"Playing it safe just got easier. If you live in Philadelphia and are between the ages of 11 and 19 you can now have condoms mailed directly to you for FREE."
So it goes on the website TakeControlPhilly.org, a condom campaign initiated by Philadelphia's Department of Health.
Fox News reports:
A new campaign by Philadelphia officials to reduce sexually transmitted diseases allows children as young as 11 to receive free condoms via mail order, outraging some parents who believe that's too early to start getting physical.
The program, offered by the city's Department of Health, features a website that includes facts on diseases like Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV/AIDS, as well as detailed -- and playful -- instructions for young girls on how to use female condoms....
Jeff Moran, a spokesman for Philadelphia's Department of Health, said the campaign was launched last week. No complaints had been received as of today, he said.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the campaign on April 7 as he announced the winning design for the city's custom-labeled condom wrapper.
Recent national data indicates that Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of STDs among comparable cities, with African-Americans and adolescents being disproportionately affected, according to city officials. And a 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 37 percent of sexually active Philadelphia high school students did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter.
The website reads:
CONDOMS CAN PREVENT DISEASE AND UNPLANNED PREGNANCY.
And let's face it, sex is more fun when you're not worried about getting pregnant or getting an STD.
Abstinence is the only way to avoid becoming infected with an STD or getting pregnant. However, condoms are highly effective at preventing STDs. If you feel you and your partner are ready to have sex, it is important to use protection every time. That means using a condom - and using it right.
Learn everything you need to know about condoms on these pages.
Replete with a condom map, a glossary of STDs, and its own mascot--Zelda!--the website also contains this piece of advice:
Every girl is different. Figure out what position works for you. You can stand with one foot on chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, squat, or for fun, have your partner help you out.
Sigh. An 11-year-old. Reading that.
Though some might think that free condoms--especially for 11-year-olds--are inappropriate to say the least, others point out that 25% of West Philadelphia 6th graders are sexually active:
And while the idea of 11-year-olds having sex is a grim one, and parents who are blessed with the time and resources to properly parent their children don’t like for them to be exposed to sex at such a young age, City Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz says that a recent survey of sixth-graders in West Philly showed that 25 percent of the 11-year-olds had already had sex.
"Clearly, we don't think it's OK for 11-year-olds to be having sex," says Schwarz. "But we don't have the infrastructure in place to fix [that] problem fast. We can, however, make condoms available fairly quickly to whoever needs them.”
Via NBC Philadelphia: