Monday, January 18, 2010

DC Notes

On Friday morning , I posted about a rumor going around the interwebs about the Washington DC police arresting people for carrying 3 or more condoms for prostitution. It was my intention to debunk said rumor, for it is most certainly not true, but even if I accomplished that, I left out a couple of key points that I want to bring to light now.

When I checked my email Friday evening, I'd gotten an email from the office of Adrian M. Fenty, the mayor of Washington DC, which reiterated one of the points I feel wasn't made plain enough: "The criminal offense associated with a Prostitution Free Zone involves the failure to disperse, after an officer issues such an order to two or more persons congragating on public space within the PFZ." It has nothing whatsoever to do with carrying condoms.

However, someone carrying condoms is a factor in determining whether said people are congregating for purposes of prostitution, as opposed to a prayer meeting, which is totally legal, even in a PFZ.

I still argue this will just make prostitutes less likely to carry condoms, as opposed encourage them to find a job in retail. Not reducing prostitution while simultaneously making it more risky doesn't jive with either the point of the law, nor the otherwise-pretty-great thing DC doing to reduce the HIV rate in DC.

That pretty-great thing is the other thing I didn't highlight - or mention at all, for that matter. DC Public Health is doing a mass distribution of free condoms, but they're not just putting them in clinics and health centers and the like. They're putting them in nightclubs, bars, convenience and liquor stores, restaurants and laundromats, which is a fantastic idea.

So, DC could be doing more to reduce its ridiculous 3% HIV rate (on par with Kenya and Uganda), but is doing pretty progressive, forward-thinking things already. I like to be as thorough as I can be and get both sides of things like this, so I hope I've done that now.

And because even the most diligent of us have moments of pheromone-induced insanity, I leave you with a friendly reminder for everyone to USE CONDOMS WITH NEW PARTNERS!!! I won't sugarcoat it and admit that sex with condoms is less fun than without them, but sex with condoms is WAY more fun than sex with HIV.

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