Giving primary school children sex education lessons is a controversial enough idea in America's God-fearing Bible belt. So it is rather unfortunate that a well-intentioned bookmark on the dangers of HIV and Aids has led unwitting Missouri pupils to ring a hardcore sex line.
The telephone number once belonged to Teens Teaching Aids Prevention, part of the Kansas City-based non-profit Good Samaritan Project. The information line went out of service around a year ago, after which it was replaced by the sex hotline, but no one notified Missouri's Department of Health.
Lori Felzien, a St Joseph resident, discovered the mistake when her 11-year-old son dialled the number on a bookmark he had received during a health lesson at Bessie Ellison elementary school. The boy handed his mother the phone and said: "Mom, listen to this." Mrs Felzien told the St Joseph News-Press: "We've got to get these cards out of these kids'
We are sure that Avert, the UK's excellent Aids information charity, would never make such a mistake. But spokeswoman Bonita de Boer did see the positive side: "At least phone sex is safe sex."