AIDS Prevention Outreach Program in Two Pennsylvania Counties Suspended After Workers Give Condom to 13-Year-Old Girl
An AIDS prevention outreach program that operated in Monroe and Carbon county parks in Pennsylvania has been suspended indefinitely after workers gave a condom to a 13-year-old girl at a playground, the Allentown Morning Call reports (Slade, Allentown Morning Call, 8/27). The program, which is managed by the Carbon-Pike-Monroe Drug and Alcohol Commission, is designed to teach 13- to 18-year-olds about HIV and AIDS. Although the program, which receives state and federal funds, focuses on abstinence, condom distribution is used as a "last resort," according to Richard Mroczka, the commission's director. Earlier this year, parents complained about the program after a condom was given to a 13-year-old girl, and on Monday officials from Monroe and Carbon counties told Mroczka that they did not want condom distribution to occur in places such as parks (Associated Press, 8/27). Mroczka said that the program could be successful without targeting parks, as outreach workers could operate in schools and shopping malls. While other commissioners were supportive of the program, Carbon County Commissioner Thomas Gerhard opposed allowing workers into schools. "I thought schools were there to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, not sex," he said. Monroe County Commissioner Robert Nothstein said that the program could be "an adjunct to health class" in schools, adding that outreach workers also could meet with "age-appropriate" groups of Boy Scouts and other organizations, the Morning Call reports (Allentown Morning Call, 8/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.