In 1991 inmates of federal prisons received condoms as a special Christmas gift from Health and Welfare Canada.

This, reports the Canada Diseases Weekly Report (October 1991), is the “first important step” the Canadian government has taken to combat the spread of AIDS in federal penitentiaries.

The editors of the Report state their opinion after summarizing the preliminary results of a two-year study of HIV infection among men incarcerated in two Quebec prisons.

“Although it is important to document… the proportion of inmates with HIV infection,” they state, “it is critical that condoms and bleach be made available now… in order to prevent spread of HIV infection within these facilities.”

The editors recommend that drug-using prisoners have access to clean needles and syringes to reduce the transmission of AIDS, but at the same time express the futile hope that such an action will not promote drug use.

This recommendation parallels the standard argument for providing condoms to ‘high-risk’ groups such as prisoners in this case, or to promiscuous teens: ‘Extramarital sex is unavoidable; therefore protect yourselves, use a condom’.

But as the editors of the Canada Diseases Weekly Report point out, as many as twenty percent of U.S. inmates engage in homosexual activity more or less frequently. During the unnatural sexual acts of homosexuals, condom failure occurs with shocking frequency. If the percentage of homosexual acts is anywhere near the same for Canadian prisons, then the Report editors have offered advice that is not only irresponsible but criminal.