No longer, under proposed legislation to bar police from using condoms against prostitutes.
Assembly Bill 336 would disallow possession of one or more condoms as evidence of sexual solicitation in arrests or prosecutions.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends his bill could save lives.
The measure would eliminate the dilemma of sex workers choosing between carrying condoms to prevent disease or abandoning such protection for fear of arrest, according to the San Francisco Democrat.
"We have to encourage safe-sex practices, not frighten people into spreading disease," Ammiano said in a written statement.
AB 336 would not legalize prostitution or bar police from arresting offenders based on other evidence, including presence in suspect areas, manner of dress, approach to cars, or possession of sex toys, lubricants or cash.
"They can still arrest people under the law," Ammiano said. "They would only be prevented from using as evidence the one thing that protects public health: condoms."
PHOTO CREDIT: Nick Mori, a health educator with Sacramento County, opens a packet that includes condoms during a public health fair at Sacramento State. Lezlie Sterling / Sacramento Bee file, 2011