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J Adolesc Health. 1995 Sep;17(3):184-8.

The benefits of school-based condom availability: cross-sectional analysis of a comprehensive high school-based program.

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Dept. of Pediatrics, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Denver, CO 80218, USA.



To analyze the benefits of a school-based condom availability program relative to the risks that such a program may incur.


A confidentially-administered survey instrument was completed by 152 randomly selected high-school students (approximately 14% of the entire student population).


The respondents had a mean age of 15.9 years (range: 14-19 years) and a proportionate gender distribution. Ninety-three percent of all respondents had "heard of" the school's program and knew from whom they could receive condoms. Twenty-six percent of the respondents had received condoms from the program with 67% using them. Of those receiving condoms but not using them, more than half did not need them, owing to absence of anticipated sexual activity. Of the nonreceivers, 53% had never had sexual intercourse and 27% received condoms from other sources. The benefit of the program by aiding a sexually-active student was found to be more than three times as great as the risk of encouraging a nonsexually active student to have sexual intercourse (RR = 3.2; 95% C.I. = 2.1, 4.9). The prevalence of sexual activity among all respondents was not significantly higher than the state's average based on gender and age (59.8% vs. 54.5%; z = 1.24, p > .05, n.s.).


Given the lack of increased sexual activity and the favorable benefit-risk ratio, we conclude that school-based condom availability is successfully utilized by sexually-active adolescents and may be an effective means to reduce potentially harmful outcomes, such as unintended pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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