Health Alert: Philadelphia Condom Campaign

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — 11-year-olds are getting condoms. It’s happening with the city of Philadelphia’s new program, aimed at fighting sexually transmitted diseases.

Last week, the city launched the campaign that is designed to raise awareness about the growing problem of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers.

A big part of the program is giving out free condoms, and that has some parents concerned.

The website is called “Take Control Philly.” It outlines the risks of having unsafe sex and protecting yourself from diseases.

Anyone over the age of 11 can sign up to get free condoms in the mail.

“I think that’s far too young. I think absolute minimum should be high school age. Eleven-year-old is in middle school, and that’s absolutely too young,” said Amanda Hujber, who works in Philadelphia.

In launching the campaign, Philadelphia health officials said studies have shown that 10 to 14-year-olds in the city have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than the national average.

“It’s certainly scary and horrifying that 11-year-olds are engaging in this, but the reality is that they are,” said Gary Bell, Director of Bebashi, an agency that provides sexual health education. He says they start with the message that the only really safe sex is no sex, but condoms are the next best way to prevent STDs.

“I can understand people being outraged. I’m a parent myself, but I think I’d rather have the kids have the information. I’d rather have the kids have access to it,” said Gary.

The website also has an animated video that shows—graphically—how to correctly use condoms.

“That’s not something I would recommend my own daughter to look at,” said Shelly Anderson, of Philadelphia.

“I think it would be irresponsible just to give them condoms and not show them how to use them. I think it’s important to know that we’re not giving condoms to kids; kids are coming and asking for condoms. Kids are seeking them out,” said Gary.

City health officials tell CBS 3 that 173 condoms have been ordered online since the campaign started last week. There are also locations where teens can pick them up.

For more information on the Take Control Philly Program Information, click here.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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  • Art Roberts

    While I am sure there is moral outrage, what really matters is reality. I knew girls back in the 50’s who were having sex as young as 11. Nothing is new. Time to grow up people….

  • MAF

    Clearly this program is a response to a very real problem — underage pregnancy. And I know that condoms have likely been available in high school clinics for years. However, assuming that the legal age of consent is 16 years old, providing condoms to 11 year old, however well intended, amounts to providing condoms for children who are too young to consent. And if they are too young to consent then that makes the activity rape. So, condoms to 11 year olds amounts to a program that provides condoms to rapists. And this amounts to a gravely disorienting message to young people. Essentially telling them that LEGALLY they can’t be having sex, but here is something to use should you decide to use it. And, if you are a male, age immaterial, having sex with an underaged girl, we can prosecute you for rape.

  • Bec

    Patricia, get of your religious soapbox, whether what they are doing is right or wrong they dont deserve to be punished for it forever and children make their own decisions they are not as clueless asd people give them credit for. My parents always taught me that sex should be between two people who love each other very much but do you think that stopped me from getting to 15 and doing exactly as i pleased? no of course not, we need to stop being so naive just because you think my children are good and they aren’t doing that. It’s bull you have your head in th eclouds if that’s what you think.So ok we teach it’s best to wait but for some that is never going to happen. and they still deserve to be protected as well

  • Peter Roach

    The ugly facts are are beyond question. It is better to thwart disease.
    These realities also give testimony to the deep moral corruption of our times.
    It also gives testimony to the abject failures of organized.religion.
    These children also need access to child abuse and prevention. Older men often exploit younger women.

    • Mitchelle

      I am not a parent and I can see why this is such a touchy subject because one then has to face the fact that their child is doing some very grown things that he or she may not understand. But would it not be worst to find out that your 11 year old child has HIV?

      • Patricia

        The problem is that grownups have been teaching the children the wrong things to do. It is the grownups who make the lurid and sex-charged TV programs, movies, sex-education programs and show the children in real life how to disrespect their bodies and use sex for recreation purposes. It is grownups who haven’t taught the children the dignity of their human sexuality and the purpose God intended for it. It is the grownups who won’t tell them that sex outside of marriage is wrong and sinful. It is the grownups now who are putting condoms and contraceptives in their hands because they won’t tell them that these things fail often and STD’s are waiting around the corner for them. It is the grownups who will arrange and perform an abortion on a young woman when all else fails. It is the grownups who have implemented Margaret Sangers plans for her Planned Parenthood Clinics, one of which was to reach minorities to reduce their population. How sad! And the children suffer but we will have to answer for scandalizing and failing in our God-given responsibilities.

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