Philadelphia Gives Condoms to 11-Year-Olds

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The 2009 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals that the city has the highest number of sexually active teens and one of the lowest numbers of those who use condoms. A city health department report confirms this.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also show Philadelphia has the fifth highest HIV/AIDS infection rate.

Condom availability for children as young as 11 is controversial, and Bell admits it's no "panacea."

But child development experts say introduction to sex education early on is important.

Dr. Eugene Beresin, a professor at Harvard University and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General and McLean hospitals in Boston, said he was in favor of policies aimed at younger children.

"If kids are taught and have access to counseling, there's a better chance of abstinence being maintained and the risk of STDs is diminished," he said.

But, he said, condom distribution should not be the "flagship" of sex education.

"Let's face it," he said. "You can't stop kids from having sex if they want to. It would be great if they hold off, but we can't stop it. What we can do is improve responsibility. So while we have to be thoughtful about randomly distributing condoms in the first grades, sex behavior and its consequences are part of the lives of young teens through young adulthood."

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