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Pennsylvania Health Department removes religious brochure from Web site

Pennsylvania Health Department removes religious brochure from Web site

Questions from an online news service have prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Health to remove a religious-themed AIDS pamphlet from the brochures it promotes on its Web site. The 15-page pamphlet, titled "A Christian Response to AIDS," was intended to educate readers about AIDS "from a Christian viewpoint," according to the Web site. The publication quotes Bible verses to urge compassion for people with HIV/AIDS. The department decided to review whether the brochure was appropriate after Capitolwire, a Harrisburg, Pa.-based online news service, inquired about it. The department bought 10,000 copies of the brochure in 2002 with a $2,000 grant from the Congressional Black Conference and provided them to churches as part of efforts to inform black communities about HIV. Agency spokesperson Richard McGarvey said the listing has been removed from the Web site and that while the remaining 4,000 pamphlets will be distributed to anyone who wants them, the department does not plan to reorder them. "For a public Web site, it was decided it wasn't appropriate," McGarvey said.

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