really a complete no-brainer? if it's a biological barrier, things can't move past, ok?), but the religious/rights like to tell people the only thing that works is abstinence.
more than being merely a matter of religious disagreement, the point that makes this a serious tragedy is where the ideology fails to teach people how to realistically protect themselves at the same time it tells everyone that condoms just don't work. a guy who was disinclined to wear one in the first place now tells his partner that a trained instructor/authority figure/teacher/expert told him they're useless anyway, so why bother? *poof* unplanned pregnancy and std rates go up, and the right extremists get to still blame it all on "loose morals" and "erosion of family values" when a good chunk of it was their bad in the first place.