Wacky Church-Supported Doctor Plays the Antivax Card and Says Condoms Give You HIV

Eleanor de Borja-Palabyab, shuckin' the jive. (CBCP photo)
Eleanor de Borja-Palabyab, shuckin’ the jive. (CBCP photo)

Leave it to the Philippines, a country where one of the largest daily newspapers keeps a medium on the payroll, where psychic surgery is still a thing, and where, for a disturbingly large part of the population, dripping candle wax into a bowl of water is considered a legitimate diagnosis technique, to issue a license to practice actual medicine to a scientific train-wreck like Dr. Eleanor de Borja-Palabyab. “Dr.” (that will be in quotes for the remainder of this post, for reasons that will shortly become obvious) de Borja-Palabyab is the current President of Doctors for Life Philippines (DLPh), a Catholic Church-backed organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of medicine in accordance with the beliefs and edicts of the Pauline Cult. If “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab’s opinions, expressed in a rambling lecture to a meeting of about 300 people (in a church, natch) in Gubat, Sorsogon on March 22, are any indication, that perspective represents a level of medical sophistication that hasn’t been seen since the era of the Black Death.

Blithely citing conclusions that were soundly refuted nearly 10 years ago and later revealed to be not just mistakes but intentional fraud, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab warned her audience that vaccines not only contain harmful mercury and formalin, but are also a cause of autism, according to a report published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and absolutely no one else. Just in case all that wasn’t sufficiently horrifying for her audience, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab also “revealed” (citing a “Vatican paper” as her source) that aborted human fetuses are used to produce vaccines, casually adding that “They are also used in the preparation of food ingredients in countries where abortion is legal.”

Interestingly enough, the “Doctor’s” “revelation” (which is not really news, having been SOP for, oh, only about the last 50 years or so) about the source of some vaccines was not completely over the horizon from the truth. Because viruses targeted by vaccines infect humans, human cells are the most effective medium in which to produce the deactivated viruses that are the main ingredients in vaccines; the original source of the cells used for this were two aborted fetuses in the early 1960s. Since then, however, the cells have been regenerated thousands of times in laboratories in different parts of the world, completely eliminating the need for any fresh tissue. While that still might make some people a little squeamish (one reason intense research has been going on for years to try to find effective alternative methods of creating vaccines), the “Doctor’s” implication that babies are being aborted for the purpose is, to put it kindly, a grossly malicious lie. The “Doctor’s” tangential assertion that babies are being aborted for food is just gross.

Having done her part to contribute to a worldwide resurgence of preventable diseases like measles and pertussis, “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab moved on to the topic of contraceptives, which, predictably, were described as evil and dangerous. The “Doctor’s” harangue was apparently the pretty standard fare – reproductive health as understood by repressed, elderly Italian men – except for this little value-added flair: Condoms, apparently, can give you HIV. According to de Borja-Palabyab, condoms have microscopic holes in them ranging in size from 5 to 70 microns; the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, on the other hand, has a diameter of only 0.1 micron.

Here again, de Borja-Palabyab has apparently spent more time crafting lectures to enhance the public’s ignorance than in keeping her own medical knowledge even remotely current. A battery of tests conducted by several government and university research departments between 1992 and 1994 found that latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of HIV as well as other sexually-transmitted pathogens, even in live-action tests involving infected and uninfected partners. Of course, the usual warnings that condoms must be used consistently and correctly are offered, and they are still are not (and will never be) as infallible as keeping one’s tingly bits away from everyone else’s, but the difference in risk factors for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases between having sex using a condom or not is enormous – a factor of about 10,000, according to a 1992 Food and Drug Administration study.

For “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab to abuse her position as an authority figure (she is supposedly trained as a gynecologist, as alarming as that may be) endorsed by the Catholic Church to sow misinformation and encourage potentially destructive behavior among an audience that is easily influenced by credentials and ecclesiastical oversight is maliciously reckless and a mockery of the medical profession. And at least a few intrepid members of the public are trying to stop her; a petition launched on change.org on Friday is calling for the Professional Regulation Commission to investigate “Dr.” de Borja-Palabyab. Unfortunately, the recent Supreme Court ruling which gutted the Reproductive Health Law may protect her right to be an ignorant ass on religious grounds, as it struck down a provision which would have prevented physicians from being “conscientious objectors” to providing RH services if they felt doing so would violate their religious beliefs. After all, encouraging people to have unprotected sex and then gamble with the health of the unwanted product thereof is probably not actually the worst thing anyone’s ever done in the name of their various gods.

 

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

39 Comments on “Wacky Church-Supported Doctor Plays the Antivax Card and Says Condoms Give You HIV”

  1. The Woman sounds like a WACKO.
    A closer look at what she was refferring to about condoms was ‘lamb-skin’ condoms actually do have tiny holes in them as they are actually ‘mucosa’/membranes and aren’t completely impervious to micro-organisms.
    THE ‘WACKO’ could actually be believed about the part of mercury based vaccines causing autism, but there is no ‘formalin’/formaldehyde in them.The acusation about the aborted fetuses is just ‘ghoulish’ and who knows? it could be happening somewhere. Even Dr.Frankenstein(its pronounced ‘FRAANK-un-STEEN’) had a laboratory.
    With WACKO’s like this woman and people/idiots that are stupid enough to listen to her….it really is no small wonder that…..

    …the country is completely F/U/C/K/E/D.YEP, COMPLETELY!

  2. There really are people like this, WOW! MAYBE someone should inform the good ‘DR’ that the middle-ages are over, Japan lost the war and Maybe she should get some rest.

  3. As a concerned and legitimate physician, somebody please inform the PRC and PMA of the actions of this quack doctor. A physician who spreads such misinformation is not only a disgrace. She has no right to practice any form of medicine!

  4. Condoms give HIV? Yeah right…I would have contracted HIV many years ago if that was the case. This reminds me of a nun who gave a lecture abroad how masturbation would make you blind. And still, people believe in this kind of crap nowadays.

    A pity that many are blinded to the truth just because someone uses religion on us to “feel guilty.”

    1. It is at least 30 years behind the times in everything. No one listens to ‘Journey’ any more. They get airplay on oldies stations elsewhere. Them and others like ‘Heart’ ‘Air Supply’, going to the Philippines is like walking into a ‘Time Warp’ AGAIN.
      Its just a jump to the left, and way way way behind the times.
      Get a clue for God’s sake.

  5. “The “Doctor’s” harangue was apparently the pretty standard fare – reproductive health as understood by repressed, elderly Italian men – except for this little value-added flair: Condoms, apparently, can give you HIV. According to de Borja-Palabyab, condoms have microscopic holes in them ranging in size from 5 to 70 microns; the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, on the other hand, has a diameter of only 0.1 micron.”

    The title is misleading. obviously the imbecile who is criticizing dr palabyab takes the statement out of context. if there was a bit of honesty in this screed, it would be apparent that a condom may allow the transfer of virus through the pores given enough osmotic pressure applied across the latex membrane, aka condom. dyes and hypertonic solutions have been shown to move through latex membranes and theoretically, so could viruses. it’s quite stupid to say that dr palabyab said condoms give you HIV, just plain stupid. isn’t there anyone here who can critique this intelligibly?

    1. There’s no excuse though for using the study of Andrew Wakefield to claim vaccines cause autism, which had been discredited and proven to be false. And the “Dr.” still treats it as if it were truth. I wonder, are some Filipinos really intentionally trying to be backward and behind in the latest scientific truth and discoveries, and all they want as the latest are iPads and designer wear?

    2. Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of condoms as a protective barrier against HIV. In 4 separate laboratory studies, Conant M (1986), Van de Perre (1987), Rietmeijer CA (1988) and Judson FN (1989)have demonstrated that they have not isolated viral particles outside the latex condoms.

      In vivo studies however have not shown absolute protection from HIV. BUT, alot of factors can come into play (Wrong usage, breakage, slippage). Limitations of study designs have contributed to the inconsistencies of the results of condom use. In an instance Zenilman et al (1995) argued that the association of STI and condom use was due to the POOR VALIDITY of self-reported condom use data.

      CAREY RF et al (1992) determined possible leakage of viral particles using a flourescence-labled 110-nm polysterene microsphere as the model. Of the 89 condoms tested, 29 leaked (p Value <0.03 each). However, the authors concluded that even with the results, Condom use is still more effective in prevention 10 times more than not using a condom at all.

      Even with such valid results that "some particles" may cross some latex barriers, Epidemiological studies otherwise have proven that it is still an effective method in preventing spread of HIV infection. Longitudinal and retrospective studies such as those of Detels R et al (1989), Roumelioutou-Karayannis A et al (1988).Saracco A et al (1993) have backed these.

      Now if you want to critique a topic on Medical science, You must ALWAYS back your statements with evidence and citations.. not purely basing on scientifical theories that might not really work in vivo.

  6. Is the yellow administration instigating mass paranoia as a diversionary tactics from the chaotic corruptions allegations?

    1. The simplest answer is usually the right one. The mis-information being promoted by Dr Palabyab fits in with the political position and subsequent narrative of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it would be headline news on http://www.cbcpnews.com.

  7. Sometimes I also wonder if anti-vaccine, and even anti-GMO, movements are actually part of a smear campaign paid for by “herbal” companies (yes, those that promote alternative medicine). Since it’s hard to sell these kinds of products because they may actually have less efficacy than conventional (yes, the chemically and industrially produced) medicine, they resort to “ruining the competition.” So some think the big pharmas are trying to shut down herbals through smearing? I think the opposite is true as well.

  8. I better consult my “herbolario”…he is better…

    Tell Kris Aquino not to wear those condoms during sex. She might be infected by STD again…

    Bibingwit uli ako ng mga Yellow Yard na dayuhan ni Aquino at Roxas…” Hey Aquino Ass Kisser…howl to the moon for me again!!!

  9. The title is misleading. “Doctor says ‘condoms give you HIV'” –> clearly the writer’s conclusion and not the words of the doctor. The point here is that condoms do have a high failure rate in terms of preventing the spread of HIV. Even Harvard AIDS expert, Dr. Edward Green, said that due to “risk compensation phenomenon,” people engage more in risky behavior, thinking that they are “protected” anyway. This explains why those countries which have a 100% condom policy are the same countries that have the most number of HIV cases. Case in point: Thailand.

    In the 1980s, the first cases of HIV in Thailand and the Philippines were reported. Thailand promoted “safe sex,” meaning condom use and sex education, while the Philippines promoted chastity and faithfulness to one’s spouse. In 2012, Thailand was the 38th most infected country in the world, while the Philippines ranked 155th. That’s a big difference there. And what’s more, while 1,100,000 Thais are infected with HIV, “as of January 2013 the DOH AIDS Registry in the Philippines reported 10,514 people living with HIV/AIDS.” The Philippines must be doing something right. Why promote something that has been yielding terrible results in other countries?

    1. The line of reasoning you give is insufficient. Statistics do not show a “terrible” result in countries that promote condom use; the facts show the opposite:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/condom-effectiveness_n_1098668.html

      http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/condoms/20090318_position_condoms.pdf

      Additionally, saying that the promotion of “chastity” resulted in low HIV cases in the Philippines does not take into consideration the fact that HIV/AIDS many remain unreported or in “Positive Denial:”

      http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/476453/one-filipino-gets-hiv-virus-every-1-5-hours-group-says

      As of August 2014, the number of people with HIV has grown to “about 14,000” as the article states, with more definitely unreported.

      Take also into consideration of having AIDS in a supposedly religious culture that stigmatizes HIV+ people and glorifies men with multiple partners, as well as a religiosity that demonizes contraception:

      http://www.manilatimes.net/philippine-officials-struggle-to-erase-hivaids-stigma/28886/

      The Philippines may have a low instance of HIV cases, but the increase between your January 2013 report and the August 2014 report (+ ~4,000 cases) is alarming. And this is even BEFORE the RH Law came into effect.

      Correct condom use at the moment is still the BEST way to minimize the spread of HIV through sexual contact.

      1. Okay let’s take the figure you provided: Philippines, which promoted chastity and faithfulness to one’s spouse has, at present, 14,000 HIV cases. Thailand, which promotes condoms, has 1,100,000 HIV cases. Does this reflect that “correct condom use is the best way” to prevent the spread of HIV? Should we follow in the footsteps of Thailand then?

        1. Take note, Midwayhaven emphasized unreported cases. There are likely many Filipinos who have HIV but have not admitted it. Many just don’t want to be tested for HIV. Perhaps Thailand just reports it more accurately than we do. And 1 million HIV cases might be bloated. From net sources I’ve seen, a more likely figure is 600,000. Perhaps that number of cases don’t use condoms, which is why the figure is so big.

        2. @Anna: Again, it’s not the population of HIV+ people per nation that matters; it’s the TREND. To say that Thailand has a larger population of HIV+ people than the Philippines overlooks the percentage of people getting infected.

          http://www.unicef.org/philippines/hivaids.html#.U1zlIfmSzKs

          HIV prevalence per annum in Thailand grows at a rate of 1.3%; compare that to the Philippines, which according to UNICEF has had a prevalence rate of 79% in 2012. This means that in 2012 HIV cases in the Philippines have nearly DOUBLED. And this before the RH Law, when as you say “hastity and faithfulness” were still the prevailing national policy for combating AIDS.

          http://www.pepfar.gov/documents/organization/212160.pdf

          So yes, condom use still is the best method, not only to minimize the threat of HIV but also to minimize the threat of other sexually communicated diseases such as gonorrhea and VD. Additionally, comparing HIV+ populations already comprises an oblique stigma against these same populations.

    2. The effectiveness of condoms is attested to by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ineffectiveness of condoms is often attributed to improper use. Perhaps it may break even with proper, probably a product defect, but that happens rarely. Here’s another study that says while there are holes in a few condoms, it’s still better than no condom at all. I’m fine with condoms, and I see no problem encouraging people to use them. The problem is giving them away for free, which I agree is an issue.

      I agree with faithfulness to one’s spouse (but I also agree with allowing masturbation – there’s nothing wrong with it). But if a couple wishes to use condoms to not have children, it’s fine, it’s their right. They are entitled to sexual pleasure – even the Bible says that. I am against the idea that married couples are obliged to have children, because clearly, that is a yoke set upon people in order to make them poor. And yes, I am Protestant, in case you want to know.

      The problem with anti-vaccine and anti-condom movements is that they are associated with the tin-foil hat wearers, those who say the Rothschilds own all the banks in the world and said in the 1990s that people are going to have microchips installed in their heads and hands in a few years. Tell you what – almost 30 years later, nothing’s happened. I don’t have a chip, no one I know around the world has a chip. If they did, they’d be telling you. Most of those tales, even those stories that MH370 didn’t crash and was just spirited away somewhere, they’re all deceit.

      1. It’s actually very disturbing that (based on my observations) the same people who are against condom use are often anti-vaxxers.

        1. I’m thinking they all come from the same vein. The anti-vax movement probably comes from the same people who think the Rothschilds own all the banks and all the companies that create products that try to mind-control people or destroy them at least. These tin-foil hat wearers want to blame everyone but themselves for the world’s problems. Perhaps they believe Edward Jenner was a tool of the Illuminati for creating a product that “Big Pharma” can make use of later.

        2. Aha, look at number 9 of this article. No wonder some people are against anything that smacks of population control, even against the encouragement of the use of condoms without force. These condom-opposers believe population control is a plan of the New World Order.

  10. Lol. Condom sales propaganda! Simple lang yan e. Kung talagang effective ang condom against HIV, bakit mas lalo pa itong dumami sa mga bansa na nag promote ng utak condom culture? Get real 🙂

    1. Simple lang din. The studies don’t support na palpak ang condom. May kapalpakan, pero hindi malaki. Propaganda din ang anti-condom movement, mas lalo na yung anti-vaccine movement. Baka yung anti-GMO, deceit din yan. Get real.

    2. @JC: Again, read the UN reports and the statistics I mentioned above. HIV cases in places with proper contraceptive use is DECREASING. I suppose that you won’t think of a UN report as “sales propaganda” for condom use now, would you?

  11. Reported cases of HIV increased in proportion with homosexuality. Kaya may point din cguro ang chastity and preserving moral values.

    1. Your second sentence implies that being a devout Catholic and being HIV+ are mutually exclusive (with no source for your assertion).

      Way to perpetuate the stigma; maybe you should summon your Pastor Ernie and Proud Pinoy ghost accounts to refute the data I gave you.

  12. (For whatever reason, some (of my) comments, particularly on the “Abortion is a Simple Issue,” do not show up. When I go on gmail, I am notified that there are new comments there but the post doesn’t show them. And I’d like to know why my other comment here did not pass moderation.)

    http://www.returnofkings.com/3882/the-truth-about-aids

    In America, “a man who has sex with men is 700 to 800 times more likely to have HIV than a sober straight white man.” In addition, 50% of those infected with HIV are gay, while gays make up less than 3% of the total population (another 22% of those infected with HIV are drug addicts, while the remaining 23% of those infected with HIV are straight). There are also “bugchasers,” gays who knowingly and willingly transmit HIV (which is illegal).

    *BTW, ‘sober’ in these statistics means that HIV wasn’t transferred through use of intravenous drugs.

    1. Your source is a parody site that displays women dancing around in skimpy R-18 bikinis and passionately kissing each other. I guess the “Catholic Conservative” nick needs more work.

  13. Well, is she a Medical Doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Filipinos seem to not know the difference between the two. Educate the people properly, rather than conducting press releases to media who are not only inaccurate but them to over spoil the beans just for the credit ratings. Seriously, we are getting dumber and dumber.

    Condoms does not guarantee “safe sex” it just minimize the odds, but is the best alternative than having bare contact. Let us not focus on the sexual intercourse, because HIV is not only transmitted by it. HIV can also be transmitted by blood, saliva, urine, feces. It is under the contact precaution/transmission, so to prevent you from getting it you must have adequate protection. Condoms are the most economical and most accessible type of these protection. Just like in Surgery, surgeons where gloves which is made with the same material.

    I would most likely to believe a statistics release by the World Health Organization (WHO) themselves rather than googling and find significant data than has been posted by some who does not have credentials nor a report that has the tagline “based on research, studies shows, statistics tell, etc.”

    Ask professionals not people with a lot of connection and exposure or a newspapers.

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