It's a pilot designed to address "an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in adolescents in Philadelphia," said Donald F. Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity. Since April 2011, the city has given away about four million condoms, and now, STD rates are falling. Some city high schools - the dozen that have "health resource centers" - already dispense free condoms. And the Health Department also provides them at city high schools when they go in to test teens for STDs, as they do every year voluntarily with a parent's consent.
"I support the policy strongly," said Mayor Nutter. "This is a serious public health matter." In an email to nurses, Philadelphia School District officials said that the dispensers would be installed "just inside the doorway near the entrance to your office" and that nurses were not to be charged with managing access. "Opt-out letters are to be maintained by the school office," Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon wrote. "Students are to honor the wishes of their parents. If a student disrespects their guardian's directive then that is an issue of the home." Still, Peg Devine, school nurse at Lincoln High - which is not a participant in the pilot program said, "I just can't imagine the parents of a 14-year-old being happy with this." Full story can be found here.
"Throughout the last 40 years, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of sexually transmitted diseases while simultaneously promoting 'safe sex' as a way to combat it. When I was in medical school in the 1960s, there were only three common STDs, all of which were treatable. Now we have more than 40 diseases, many of which have no effective medical treatment because they are viral.
The predictable outcomes of this new effort to provide condoms to teenagers are as follows:
- The students will feel that sexual activity is okay according to the adults
in their schools.
- Socially immature students will have a harder time refusing sexual advances
since they will be unable to use their fear of STDs as a reason to avoid
- Sexually active students will have more sexual encounters since the barrier
has been lowered.
- The increased number of sexual encounters will increase the number of STDs. Many STDs are not prevented, or only partially reduced, by the use of condoms.
"These well meaning adults will then be confounded by the failure of their program to help the students in their charge. A realistic discussion of the physical, emotional and moral risks of premarital sexual activity would be far more helpful and appropriate."
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