“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Th 5:21, KJV).
“Sexually transmitted diseases are virtually 100 percent preventable with proper condom use” (The Consumers Union of the U.S., Inc.).
What the Bible “REALLY” says about safe sex, and what many people think the Bible says about safe sex are two different things.
Advocates of “monogamy only” advertise AIDS as God’s ultimate judgment on the sexually immoral. AIDS has become the sexual revolution’s worst nightmare¾the party pooper of party poopers. The pendulum has swung from “anything goes” to “the only safe sex is no sex.” The implication is that condoms aren’t all that reliable. Sexual freedom has become the second cousin of Russian Roulette. Although everyone contemplating multiple sex partners should be aware of health risks, let’s also be alert to unsubstantiated hype.
What does the Bible
“REALLY” say about safe sex?
We can easily summarize what the Bible says about safe sex with one word: Nothing! Nowhere does the Bible warn that God punishes sexual immorality with sexually transmitted diseases. Since contraceptives had not yet been invented, the Bible does not evaluate the reliability of condoms or other birth control devices. However, the Bible does instruct us to “Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good” (1Th 5:21, KJV).
Is it possible for non-monogamy to be totally responsible? Or, is the risk too dangerous? Let’s follow the biblical mandate by examining the facts, proving all things, and holding fast to that which is good.
Although Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul unequivocally disapproves of extramarital and premarital sex, he does so based solely on his understanding of biblical principles, not based upon the scare tactics of acquiring a disease. According to Sproul, because of the miracle of modern science and new antibiotics, the threat of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease is a very small risk, insufficient to act as a deterrent to premarital and extramarital sex. Sproul also says that because of the effectiveness of today’s birth control methods, frightening someone into abstinence because they might get pregnant is equally ineffective.
Sex and AIDS
Peter H. Duesberg, along with a group of scientists, stubbornly deny what the scientific community has long accepted¾that the HIV virus causes AIDS and that AIDS is a sexually transmittable disease. According to Duesberg and friends, AIDS in the industrialized world is mainly caused by the use of various recreational drugs and even anti-HIV drugs such as AZT. Duesberg has become a scientific outcast because of his renegade AIDS theories. Although Duesberg is considered a radical quack by many, his theories provide food for thought.
Dr. Duesberg is one of the world’s leading microbiologists, a pioneer in the discovery of the HIV family of viruses. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His works have been acclaimed by Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry, including Dr. Walter Gilbert and Kary B. Mullis, as well as Harvey Bialy, Science editor of Biotechnology. Yet Duesberg and friends have been unable to convince a single major medical authority and precious few doctors. As of March 19, 1999, Duesberg was suffering financial difficulties due to a lack of funding from the scientific community at large.
According to Duesberg, as of 1996, there were nearly 17 million HIV-positive people worldwide. Yet, the vast majority of them, over 94 percent, are perfectly healthy. Conversely, thousands of clinically diagnosed AIDS cases were not infected by HIV.
Although we should all be cautious to accept Duesberg’s claim that AIDS is not sexually transmittable, it is interesting that since 1981, there have been over fifteen thousand documented cases where the sex partner of someone HIV-positive did not contract AIDS. To cite a few examples, the late tennis star Arthur Ashe died of AIDS and has a surviving wife and daughter. After ten years of marriage, both the wife and the daughter had not acquired AIDS.
A second example is the long-term lover of movie star Rock Hudson. Again, he has no AIDS symptoms.
A third example is the husband of the late AIDS patient Elizabeth Glaser. He too is healthy and HIV-free, even though he was married to Glaser for 13 years and fathered 2 children by her.
To support Duesberg’s claim that drugs are the primary cause of AIDS, he quotes statistics that show the vast majority of AIDS victims are also drug addicts. Since 1981, ninety-four percent of all AIDS cases in American have been from risk groups that have used recreational drugs. About one-third of these were intravenous drug users and two-thirds were male homosexuals who practiced high-risk behavior by using oral recreational drugs and AZT.
Nearly all male homosexuals with AIDS are long-term users of oral drugs such as nitrate inhalants, ethylchloride inhalants, amphetamines, cocaine, and others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Independent Investigators. Thus, according to Duesberg, recreational drug use and AZT explain the restriction of AIDS to drug users.
Duesberg describes a child named Lindsey Nagel diagnosed as having AIDS. It wasn’t until after taking AZT that she started experiencing health problems, such as loss of appetite and muscle pains. The Nagels decided, against doctor’s orders, to stop giving Lindsey AZT. Like magic, Lindsey became healthy again and remains so as of this writing.
Speaking of magic, whatever happened to Magic Johnson? Suddenly his symptoms disappeared¾and so did all further news about his AIDS symptoms and treatment. Finally, Magic broke the silence by responding that he had been taking AZT for a while, but had stopped. The media did not report Magic‘s comment. Hmm. I guess there really was “no magic in AZT, and no AZT in Magic.” 
Since its beginning in 1981, viral AIDS should have long entered the general population, just like all authentic infectious diseases. The failure to leave specific risk groups in more than a decade discredits the virus hypothesis, according to Duesberg.
Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Sure, Duesberg probably made a few mistakes. But at least he did have the courage to stand up for what he believed in the face of tremendous opposition. Let’s let him finish his research. Truth, like cream, has a tendency to eventually rise to the top.
How effective are condoms?
Are condoms reliable? According to a report published in May of 1995 by the Consumers Union of the U.S., Incorporated, if a high-quality condom is used consistently and correctly, the odds of transmitting a disease are cut nearly to zero. The report says, “sexually transmitted diseases are virtually 100 percent preventable with proper condom use.” Quality latex condoms work so well in blocking germs that the FDA has allowed condom boxes to list all the diseases condoms help avert. Even though condoms may not be totally safe, studies prove that the failure rate of condoms is mainly attributed to their misuse and not to any inherent defects in the product itself. Misuse includes damage caused by fingernails, jewelry or unacceptable lubricants, as well as failure to use the condom before first genital contact, and slippage during withdrawal of the penis.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that condoms are extremely effective in preventing disease. One example was a study performed with a group of 246 Australian soldiers serving in Vietnam. Condoms were used consistently by 55 of them. None of those 55 contracted a disease. The remaining 191 soldiers did not always use a condom. And 35 percent became infected with a venereal disease.
Since many are concerned about the transmission of HIV, what are the odds of this virus penetrating a condom? First, if a high-quality latex condom is used consistently, there is a minimum chance of a hole occurring. Even under high elongations, condoms generally exhibit tensile strengths close to 30 megapascals (Mpa), which is at least as good as, and usually better than, thicker products made from the same polymer. It is difficult to see how such strength could be obtained if pores 0.5 micron in diameter were present in the unstretched films. A channel long enough for the HIV virus to pass through would need to be at least 60 microns long with a measurable width. Since condoms are essentially two layers of rubber, and since each layer is 30 to 40 microns thick, it is virtually impossible for the HIV virus to pass through both layers.
According to Herbert Peterson, chief of the women’s health and fertility branch of the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “If everyone used condoms correctly and consistently, we could break the back of the AIDS epidemic.” He cites a blockbuster study, a report from the European Study Group. The sex habits of some 250 uninfected monogamous men and women with HIV-positive partners were closely followed. Among the half who used condoms inconsistently, 10 percent of the previously uninfected partners acquired HIV. When condoms were used all the time, however, HIV was never passed on to the healthy partner¾even though the average couple had sex about 120 times over the course of the study.
So even if the HIV virus does cause AIDS, which is unproven, condoms provide a very effective barrier to HIV, as well as other viruses.
A major part of the problem is a lack of adequate sex education. If we were all educated to use high-quality condoms consistently and properly, there would be a dramatic decrease in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition to proper condom use, evidence also indicates that a healthy, drug-free person is less susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases than an unhealthy drug addict.
Think what our society would be like if everyone were examined on a frequent basis, between once a week to once a month. Imagine a drug-free society where everyone is educated to the proper use of condoms and everyone uses condoms properly during every act of vaginal intercourse. Yes, just imagine a society where everyone examines one’s partner for visible signs of disease prior to intercourse. Think how society could curtail the spread of STDs if everyone washed their genital areas before and after each act of intercourse. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a society where there is no drug abuse? If such a place did exist, would sexually transmitted diseases be a thing of the past?
Believe it or not, such a place does exist… in Nevada!!
Disease in legal brothels is virtually nonexistent
If the cause of sexually transmitted diseases is having sex with numerous partners, as some claim, and if the greater the number of partners the greater the chances of disease, then you’d think the prostitutes in Nevada’s legal brothels would be dropping like flies. But the facts say otherwise.
In these legal brothels, laws have been passed to regulate the health and safety of the clientele. Women are examined on a frequent basis, between once a week to once a month. They are well educated on proper condom use. The law requires them to use condoms during every act of vaginal intercourse. They examine their customers for visible signs of disease prior to intercourse, and they wash all genital areas, before and after intercourse. According to Nevada health officials, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among legal prostitutes is virtually non-existent.
A study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of condoms among prostitutes. Forty-one licensed prostitutes in three Nevada brothels were evaluated. Used condoms were collected to verify breakage and slippage rates. Condoms were used for every act of vaginal intercourse with a brothel client during the study period, as well as in the previous year. Throughout the study, condoms were used in 353 acts of vaginal intercourse with clients. No condoms broke, and none fell off the penis during intercourse. Only twice did a condom completely fall off during withdrawal. Twelve times during intercourse and 15 times during withdrawal, condoms slipped down the penis but did not fall off. These findings suggest that with practice, proper condom use is not difficult.
The sex life of Wilt Chamberlain
If multiple sex partners is the main cause of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, one has to wonder about the late great Wilt Chamberlain. According to his autobiography, Chamberlain had sex with close to “twenty thousand different ladies.” Yet as far as we known, Chamberlain never acquired a sexually transmitted disease.
Consider Solomon. Here was a man with a thousand wives. The Bible says nothing about Solomon acquiring any diseases.
If God uses STDs to punish men for having multiple sex partners, then Solomon and Chamberlain would have been perfect targets to make examples out of.
What causes STDs?
Now for the 50 million-dollar question: “What causes STDs?” A typical response is, “STDs are caused by having sex with someone who is already infected.” But where did they get it? Again, the response is, “Well, they got infected by having intercourse with someone who already had the disease.” But wait a minute. If everyone who ever acquired an STD acquired it by having sex with someone else who acquired it from someone else, then who did the first person to ever get an STD acquire it from¾Adam? Wherever STDs came from, they could not have come from two people having sex. They must have originated somewhere else.
Experts are baffled by the origin of STDs. Although we may only be able to indulge in educated speculation, one logical explanation is that STDs originated with bestiality. Bestiality was such a serious offence in the Old Testament that both the offender and the animal were executed (Lev 20:16-17). Perhaps part of God’s rationale was to prevent disease. The theory that AIDS is somehow linked to an HIV strain found in African monkeys has been around for a long time. God designed us to have sex with our own kind (Ge 1:24).
Condoms do NOT necessarily lead to teen sex
Another myth is that the distribution of condoms in schools promotes promiscuity. But again, the facts say otherwise. Teens who have access to condoms at school are no more sexually active than those who don’t. Thousands of students were surveyed in schools ranging from Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle. Students were asked about their sexual behavior and beliefs before the start of a program in which condoms were freely distributed in classrooms. Afterwards, there was no significant increase in sexual activity among the students, although condom use among those already sexually active did increase. Since numerous studies have proven that condoms are highly effective in preventing disease, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to encourage condom distribution in schools?
Myth verses fact regarding sex education
Many oppose sex education in schools because they believe it leads to an increase of sexual behavior in adolescents. However, according to a report from the World Health Organization, there is…
…no support for the contention that sex education encourages sexual experimentation or increased activity. If any effect is observed, almost without exception, it is in the direction of postponed initiation of sexual intercourse and/or effective use of contraceptives.
Successful programs include:Reducing the Risk and a program by Schinke and Gilchrest, based on social learning theory. The success of these programs proves that proper sex education can promote the effective use of contraceptives.
A similar myth claims sex education leads to an earlier loss of virginity. This assertion misinterprets the 1986 Louis Harris and Associates Poll “American Teens Speak.” The poll asked teens ages 12 to 17 if they had any sex education, and if they were virgins. The poll showed no causal relationship between sex education and intercourse. The distortion of the poll’s findings arose because the authors of the poll did not have a control for age. Older teens are both more likely to have had sex education and to have had intercourse.
Another myth is that abstinence-only programs¾such as Sex Respect, and those published by Teen-Aid, Inc.¾have lowered pregnancy rates. Evaluation studies of abstinence-only programs have been of poor quality. Consequently, there is no reliable evidence that abstinence-only programs can change a student’s knowledge, attitude, or behavior. Teen-Aid, Inc. claims its curricula lowered pregnancy rates in San Marcos, California. However, San Diego County, of which San Marcos is a part, does not tabulate pregnancy data. The so-called “miracle at San Marcos” was loosely based on reports by students to a school counselor, not on scientific research. In fact, the birth rate for school-age mothers in the city, which is actually smaller than the school district, was 34 pregnancies, higher than the 20 total pregnancies reported by the school district.
How effective is birth control?
Q: What do you call married couples who use contraceptives? A: Parents.
Or so the joke goes. The idea is that contraceptives are so ineffective that we shouldn’t even bother to use them. Again, the facts say otherwise.
The two most popular methods of birth control are the condom and the pill. Although neither is 100% effective, they’re both very close. Furthermore, the quality and effectiveness of both products is constantly improving. Although it’s difficult to estimate the effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy, researchers estimate that if couples used condoms consistently and correctly, the condom’s failure rate would plummet to 2 percent or less. One way to further reduce the failure rate¾to an estimated one-tenth of a percent, if used consistently¾is to use condoms in combination with a vaginal spermicide.
Is the use of contraceptives ethical?
Even if contraceptives become 100 percent effective, some would oppose them solely on moral grounds. Some claim that married couples are sinning if they use birth control. It seems ironic that many of the same people who oppose abortion also oppose contraceptives. If everyone who ever had an abortion had always used a high quality contraceptive properly and consistently, the abortion rate would be reduced dramatically.
People who want children should have them. However, the assertion that today’s Christians are under a biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply is based on flimsy arguments. Paul explains the advantages of remaining single (1Co 7:32-38). His conclusion is that even though it is good to marry, it is better to remain single. Why would Paul have said this if he wanted to urge Christians to have as many babies as possible? Many no longer desire children. If God wanted them to have children, then why didn’t He give them that desire?
What does the Bible “REALLY” say about safe sex? Nowhere in the Bible are STDs listed as a punishment for sexual sins. The Bible says nothing about condoms or other contraceptives.
The final verdict on what causes AIDS may not be reached for a long time. Duesberg’s theories may or may not stand the test of time. Certainly, once we know the truth about what causes AIDS and other STDs, those actions should be avoided. In the meantime, we must exercise discernment.
Although “safe sex” may be an oxymoron, no activity is totally safe. Nevertheless, consistent and proper use of condoms, along with regular check ups and discriminate choosing of sex partners, does result in sex that is very, very safe.
 Sproul, R.C. Sex and the Single Christian:“The Virginity Question” (sound recording). Ligonier Tape Series. Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 1996.
 Associated Press Information Services. AIDS Researcher Is Ostracized.
 Duesberg, Peter H. Inventing the AIDS Virus. Washington, DC: Regenery Publishing, Inc., 1996, pp. 207-8.
 Ibid., p. 356.
 Duesberg, Peter H. Infectious AIDS: Have We Been Mislead? Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1995, p. 517.
 Inventing the AIDS Virus, p. 416.
 Ibid., p. 417.
 Ibid., p. 299-307.
 Ibid., p. 340-1.
 Ibid., p. 416.
 ¾ “How reliable are condoms?” Consumer Reports, May, 1995, p. 321.
 Albert, Alexa E. and David Lee Warner. “Condom use among female commercial sex workers in Nevada’s legal brothels.” American Journal of Public Health, Volume 85, Issue 11, November, 1995, p. 1514, 7p, 3 charts.
 Chamberlain, Wilt. A View from Above. New York, NY: Villard Books, 1991, p. 251.
 Manning, Anita. “Condom access shows no effect on teen sex rate.” USA Today. April 14, 1998, LIFE Section, p. 1D.
 Grunseit, A. and S. Kippax. Effects of Sex Education on Young People’s Sexual Behavior. Geneva: World Health Organization, p. 10, 1993.
 ¾ “How reliable are condoms?” Consumer Reports, May, 1995, pp. 320-321.