New Democratic MLA Tom Perry is distributing a 60-second film on AIDS and safe sex. It was commissioned by the provincial health ministry but withheld after Premier William Vander Zalm denounced it as an ad for condoms. Dr. Perry, a physician said “it is not wimpish or nerd-like to protect yourself against AIDS.” Greg Layne, a “gay man” infected with AIDS through sex, said that “regardless of what the minister of health and the premier think, teenagers are sexually active and is morally bankrupt not to give them the tools necessary.”
Meanwhile Toronto was being accused of being behind the times on this issue compared to two pockets of enlightenment – Ottawa and Vancouver Island. The accuser is Art Wood, chairman of the AIDS committee of Toronto. “Every time we delay making condoms more available,” he said, “some people will die. There’s a real urgency.”
Despite the outburst school boards in the City of Toronto, Scarborough, York and East York have decided to wait and see what happens elsewhere – a hesitancy which Wood denounced. “We live in a sexually active age,” he declared. “We can’t just hope to convince kids not to be sexually active. We have an obligation to provide them with the education and the tools, including condoms, to reduce the risk of AIDS…”
Naturally the universities are taking the lead in such matters. An informal “condom committee” has been established at the University of Toronto “to make it easier to students to obtain condoms and prevent AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and venereal diseases. “ Dr. David Smith, director of the university’s health service, said that every week he sees a number of preventable cases of vaginal infections, and that at least 80 unwanted pregnancies occur on campus every year, “many because of poor quality condoms or uneducated use of them.” Smith actively promotes the use of condoms: “I think they should be everywhere where there is a heavy flow of students. The more available they are at a reasonable price and a good quality, the better off we are.”
Some years ago The Interim carried on a report on Dr. David Smith and his abortion referral service.