The bold challenge was issued in personalized letters to Senators Obama and McCain. The candidates are encouraged to donate the condoms to nonprofits or health centers in the U.S. Both also are asked to include support for comprehensive education programs into their campaign platforms.
“Both have spoken to or referenced the term comprehensive, but haven’t said what that means,” One Condoms spokesman Jared Fennelly told XBIZ. “We want them to say condoms will be given time equal to abstinence education, in terms of giving people all the tools and all the ways to protect themselves.”
According to Fennelly, the Boston-based company works with close to 3,500 nonprofit organizations and under the Bush administration many have lost federal funding for their programs because they promote condom use. Additionally, 17 states, from California to Wyoming, have rejected federal funding because of the abstinence only provisions.
“The current administration’s policies regarding sexual health education have fractured efforts to provide a cohesive, structured and successful HIV/AIDS prevention program,” Fennelly said. “America needs a leader who will bring all parties to the table and put forth a plan to create a national dialog regarding HIV/AIDS. We want to hear from both candidates whether condoms will have a fair place in that discussion.”
The condoms have now been received, and while Fennelly isn’t holding his breath for the candidates to send them to nonprofits and health centers, he said he is optimistic about the response so far.
“I certainly hope that they both do,” Fennelly said. “But it’s encouraging that neither of them have refused the shipment.”