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Letters to the Editor: Publishing letter to the editor was irresponsible

Published: April 3, 2009
Section: Opinions


Dear Editor,

As a Brandeis student, I appreciate The Hoot’s commitment to publishing articles of all sides and viewpoints. However, I find your publishing of a Letter to the Editor entitled “Condoms not the answer to HIV in Africa” (Mar. 27) without annotation to be inexcusable. In the letter, the author claims “the HIV virus actually passes through condom materials.” Whatever the author’s views on uses of contraceptives including condoms, it is absolutely irresponsible of both the author and The Hoot’s editors to make and publish such a claim. There is a near scientific consensus that proper condom usage helps prevent the spread of HIV, and that latex material forms an impermeable barrier to this infectious agent. These claims are backed by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have studied latex condoms with scanning electron microscopy, and while this method had sufficient resolution to visualize HIV particles, its resolution was not powerful enough to find pores in the latex condom, signifying that the HIV virus must be larger than any pore in a condom.

Condom distribution is certainly not a magic bullet to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa and across the world, but it is profoundly incorrect of the author Ms. Morse-Karzen to make the claim that condoms “do not protect people.”

Condom usage in combination with other strategies does help prevent the spread of HIV. Regardless of the author’s opinions on contraceptives, abortion and her religion, her making and communicating such a claim is both irresponsible and unethical, and can have a life-altering effect on the lives of many. The author’s fear of an “abortionist” conspiracy does not justify disseminating falsehoods.

Nathaniel Lazar ’10