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Social Issues: Letters

To the Editor, Star Tribune

Kids and sexuality
The May 12 article, " 'A' is for Abstain," missed some important points. The big issue is what attitude toward sexuality we are actually promoting among our kids.

It is one thing to talk about condoms, but calling them "safe sex" is promotion of a myth. Just how unsafe they are in preventing the transmission of AIDS will not be known for perhaps 10 years, but the failure rate for preventing pregnancy is 5 to 15 percent per year even when they are used by motivated adults. There are many medical reasons to believe that it will be higher for AIDS.

If condoms are presented as an equal alternative to waiting until marriage, a false sense of security will move some kids away from the only truly safe (and the most enjoyable) sex.

The state Department of Education does not impose curricula but it does have guidelines for the teaching of AIDS. They promote abstinence very strongly, even for those who have already begun sexual activity. Condoms and spermicide are recommended only for those who refuse the best advice.

Is it wrong to promote the teaching of morality in the schools? Actually, the position that sex is OK if you just use condoms is also a moral statement. The only questions are whose morality is to be promoted and is it based on truth or deception.

Ross S. Olson, M.D., Minneapolis.
Published May 19, 1990

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