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Better red (or green or yellow or grape-flavored) than dead

June 25, 2014

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Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute, took Illinois to task by calling out its $1 million budget for condoms and lubricant.

Every new HIV case costs an estimated $390,000 in lifetime medical costs, much of which is paid for by the state. HIV cases are rising fastest among young gay and bisexual men (and particularly young African Americans and Latinos). Aren’t their lives worth $1 million?

Furthermore, Cook County currently boasts the highest number of gonorrhea cases of any county in the nation, and stands at number two for chlamydia and syphilis cases. This is but a fraction of the total number of sexually transmitted infection cases in the U.S. — 19 million every year — which accounts for an estimated $17 billion in medical costs.

Rasmussen also implies that condom availability programs aren’t effective or worth the state’s investment. In fact, the evidence is extremely strong that condom availability programs have “significant intervention effects… for the following outcomes: condom use, condom acquisition/condom carrying, delayed sexual initiation among youth, and reduced incident STIs.”

Compared with spending billions for medical care, isn’t it more cost-effective to provide the tools that can bring improve outcomes and reduce and medical costs — and save lives? These are the very things the state is providing, like male and female condoms in different colors and sizes, along with lube in flavors other than “plain.” And doesn’t it make sense to provide HIV prevention tools that are appealing and — gasp — fun?

 

 

Taste the Rainbow Graphic - No Clouds

Categorized under Inside Story.

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