Okay, the doctor in me has to say this. Condoms are not completely effective in preventing AIDS. Yes, they decrease the likelihood, but they do not reduce the risk to zero. This is from the Center for Disease Control Web Site:
The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.
For persons whose sexual behaviors place them at risk for STDs, correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD. Furthermore, condoms lubricated with spermicides are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of HIV and other STDs. In order to achieve the protective effect of condoms, they must be used correctly and consistently. Incorrect use can lead to condom slippage or breakage, thus diminishing their protective effect. Inconsistent use, e.g., failure to use condoms with every act of intercourse, can lead to STD transmission because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse.
To be fair, the web site does go on to say
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Of course, it also doesn’t define what “highly effective” means. Is this 99.9 % or 51%? The only thing we can be sure of is condoms are not 100% effective in preventing the transmission of AIDS.
I have never understood the preoccupation with getting Vatican approval for condom use to prevent AIDS. The activities which spread AIDS are non-monogamous heterosexual sex, homosexual sex and IV drug abuse. All of these activities are viewed as immoral by the Church. Is it really reasonable to believe that someone will refrain from using a condom because the Church thinks it is immoral? The Church’s opinion hasn’t mattered when they are engaging in sinful sexual activity. Why would the Church’s view on condoms be more influential than its view on sex? It is silly to expect the Church to tell us how to sin “safely”.
The argument for condoms to prevent AIDS once again tries to divorce sexual activity from the Catholic view of sexuality. It assumes that we are slaves to our sexual urges. Fortunately, the Church gives us more credit than that. Perhaps these condom proponents missed reading Deus Caritas Est. Condoms aren’t needed when Eros is sanctified by Agape.