WASHINGTON, July 20, 2001 ( – A 30-page report to be released today by the National Institutes of Health concludes that science cannot yet confirm condoms block the spread of most sexually transmitted diseases.

The U.S. report was written at a June workshop of 28 experts at the request of Congress. Tom Coburn, a physician who requested the report in June 2000 when he was a Republican House member from Oklahoma said, “For decades, the federal government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote an unsubstantiated claim that promiscuity can be safe . We all now know for a fact that that is a lie.” Coburn, the author of a law that requires all federal agencies to provide “medically accurate information regarding the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of condoms,” has written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson calling on him to enforce that law. “This report means that when condom use is discussed it is no longer medically accurate—or legal for the CDC—to refer to sex as ‘safe’ or ‘protected,’ ” he said.

J. Thomas Fitch, a Texas doctor who served on the panel said, “As a physician I always want to focus on what’s best for my patient . I would want abstinence until a marriage – – anything less than that and some patients are going to get hurt.”

For the complete study see the NIH website at:

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