An eight-page government AIDS pamphlet being mailed to every U.S. household is a straight-talking attempt to educate Americans about the deadly disease, including the role condoms can play in preventing its spread, the nation's health chief said Wednesday.
"The brochure lays out the facts of what everyone needs to know," Health and Human Services Secretary Otis R. Bowen said in an interview."It's written in plain, easy, straightforward language that is at about the 12-to-13-year-old reading level," said Bowen. "It doesn't mince words, yet it is in good taste. It stresses proper behavior and it stresses values and responsibilities."
He said the brochure seeks to emphasize how AIDS is and is not transmitted and "to get the message out that it is behavior that puts one at risk."
"It's not who you are," he said, "it's what you do."
Bowen declined to reveal specific phrases from the pamphlet in advance of its unveiling at a news conference later in the day, but acknowledged there is a section on condoms.
"Yes, the word condom is used," Bowen said.
He added that the material was prepared under the guidance of a variety of federal officials, including Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who was appearing with Bowen at the news conference.
As of Jan. 25, 1988, AIDS had been diagnosed in 51,916 Americans, of whom more than half, or 28,965, have died since 1979, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. No one is known to have recovered from AIDS.