Senate Orders Sex Site Restored

Kat Khan
MONTPELIER, Vt. — A website devoted to helping young men avoid high-risk sex that could lead to HIV and AIDS must be switched back on by March 1, the state Senate ordered the Douglas administration Friday.

A link to the site, TheManPhone.org, was taken down in December 2005 after the Health Department was alerted that it included a link to an adult site.

Now, the adult link has been removed and the Health Department has indicated that it would re-establish the site soon, but lawmakers have been frustrated that it still hasn't happened.

"I'd like to hold the Department of Health's feet to the fire," Sen. Jeannette White said.

"I don't think anybody in the Senate disagrees with what the intent of what that website is — or was," Sen. George Coppenrath added. "The site ended up being something none of us intended it to be."

The goal of the site, paid for by a federal grant, is to inform sexually active men ages 18-24 of the possible consequences of sex, including unwanted pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

"The reason this was so successful was the edginess of it," White said. "The edginess appealed to this population."

Gov. James Douglas' spokesman, Jason Gibbs, said the amendment to the budget bill was not necessary.

"We are along the way toward re-establishing that service on the website to be run by the Department of Health," Gibbs said.