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Med Dept to give condoms:
Houses get them free with AIDS program

By Joanna Stone

As a result of a new AIDS education initiative program, the MIT Medical Department will soon be distributing condoms free of charge to all interested dormitories and independent living groups.

In order to receive the free condoms, a dorm or ILG will have to host an AIDS education seminar for its students.

"We feel there is a need to

do more than we've done in the past on AIDS education to make students more knowledgable and safe," said James R. Tewhey, associate dean for student affairs.

The program, initially intended for campus dormitories, has recently been extended to include ILGs, after sufficient need had been determined.

Tewhey, who is the head of residence and campus activities, sent out a letter two weeks ago alerting all house presidents to the newly instituted AIDS education program. Although initial reaction has been positive and widespread, the program will not be officially initiated until the end of this month.

"Educational programs may be held before then, but actual distribution of condoms will not go into effect until after Thanksgiving," Tewhey said.

Distribution of condoms in the dorms will be handled by resident graduate students, according to Tewhey. "We intend to ask graduate students to make recommendations on how condoms could be best distributed on their particular hall," he said.

However, ILGs will be given condoms to distribute at their discretion, provided they have taken part in an educational seminar.

Arthur C. Smith, acting dean for student affairs, expressed his support for the new program. "The idea was brought to my office, and I said, `Fine, let's do it,' " he said. "I hope it will have a variety of effects. Students will be able to have all the protection and information they need in order to guard against AIDS."

Tewhey said he fears that there may be some resistance within the MIT community to the distribution of condoms. "I would suspect that some people on campus will find some objections," he said.

He said this was taken into consideration. "Ultimately, we decided there were sound medical reasons sufficient for going ahead with the program," he explained.

Condoms have been sold through machines in the larger dormitories for several years. The idea to distribute them for free to all interested houses came from Chief of Student Health Services Mark A. Goldstein.