New Jersey AIDS panel urges state to provide condoms to students
The New Jersey Governor's Advisory Council on AIDS has issued a report to Gov. James McGreevey that says the state should boost its efforts to prevent the spread of HIV by providing condoms to teenage public school students and clean needles to injection-drug users, The [Newark] Star-Ledger reports. McGreevey, a Democrat, has already proposed a statewide pilot needle-exchange program but has left it up to individual school districts to decide whether to provide condoms to students. No New Jersey school district has taken steps to adopt condom distribution policies in the past.
Terrence Zealand, acting chairman of the council, said he hoped that the recommendations would prompt some schools into voluntarily launching condom distribution programs. "Some districts will hopefully take our recommendations to heart and implement it, and some districts I'm sure will ignore it," he said.
The council's report was compiled by health care workers, lawmakers, administration officials, and clergy. The recommendations were the first to be issued by the council since 1996. New Jersey currently ranks fifth in the nation in number of AIDS cases, according to 2001 state Department of Health and Senior Services statistics.