A couple dozen high schools in the city of Philadelphia are finally getting around to doing what every single secondary school in the country ought to have done decades ago, providing free and anonymous access to condoms. It’s all part of a pilot project to address high rates of HIV infection:
The Philadelphia Health Department will install clear plastic dispensers brimming with free condoms at 22 of Philadelphia’s public high schools over winter break.
The schools chosen for the pilot program have the highest rates of students infected with sexually transmitted diseases in the city, Philly.com reports. All students — even those as young as 14 — will be eligible to score free condoms unless their parents sign a form prohibiting them from participating.The primary issue city officials hope to address with the pilot program is not teen pregnancy, but the growing prevalence of sexually transmitted disease among adolescents.
That’s a good start. Combine that with comprehensive sex education and free and anonymous pregnancy and STD testing and we’ll actually be on the way toward a rational, science-based policy. That is how they do it in the Netherlands, where the rate of teen pregnancy, abortion and STDs is about 1/7th that of the United States.