Free Condoms Available To U.T. Tyler Students - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/16/07- Tyler

Free Condoms Available To U.T. Tyler Students

KLTV 7 learned that U.T. Health Center's student clinic on the U.T. Tyler campus, gives student patients free condoms on request. They also distribute educational materials on STD's and AIDS, but some say distributing condoms goes too far.

Is it a proactive health measure, or an encouragement for students to have sex? U.T. Health Clinic's practice of making free condoms available to student patients came as a shock to Senator Kevin Eltife.

"I had no idea and I'd imagine most parents don't know either," said Senator Eltife.  "I can assure you there are a lot of parents whose kids are going there who would probably not be happy about what they're doing."

Since the clinic opened a year and a half ago, it has given away about 6,000 condoms. The majority of those, donated by state health services and local agencies like Tyler AIDS Services.

"In response to the students requesting condoms be available, I felt like it was a prime opportunity to be able to provide education to the students," said nurse practitioner Kerry Scruggs.  "As appropriate, I talk to them about safer sex practices, encourage the use of condoms if they choose to be sexually active, and talk to them about the sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms may or may not help prevent some of that."

Senator Eltife says this decision is not one for the clinic to make but should be up to the public since, afterall, it is funded by their tax dollars.

"If it's such a good deal, why don't we talk about it, why don't we debate it," said Senator Eltife.  "Let's debate it on campus. Let's get input from the parents, and the students, and the people who are supporting U.T. Health Center in Tyler and the entire system. Let's talk about it in the legislature, let's get it out on the table and discuss it. If it's a great idea and a great concept, let's get it out on the table and discuss it."

It's an issue that will most definitely be debated, now that it has been brought to light.

Courtney Lane, Reporting

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