True Love Waits is Safe
True Love Waits does not promote condom use, and that’s a good thing. Though True Love Waits is often regarded, in the main stream media, as a religious “pie in the sky” movement, it is evidence based. In light of the failure rate of condoms and the well documented failure of the safe sex movement, True Love Waits is a viable and truly safe alternative to “safe sex”.
A fundamental tenet of medicine is adherence to scientific fact and experiential evidence to develop treatments and programs that maximize and sustain health. That evidence shows that effective population control of non-HIV sexually transmitted infections requires more than condom focused approaches.
Condoms cannot be the definitive answer to sexually transmitted infection because they provide insufficient protection against transmission of many common diseases. “Skin to skin” and “skin to sore” infections such as human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, syphilis, lymphomagranuloma venereum, or chancroid often transmit despite barrier protection. Although condoms prevent contact between the skin of the penis and the vaginal mucosa, intercourse generally involves skin to skin contact in the external genital area; the condom gives limited protection against pathogens found throughout the external genital tract. Stated more simply, condoms are not effective against skin based diseases, especially HPV. True Love Waits prevents HPV.
As barriers only protect the area they cover, clinical and sub clinical lesions on the mons pubis or on the woman’s vulva or the male scrotum, for example, are not covered and readily transmit despite condom use. Rather than remaining contained within the vagina, some communicable pathogens are routinely encountered on the vulva and perineum of women. The most common sexually transmitted pathogens, human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus, are often dispersed on infected genitalia and transmit through skin to skin contact. As the sequelae of these common infections may include various cancers, chronic sexual dysfunction, as well as vertical transmission, contracting such organisms is not inconsequential. True Love Waits prevents the consequences and results of sexually transmitted disease.
The main problem with condoms is that average people, particularly aroused youth, do not use them consistently, regardless of knowledge or education. Although condoms offer some protection against discharge related infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, protection is usually compromised by compliance issues, incorrect use, or mechanical failure. There is no ‘incorrect use” of True Love Waits.
In theory, condoms offer some protection against sexually transmitted infection; practically, however, epidemiological research repeatedly shows that condom familiarity and risk awareness do not result in sustained safer sex choices in real life. Only a minority of people engaging in risky sexual behavior use condoms consistently. A recent study found that less than 8% of couples discordant for herpes used condoms for each sex act, despite ongoing counselling.7 Even among stable, adult couples who were HIV discordant and received extensive ongoing counseling about HIV risk and condom use, only 48.4% used condoms consistently. Irregular use of condoms will not provide sustained protection against sexually transmitted infection. True Love Waits used all the time trumps condoms used some of the time.
The relentless rise of sexually transmitted infection in the face of unprecedented education about and promotion of condoms is testament to the lack of success of this approach. In numerous large studies, concerted efforts to promote use of condoms has consistently failed to control rates of sexually transmitted infection—even in countries with advanced sex education programs such as Canada, Sweden, and Switzerland. The ongoing assertion that condoms are “the” answer to this escalating pandemic reminds me of Einstein’s words, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” True Love Waits is logical.
Promoting condoms as ‘the’ answer disregards the complex nature of human sexuality and fails to tackle the underlying social and emotional needs of young people, who are often trapped in high risk sexual behavior as a consequence of difficult life circumstances. Innumerable adolescents saturated with condom focused sex education fail to have their fundamental human needs met and end up contracting sexually transmitted infections. For some, risky sex is one component of self destructive behavior that includes substance misuse and delinquency. True love Waits addresses the whole teen.
Political correctness and ideological interests need to be usurped by sound science. After repeated failure, the altar of safe sex needs to be dismantled in favor of credible public health policy. Teens should be taught that the True Love Waits Approach is a scientifically valid method for elimination disease and that it is much safer than “safe sex”.