No magic bulletBMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39479.510220.3A (Published 07 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:292
- Miguel A Martinez-Gonzalez, professor and chair
The data from Alberta reported by Genuis (massive promotion of condoms followed by upsurges in gonorrhoea and chlamydia) are mirrored in Spain.1
Spain, together with Greece, stands out as the European country with the highest levels of condom use among young people, with 90% of sexually active young people reporting using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.2 Nevertheless, the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are increasing year after year, despite more than a decade of intensive official educational campaigns transmitting the message to young people that condoms and only condoms are the magic bullets to prevent all STIs and unintended pregnancies.3
There is no room for dissent, no consideration for the accrual of persuasive scientific evidence strongly supporting that other behaviour changes, such as partner reduction, should be promoted as a priority.4 The ideologies, prejudices, stigma, and social agenda of some governing officials seem to precede the scientific evidence when building public health policies. The escalating figures for youth pregnancy and abortion in Spain5 also demand criticism of the apparently sacred “condoms and only condoms” dogma.
Competing interests: None declared.