I am writing in reference to the article Alexander Marra wrote for the March 31 issue of The Commonwealth Times (“Rubbers for Rams”). I was concerned with how willing you were to endanger people’s lives by taking the moral high ground. You attacked a program that you appeared to have little knowledge about and offered no solutions.
Firstly, as you presented the situation in your column, you asked the nurse at the health center about the condoms. She offered you the condoms only after you expressed interest. These individuals who work at the health office are not peddling sex nor are they forcing condoms down people’s throats.
I agree it is a disappointment that VCU cannot provide all the students with as much paper as they want, but the VCU health office operates under a separate budget from the rest of the school. The paper shortages have to do with the decreased amount of money that each school and each program has had to deal with. Eliminating condoms would not get you more paper. The money freed by doing that would just fund a different student-health program. Maybe to you that may not be such a bad thing and perhaps it isn’t.
But, consider this, last year Richmond, Va. was the gonorrhea capital of the United States. In a city with more cases of gonorrhea per capita then any other area in the United States, there is more of a solution in making protection available then spouting off moral objections to other people’s sexual habits. Though you mention how condoms are “only slightly effective in reducing transmission of disease,” you fail to mention any data to support your claim. True, you do have to attack a problem at its root, but the cure for AIDS has not yet been discovered and in the meantime health officials have to do what they can to prevent the disease from spreading. Part of that is getting condoms to people who otherwise might not use them. It is about saving lives even if you don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle choice.