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May 1, 1987

Sex in the Age of AIDS Calls for Common Sense and 'Condom Sense'

JAMA. 1987;257(17):2261-2266. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390170017004

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ANY MAYPOLE erected today ought to be covered with a condom. That's the conclusion one might well reach after talking with physicians and others concerned with the expression of sexuality in 1987. Sheathing the ancient fertility symbol would negate its raison d'être, but it would surely focus attention on the horrific truth that the male member now may convey the seeds of death as well as of life.

Getting people to recognize this fact and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and/or their partners from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)— foremost among them acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)—during coitus was the aim of a recent conference in Atlanta. The meeting was the first of its kind to be held in this country, according to its sponsors, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Social Health Association, and Family Health International.

Participants in the conference, titled "Condoms in the Prevention of Sexually