WASHINGTON (July 27)—An ambiguous report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services doesn't undercut centuries of effective use of condoms, a top official of a major condom manufacturer said. "Condoms have been around 400 years, originally sheaths made of sheepskin," said Cecil Milner, chief operating officer of Slocomb, Ala.-based Alatech Healthcare Products L.L.C. "Four hundred years is a pretty long time." HHS' National Institutes of Health issued a report from a special review panel; the report stated that although condoms were demonstrably effective barriers against the HIV virus and gonorrhea, there was insufficient evidence that they were effective against syphilis, herpes, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases. The report led conservatives to declare that the U.S. government should advocate sexual abstinence as the only preventative measure against STDs. But Milner said that real-world experience of condoms provides the evidence of their effectiveness. "Just use your common sense," he said. "Condoms are made of natural rubber latex, the same thing as gloves. What do you use gloves for? To prevent the transmission of disease."