The condom has been promoted as a birth control device, as well as a means of helping to prevent venereal disease. It is not as effective as abstinence in either category, and a life-long monogamous relationship between partners who do not have venereal disease is superior to condom use as well. Condom use is not accepted by the Roman Catholic Church which believes in other methods for birth control and abstinence outside of a marriage relationship.
Some government-supported programs to distribute condoms to teenagers have been credited with reducing out of wedlock teen pregnancy, but the success of these programs is debatable. Opponents charge that condom distribution is counterproductive, as it sends a tacit (but clearly perceived) message that pre-marital sex (and even fornication) is good.
- Pope Benedict said, ""You can't resolve it (AIDS) with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."
condom promotion is ineffective for anything but lowering the rate of AIDS in concentrated, high-risk groups, like homosexuals in San Francisco or prostitutes in Bangkok. Condoms have never been shown to reduce HIV infection rates and AIDS deaths in general-population epidemics like those in sub-Saharan Africa. Paradoxically, the more condoms AIDS activists send to Africa, the more widespread the disease has become.