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NIH Spends $400K To Figure Out Why Men Don't Like Condoms 844

Posted by samzenpus
from the as-obvious-as-the-rubber-nose-on-your-face dept.
The National Institutes of Health has given $423,500 to researchers at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute to figure out why men don't like to wear condoms. The institute will also study why men have trouble using condoms and investigate "penile erection and sensitivity during condom application." "The project aims to understand the relationship between condom application and loss of erections and decreased sensation, including the role of condom skills and performance anxiety, and to find new ways to improve condom use among those who experience such problems," reads the abstract from Drs. Erick Janssen and Stephanie Sanders, both of the Kinsey Institute.

*

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NIH Spends $400K To Figure Out Why Men Don't Like Condoms

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:02PM (#28430799)

    It's because all men secretly want to pay child support.

  • Here it is for 5c (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:02PM (#28430813)

    For men with smaller or chopped foreskins, condoms interfere with sexual pleasure and frankly, when I'm in bed with a beautiful naked girl, the last thing I need is for a cock sock. Pretty naked girl overrides sanity, to the point where if the condom gets in the way, the logical answer is to rip it off and go without.

    Slashdot, news for nerds. Now bringing you, sex for geeks.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:50PM (#28431669)

      As a circumcised guy, it's more or less completely impossible for me to get off when using a condom. Sex feels vaguely warm, and that's about it. Not only that, but after a while of trying to get off and failing, my penis becomes so desensitized that I can't even get off through masturbation after I give up at sex. And this is using ultra thin condoms, even the kimono ones.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:55PM (#28431715)

      A public service announcement for all citizens of the US of A: stop mutilating your children's cocks.

      Seriously, what is the matter with you nutjobs? The idea that circumcision promotes cock health is long since disproven. Put the knife down. Step away from the cock. Thank you.

      • by Ironica (124657) <pixelNO@SPAMboondock.org> on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:15PM (#28431967) Journal

        Fortunately, at least half the population has gotten the message, and there are some hospitals (like UCSD) where you can't get newborns circumcised at all.

        I mean, if my sons want to be circumcised one day, that's up to them. I'll even pay for it. they can get general anesthesia and take pain relievers while they're recovering. I'm not worried about them having a 0.5% increased chance of contracting STDs until they're at LEAST 12, though, so I saw no reason to have them surgically altered at birth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Quothz (683368)

          The idea that circumcision promotes cock health is long since disproven.

          You're mistaken. Here's a 1999 article [sciencedaily.com] on the subject, with some related links. Aside from the finding that circumcising heterosexual men reduces the risk of HIV, I'm not aware of any recent development. Circumcision remains medically slightly beneficial, but only slightly. Whether that's worth the loss of sensation... I dunno.

          Fortunately, at least half the population has gotten the message, and there are some hospitals (like UCSD) where you can't get newborns circumcised at all.

          You are also mistaken. UCSD delays circumcision but does it at the parent's request, as is the case with all other public hospitals I'm aware of. No hospital in America or Europe, pub

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            They might not prevent someone from circumcising an infant, but a growing number of surgeons won't do it themselves. They consider it a cosmetic procedure, not to be done on someone without their consent.

          • by 4D6963 (933028) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:14AM (#28435355)

            Aside from the finding that circumcising heterosexual men reduces the risk of HIV

            In another study (sorry can't find the link) they found that if you remove the entire penis, then risks of HIV infection drop even more dramatically!

            I say, let's emasculate babies at birth!

          • by fbjon (692006) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:14AM (#28435357) Homepage Journal

            Circumcision remains medically slightly beneficial, but only slightly.

            No, it's not "slightly medically beneficial", that's rationalization. No medical organization that I know of advocates circumcision for any reason other than the actual medical reasons, i.e. too much foreskin or some other problem. Circumcision is not a substitute for using a condom.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The #1 reason for American doctors PUSHING circumcision is that they get YOU to pay extra.

        #2 is that Americans generally don't even question it.

      • Re:Here it is for 5c (Score:5, Informative)

        by Manip (656104) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:44PM (#28432351)

        Disproven? Seems scientific double-blind studies disagree with you. [cdc.gov]

        To quote: "Male circumcision has been associated with a lower risk for HIV infection in international observational studies and in three randomized controlled clinical trials."

        • by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:06PM (#28432623)
          I don't care what the studies say; Getting your partner tested for STDs before having sex with them doesn't require removing a piece of your own body and is even more effective at preventing the spread of STDs.

          Logic sucks, doesn't it?
          • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:32AM (#28436719) Journal
            If you are recently infected with HIV, it takes a number of days before current tests can detect that. This is called the window period, the minimum is about 12 days.

            Apparently you can still infect others during that window period, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darren_James

            Whether Darren got it from Roxx or the other way round, allegedly both had tests done before.

            If you want to use logic, monogamy works pretty well in preventing the spread of STDs while still allowing the reproduction of the species. ;)
        • by registrar (1220876) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:24PM (#28432841)
          Um. Do you know what 'double blind' means? [mind wanders...]
        • by Thaelon (250687) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:43PM (#28433079)

          I'm highly skeptical considering circumcision has been around longer than we've known that HIV existed.

          Sounds to me like a justification, not a proof.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lucat (814182)

          Why don't you chop off your whole penis then? If by just removing the foreskin you reduce the risk of HIV, following your reasoning, it would be good to remove the whole penis which should lower the chances of getting HIV almost to zero.

          I find this kind of argument pretty much hilarious and so it would be if there wasn't people who would take it seriously and damage in a non-repairable way the penises of their sons. This kind of choice is one you just cannot revert and you are simply depriving THEIR choice

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pinckney (1098477)

          I concede that the aforementioned benefit exists, but still think circumcising infants is unnecessary surgery. If the individual in question cares for the decreased risk, they can make the decision themselves to go in and get circumcised when they are old enough to give consent to such a medical procedure..

          We wouldn't let parents give their children breast implants without the input of their children, would we? Do we allow parents to give their children tattoos? (I'm actually afraid of the answer to that).

      • Re:Here it is for 5c (Score:5, Informative)

        by twostix (1277166) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:53PM (#28432461)

        Well it would seem you're very very wrong...

        Male Circumcision Reduces Risk of Genital Herpes and HPV Infection, but not Syphilis [urotoday.com]

        That's the problem with science, it's just so hard to use it to make cheap political attacks. One day you're right with science on your side, the next day your so very very ignorant.

    • Women need to help (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StCredZero (169093)

      Pretty naked girl overrides sanity

      The savvy ones can use that power to order a guy to do anything. If they can keep you wondering, they can get you to agree to use one. The pretty ones with good self esteem also realize that they have other choices if you don't want to cooperate.

  • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:03PM (#28430817)
    This man already knows the answer [comedycentral.com]. (It's only 1 minute 22 seconds, so watch it)
  • Perhaps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arizwebfoot (1228544) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:04PM (#28430831)

    Maybe because it feels like you're trying to mate with a garden hose.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      So what else am I supposed to mate with? Socks are much harder to clean.
    • Re:Perhaps (Score:5, Interesting)

      by yali (209015) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:33PM (#28432211)

      The "obvious" answer that everybody is mentioning is that condoms reduce sensitivity. However, it is a fact that some men use condoms consistently, some men use them some times and not others, and some men avoid them whenever possible. "It feels like a garden hose" is a vague and general statement about condoms that offers little useful information about the nature of those differences. Something else must be going on. Are some men using condoms wrong? Are some men overestimating the reduction in sensitivity, perhaps because of preconceptions? Are some men underestimating the risks associated with unprotected sex?

      "Wasted tax money" is a red herring designed to give people an excuse to titter and dismiss this research without thinking it through. The obvious applied goal of this research would be to get more men to use condoms when having potentially risky sex. If you can identify the relevant factors (between men, between their partners, between situations) you might be able to increase condom usage. That has the potential to reduce STI and HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies. The real problem with this research is that it threatens to suggest something other than "abstinence until marriage and then one opposite-sex partner for life" as a potential model for a safe and satisfying sex life.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No. We aren't. I used a condom for three years when I first got married. After stop using the things, the sensation doubled.

      • Re:Perhaps (Score:4, Funny)

        by Xtravar (725372) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:12PM (#28432705) Homepage Journal

        The "obvious" answer that everybody is mentioning is that condoms reduce sensitivity. However, it is a fact that some men use condoms consistently, some men use them some times and not others, and some men avoid them whenever possible. "It feels like a garden hose" is a vague and general statement about condoms that offers little useful information about the nature of those differences. Something else must be going on.

        I will tell you exactly what that something else is. It's all in the head (figuratively, the big one).
        Most people, including men, want what they can't have. They want girl A when they're with girl B and vis versa. They think of a blowjob while they're having sex and sex while they're receiving a blowjob. They want to have a steady girlfriend who performs great in bed, but they get turned on by the thought of cheating on her. What you can't have is exactly what you want..
        You can't have condomless sex, so it becomes more desirable. Start having condomless sex, and you want to have sex with a condom.
        Of course most men don't really have a problem getting off no matter what, so this is mostly moot.

  • Because.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mortiss (812218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:04PM (#28430841)

    Because it feels like picking your nose while wearing a latex glove....?

    I will take that $400k now, thanks.

  • by jlechem (613317) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:05PM (#28430851) Homepage Journal
    I for one will volunteer heartily for this *ahem* study.
  • by syousef (465911) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:07PM (#28430877) Journal

    They smell bad, they distract from the spontenaity of the moment, they decrease sensitivity, they're never handy at the moment you want them, they're disgusting to take off, they're awkward to dispose of.

    Despite that they're a good trade when weighed against the possibility of 18 years of child support, or your penis turning green and falling off.

    • by Elitist_Phoenix (808424) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:33PM (#28431359)

      The cause of and solution to all of life's problems... alcohol!
      Smell - Keep drinking
      Spontaneity - If you and her are sufficiently boosed, no biggy... hell even feel free to miss the hole a couple of times.
      Sensitivity - If shes boosed, means you can pound harder.
      Can't find one? - Douche her with it later (really sorry about this one)
      Disgusting to take off and dispose of? - Drink more and then you'll be playing the awesome game of seeing how many you can get to stick to the hotel ceiling!
      Stds - Either drench if it 95% straight afterwards and if that didn't work start drinking to forget about the AIDS.

      Then for later on in life or after the mistake:
      Children - Drink more it'll numb the pain.

      This Post was sponsored by Duff beer... Ohh yeah!!

    • They smell bad,

      A lot of Durex's higher end stuff doesn't smell at all.

      they distract from the spontenaity of the moment,

      If you're partner is willing, you can make it a part of the moment. No loss.

      they decrease sensitivity,

      While this is true, the good, thin and reliable latex condoms don't mitigate it by that much. From what I've heard, polyurethane condoms are an excellent alternative with CRAZY sensitivity, but it's a bit risky considering that its effectiveness is not as "guaranteed" as latex condoms.

      they're never handy at the moment you want them,

      Ever trying putting it in your wallet or a cool place? If you're girlfriend's a long-term, have you considered leaving a set at her place?

      they're disgusting to take off,

      Subjective.

      they're awkward to dispose of.

      Also subjective.

      Despite that they're a good trade when weighed against the possibility of 18 years of child support, or your penis turning green and falling off.

      Exactly. It's all subjective.

      • by syousef (465911) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:44PM (#28433089) Journal

        You can counter each point until you go blue, but the fact remains that most people find condoms unpleasant. People aren't idiots. If condoms were hassle free people would see the benefits and use them. As it is they see a lot of drawbacks as well, and for some it downright spoils sex, which is why they take risks.

        A lot of Durex's higher end stuff doesn't smell at all.

        I've yet to come across a condom that doesn't smell. By the way how high end is high end? How much am I expected to pay per orgasm?

        If you're partner is willing, you can make it a part of the moment. No loss.

        If your partner is trying to hold her nose from the smell, it's part of the moment alright - the moment that puts you off proceeding.

        While this is true, the good, thin and reliable latex condoms don't mitigate it by that much. From what I've heard, polyurethane condoms are an excellent alternative with CRAZY sensitivity, but it's a bit risky considering that its effectiveness is not as "guaranteed" as latex condoms.

        You still have something in between you and your partner. Anyone who says that the sensitivity does not decrease using a condom is lying (and possibly hasn't ever had sex). It's a question of how much sensitivity is reduced, and whether or not that reduction is a good thing. (It may be that reducing sensitivity can help prolong the act)

        Ever trying putting it in your wallet or a cool place? If you're girlfriend's a long-term, have you considered leaving a set at her place?

        Didn't they teach you never to put a condom in your wallet in sex ed class? Guaranteed way to damage it.

        Having them somewhere convenient helps to some degree but you still have to get out the packet, get out the condom, unwrap it and put it on. Sometimes that extra minute can kill the mood.

        Exactly. It's all subjective.

        Hate to break it to you but sex is like food. There's no accounting for taste. It's all subjective just about sums up sex in general. However it's clear that many people find condoms off-putting.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:52PM (#28432453)

      They smell bad, they distract from the spontenaity of the moment, they decrease sensitivity, they're never handy at the moment you want them, they're disgusting to take off, they're awkward to dispose of.

      That's no way to talk about women. Maybe that's your problem.

  • it can make your dick go limp

    its the same as being in a sexually arousing situation and suddenly being asked to fill out form 1040A and pay your taxes right now

    (with apologies to all of the IRS fetishists)

  • by TopSpin (753) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:08PM (#28430907) Journal

    Stimulus....package

    Too easy. (not hard?)

    STOP NOW!

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:10PM (#28430945) Journal

    Can you really call it "making love" if you have to put on plastic gloves like a freakin' subway sandwich artist? Really intimate...

  • by Gerafix (1028986) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:11PM (#28430949)
    Another issue, and one might say more important, is that there are so few options for men for birth control. Let's see, we have... condoms or sterilization. Great. One isn't reliable and the other can have serious side effects. How about we put that money into researching new and improved methods that have fewer and less severe side effects? Personally I would absolutely take hormonal treatments if the side effects were reasonable. It drives me crazy that as a society we are complacent with half our population not having a reliable and effective means for preventing unwanted pregnancy. Better yet things like RISUG would be absolutely wonderful, yet they don't get researched in western bureaucracy because it wouldn't be profitable enough than having people constantly paying for condoms or hormones. The injustice that has befallen us males is absolutely cause for a revolution in how we conduct health care in our society.
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:11PM (#28430953)
    If it's to study "why men don't like condoms", as it is being widely reported, then yes, the study is a waste of money. The reason is obvious to anybody that's ever used one.

    However, if the study is "how can we FIX what men don't like about condoms", then the study becomes very important, and might benefit society immensely. If a condom could be constructed that didn't impede feeling at all, there would be huge benefits, a great reduction in unwanted pregnancies.

    Also, if they made one that felt BETTER, we could eliminate women altogether.
    • by daid303 (843777) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:16PM (#28431041)

      Also, if they made one that felt BETTER, we could eliminate women altogether.

      You sir, are lining up for a darwin award.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FleaPlus (6935)

      However, if the study is "how can we FIX what men don't like about condoms", then the study becomes very important, and might benefit society immensely.

      From reading the actual research proposal abstract [nih.gov], yes, the goal of the research is determining what sorts of interventions will help encourage proper condom use:

      Grant Number: 1R21HD060447-01

      Project Title: Barriers to Correct Condom Use

      PI Information: Name Email Title
      JANSSEN, ERICK (Contact) ejanssen@indiana.edu PROFESSOR
      SANDERS, STEPHANIE A.

      Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Sexually transmitted infections (STI), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), pose significant health risks. About half of the new HIV infections in the US are among people under age 25 years with the majority infected through sexual behavior. About one in three new diagnoses with HIV/AIDS are attributed to heterosexual transmission. Men who have sex with women play a major role in HIV transmission to women who can also pass it on to offspring. Consistent and correct use of condoms can be a highly effective method of preventing the transmission of HIV and many STIs. Yet, studies show that problems with condom use are common and that these problems pose a barrier to consistent and complete condom use. This project aims to advance our understanding of, among other factors, the role of cognitive and affective processes and condom application skills in explaining problems with condom use in young, heterosexual adult men. A multi-method approach - consisting of two studies and involving questionnaires, observational, and psychophysiological methods - will be used in conjunction with a skill-based intervention. The knowledge gained from the proposed research can be used to inform the development of innovative, more effective, and targeted intervention and education strategies tailored to the needs of individuals who have trouble using condoms effectively. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Sexually transmitted infections (STI), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), pose significant health risks. Consistent and correct use of condoms can be a highly effective method of preventing the transmission of HIV and many STIs, yet studies show that problems with condom use are common. This project is one of the first to examine under controlled conditions the role of cognitive and affective factors and condom skills in explaining condom use problems in young, heterosexual adult men.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:14PM (#28431007)
    >>"a project government watchdogs say is a nearly-half-a-million-dollar waste of taxpayer money"

    the lifetime cost of treating an HIV-positive person exceeds $400,000 and can run as high as $648,000

    (http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid19334.asp)

    So, if only TWO PEOPLE on government health care (Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans or Prisoners) DON'T get AIDS as a result of this study, then it saved us money.

    I'd say that's a pretty good investment.

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:15PM (#28431017)

    Condoms are the biggest con around. You have to buy them in a three pack, you use one to test for fit, then you notice they have a use-by date only four years away!!

  • DUH! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:16PM (#28431049)

    Because bareback is the way mother nature intended and it feels a hell of allot better. My first girlfriend at first insisted on using condoms each time and I had no problem with that. Then one night right in the heat of the moment my rubber broke while putting it on. She pretty much just said to hell with it and we did it with no condom. At that point we liked the feeling so much better that we stopped using condoms and I just pulled out every time. After a scare she decided to go on birth control which increased the fun as I could now finish the job without worrying about being a father. She put on some weight (like 7 pounds) and that was enough for her to quit the pill. We went out for three years and contraception was only used for a total of about 6 months of that with no pregnancy. Not too bad. Although after her I always use rubbers after learning a friend got his girlfriend pregnant even though he pulled out.

    So its a big fucking no duh as to why men don't want to use rubbers. I still wish I could be that naive and uncaring but I have to be smart.

    • Re:DUH! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:44PM (#28433095)

      PULL OUT!?
      are you retarded or did you go to a private school?

      Do they not teach you kids that you can squeeze out juices prior to finishing, for the purpose of lubrication?
      Good grief. Well, good for you and your girlfriend.

      I got my wife pregnant while using spermicide, so that just goes to show that even with protection you can end up with what the mother nature intended for you.
      (And also that my little spermies are unstoppable!!!)

      • Re:DUH! (Score:5, Informative)

        by pi_rules (123171) on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:04PM (#28433319)

        You know, before you call somebody retarded you should check your facts.

        Spermicide [wikipedia.org] failure rate perfect use: 18%
        Spermicide failure rate for typical use: 29%

        Pulling out [wikipedia.org] failure rate for pefect use: 4%
        Pulling out failure rate for typical use: 15-28%.

        So, under typical usage they're about equal. However, if you're good at pulling out you'll be the pants off spermicide.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday June 22, 2009 @07:33PM (#28431383)

    I knew when I saw this news item that it would turn out to be dishonest. There is one very obvious reason why men don't like to wear condoms ("it doesn't feel as good...duh"). So I suspected immediately that this isn't actually what the study is about, and it's just a matter of a politician or lobbyist phrasing it this way to try to score a cheap shot at the expense of the public welfare. Because, of course, there is a huge public benefit to condoms: The reduce unwanted pregnancies, which often end up imposing a substantial financial and social burden on the public. And they reduce the spread of diseases that also end up costing the public money, not to mention placing those dear to us in peril--sometimes mortal peril.

    And while men don't much like condoms, there are many reasons for them to want to use them--to protect themselves against disease, to protect themselves against unwanted financial obligations, and even out of consideration for their partner's well-being.

    So any change that would shift that balance a bit to encourage correct usage of condoms, even by a small amount, could provide a huge public benefit.

    But of course, there are always going to be some selfish people who don't care about protecting other people's health, or reducing the financial burden on the public from diseases and unwanted pregnancies. All they see is a chance to score a benefit for themselves or their own cause--and if it ultimately at the expense of the public, well, that's not their problem.

  • by B5_geek (638928) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:00PM (#28431777)

    I discovered that housepaint is made from latex. Condoms are made from latex.

    Now I keep a can of Sears Weather-beater next to my bed.

  • by mauthbaux (652274) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:03PM (#28431809) Homepage

    from Drs. Erick Janssen and Stephanie Sanders, both of the Kinsey Institute.

    Erick: Hey Steph, I'll give you $100,000.00 if you sleep with me a few times.
    Stephanie: How many times is a few?
    Erick: Until we reach statistical significance.
    Steph: Cash?
    Erick: Sure.

    Two weeks later, Erick pockets the other 300 Grand.

  • by GabriellaKat (748072) on Monday June 22, 2009 @08:05PM (#28431841)
    A lot of women don't like for men to wear them also. And it doesn't matter what flavor they come in.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Monday June 22, 2009 @09:02PM (#28432567)

    ... and the study mentioned in the article makes perfect sense. The article is propaganda that intentionally misunderstands what the study is about in order to stir up their readership.

    In one of our studies of (mostly queer) sexually active teenagers. One of the key things we look at is condom use knowledge and condom errors. Most people know that they should use a condom if they're having sex, but quite a large swath of the population doesn't know how to *properly* use them and what they do and do not protect against. Some people are perfectly willing to use condoms, but they get frustrated because they're using them wrong, and so the condoms break or come off, and they stop using them out of frustration.

    One measure we give is we have 20 different "steps" for using a condom properly, and they're out of order, and some are not real steps. Out of ~250 teenagers, most of whom have taken sex ed, been exposed to safer sex info all their lives, only 6 got that exercise 100% correct (all real steps in proper order, all fake steps removed), and only 42 got all the real steps in the correct order (but kept some of the fake steps). The kids have been taught, but retention isn't so hot - we're coming up with better ways to teach this.

    Another measure we have is taking an inventory of experiences with recent condom use, and most of our participants report some level of difficulty with condom use, with most of those reports coming along the lines of it being too confusing to remember all of the steps they were taught while in the heat of the moment etc. They want to use condoms, but they've learned all of that in a very "academic" environment - we're trying to develop interventions that will help teach people how to handle themselves when they're not at their most rational.

    A final measure we give which is related to condom use is an HIV & STI knowledge quiz with true, false and "don't know" answers. Most of our participants score 70% or better, but certain segments average scores below 30%. By identifying the lagging segments and then examining what it is that is leading to this dearth of HIV & STI knowledge, we're able to come up with plans to get this information out to those groups because the current techniques clearly aren't working.

    It's neither an obvious nor simple area of research, despite what some in this thread will say. $400k to potentially save quite a few lives (or protect the quality of many lives) is a bargain. If you're a wretched excuse for a human being and you think that people who get HIV "deserve" it, you probably don't care that a lifetime of treatment for a single case of HIV infection will run around $400-500k (minimum) so this kind of research is also cost effective from that standpoint.

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:04AM (#28434925)

      ... and the study mentioned in the article makes perfect sense. The article is propaganda that intentionally misunderstands what the study is about in order to stir up their readership.

      In one of our studies of (mostly queer) sexually active teenagers. One of the key things we look at is condom use knowledge and condom errors. Most people know that they should use a condom if they're having sex, but quite a large swath of the population doesn't know how to *properly* use them and what they do and do not protect against. Some people are perfectly willing to use condoms, but they get frustrated because they're using them wrong, and so the condoms break or come off, and they stop using them out of frustration.

      One measure we give is we have 20 different "steps" for using a condom properly, and they're out of order, and some are not real steps. Out of ~250 teenagers, most of whom have taken sex ed, been exposed to safer sex info all their lives, only 6 got that exercise 100% correct (all real steps in proper order, all fake steps removed), and only 42 got all the real steps in the correct order (but kept some of the fake steps). The kids have been taught, but retention isn't so hot - we're coming up with better ways to teach this.

      Another measure we have is taking an inventory of experiences with recent condom use, and most of our participants report some level of difficulty with condom use, with most of those reports coming along the lines of it being too confusing to remember all of the steps they were taught while in the heat of the moment etc. They want to use condoms, but they've learned all of that in a very "academic" environment - we're trying to develop interventions that will help teach people how to handle themselves when they're not at their most rational.

      A final measure we give which is related to condom use is an HIV & STI knowledge quiz with true, false and "don't know" answers. Most of our participants score 70% or better, but certain segments average scores below 30%. By identifying the lagging segments and then examining what it is that is leading to this dearth of HIV & STI knowledge, we're able to come up with plans to get this information out to those groups because the current techniques clearly aren't working.

      It's neither an obvious nor simple area of research, despite what some in this thread will say. $400k to potentially save quite a few lives (or protect the quality of many lives) is a bargain. If you're a wretched excuse for a human being and you think that people who get HIV "deserve" it, you probably don't care that a lifetime of treatment for a single case of HIV infection will run around $400-500k (minimum) so this kind of research is also cost effective from that standpoint.

      It sickens me to read mass media criticism of scientific grants based off of an abstract and a bucket full of spin. The GOP doesn't need this right now. They have other problems. Regardless, this is becoming one of their memes. Remember the complaint a few months ago about hundreds of thousands of dollars (or a bit more) spent on an "overhead projector," which turned out to be a planetarium with capabilities equivalent to the one in New York, used for astronomy and public outreach? Remember the mocking complaint about spending money to monitor volcanoes? That one had a well timed eruption in Alaska to give the GOP some media embarrassment, but in all of these cases we're seeing particularly unintelligent and uninformed people passing judgment on grants that passed through multiple layers of peer review with very low rates of proposal acceptance.

  • True Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:11PM (#28433965) Journal

    Of course Fox News is reporting things even across the board, rather than engaging in yellow journalism. Their reputation is such that they don't need to research the grant itself or the ongoing project it stems from.

    NIH has been funding AIDS related research for over 25 years. This includes behavioral research regarding risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. That's going to produce results long before any research into vaccines or cures.

    The first question that comes to mind is how many saved lives would be worth US$432,500? The second is how much is the Kinsey Institute's time worth, keeping in mind it's going to pay the salaries of researchers, technicians and assistants for the duration? Along with that, consider that any research done under any academic umbrella ends up paying a significant cut off the top to the university. The amount varies, but I've had one university try to take 70% off the top.

    Anyone that thinks they could do such things better for less are free to submit proposals to NIH. They make it very clear how to go about it. In order to be able to judge whether the amount quoted is unreasonable one would have to be able to evaluate such a proposal in its own terms, if not be qualified to put one together. I find it hard to believe that the person that Fox News calls "government watchdogs" (pluralizing being a perfectly allowable journalistic technique) is qualified to evaluate the text of the grant proposal to point out just what parts of it are wasteful, what parts are just overpriced, and what parts are reasonable, rather than pointing at the whole thing without reading any of it and making a sweeping claim.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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