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Safe-sex brochures rejected at school event, group says


GEORGETOWN, Ky. � Scott County High School administrators told an HIV and AIDS services group to remove brochures about safe sex at a student health fair, group members said.

Cathy Cox, executive director of Lexington-based AIDS Volunteers, Inc., said group members were instructed Friday not to display four brochures that contain information about safe sex or are written for gay and lesbian teens. They were also told to remove any materials containing the gay pride flag or information about alternative lifestyles, she said.

Doug Southworth, the school's principal, said he instructed a teacher to tell the group members to remove one brochure that had graphic drawings of gay sex and some postcards featuring a photograph of a shirtless man standing by a horse statue.

He said he was not aware of multiple brochures being removed.

Southworth said he believes it is inappropriate to have in school any brochures or materials that would promote sex, safe sex or an alternative sexual lifestyle.

"I don't want us to be seen as promoting sex in any fashion," he said.

Cox said she doesn't understand why her group was invited to the student health fair if safe sex information is prohibited.

Cox said the graphic brochure Southworth is referring to, "Safer Sex Can Be Fun," is intended for adults and should not have been put on the table. She said it was mistakenly placed there by a volunteer but was removed by staff members after they realized the error.

Cox said a teacher later went behind the group's table and reached into a supply box to grab a copy after also picking up brochures titled, "Young and Gay: Protect Yourself," "Lesbians and HIV: Are You at Risk?" and "Safer Sex, Better Too."

The teacher later returned and told group representatives they could not display the brochures or material referring to a gay or lesbian lifestyle, Cox said. Other brochures containing safe-sex information not specifically directed at gays or lesbians were not removed, Cox said.

Except for the first brochure targeted at adults, Cox said, the materials are appropriate for high school students.

"We're not talking about elementary school kids here," she said. "How can we ask young people to protect themselves if we don't give them information to make those decisions?"


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Information in this article was accurate in November 23, 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.