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A medical doctor reacts to "The Little Black Book"

Statement by John R. Diggs, MD regarding "The Little Black Book" by the AIDS Action Committee which was given to children at Brookline High School on April 30, 2005.

Dr. Diggs has written and lectured extensively on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases.

May 15, 2005

Re: "The Little Black Book"

To whom it may concern:

Clearly this material, which appears to have the endorsement of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, is barely fit for consumption by swine, much less the youth of the Commonwealth.

The brochure says "No HIV" as if condoms have been shown to stop HIV. At best, there is an 85% reduction in transmission among stable couples engaged in intercourse. There is no such ballpark number for use in anal sodomy, heterosexual or homosexual.

Most data on condom use and STD prevention is based on intercourse, not sodomy. Sodomy is clearly riskier.

The brochure is patently wrong -- Mass Department of Health, where are you? -- when it states that other STDs are dramatically diminished by condom use. The National Institutes of Health reviewed widespread data which showed that there is an absence of convincing epidemiological data that condoms prevent the transmission of herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, human papilloma virus, and chanchroid.

The rates of anal cancer caused by HPV infection are very high and can be fatal. Condoms have not been shown to significantly reduce this risk.

The standard condom is not built to withstand the increased friction associated with anal sodomy. Even with intercourse the slippage and breakage rates approach 10%.

Lastly, the brochure mentions abstaining from risky activity with tongue in cheek ("But how much fun is that?"). They promote "fun" over safety.

It is alarming, disheartening, and medically unethical that this information be distributed to anyone. That it is distributed at taxpayer expense to vulnerable and confused youth should awaken every citizen and legislator to immediately defund this organization, and the attorney general to pursue prosecution for endangering minors on a grand scale.

John R. Diggs, Jr., MD
South Hadley, Massachusetts