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A bookmark distributed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services not only teaches teens and children about HIV and AIDS, it provides a phone number that connects them to a hard-core sex hotline.
St. Joseph resident Lori Felzien said she found out about the hotline when her sixth-grade son dialed the number printed on a bookmark he received during a health lesson at Bessie Ellison Elementary School.
The boy handed her mother the phone and said, ''Mom, listen to this.''
Felzien's reaction: ''We've got to get these cards out of these kids' hands.''
The toll-free number once belonged to Teens Teaching AIDS Prevention, part of the Kansas City-based nonprofit Good Samaritan Project. But the AIDS hotline went out of service about a year ago, and a sex hotline has since taken over the number.
Felzien said she contacted the school and Mitzi Teliczan of the St. Joseph-Buchanan County Health Department, which is also listed on the bookmark.
Teliczan said the department approved a series of bookmarks on different topics several years ago. They were distributed throughout local schools over the past few years.
Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for the Missouri health department, said her office is attempting to contact HIV and AIDS prevention groups around the state about the mix-up.
She said the health department didn't know the AIDS hotline no longer existed until this week. Gonder added that it will now review all phone numbers it distributes. (AP)