Send to

Choose Destination
Fam Plann Perspect. 1996 Sep-Oct;28(5):196-202.

Condom availability programs in U.S. schools.

Author information

American Institutes for Research, Palo Alto, Calif, USA.


School condom availability programs have been promoted as a promising approach for increasing condom use among students, for reducing the risk of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus and with other sexually transmitted diseases and for preventing unintended pregnancy. Data from a telephone survey of key individuals at school condom programs across the United States suggest that as of January 1995, at least 431 public schools in 50 U.S. school district made condoms available-2.2% of all public high schools and 0.3% of high school districts. In about half of the schools that were surveyed, students obtained more than one condom per student per year, on average, and in 14% students obtained more than six. Students in alternative schools, in smaller schools, in schools that made condoms available in baskets and in schools with health clinics obtained more condoms per student per year than did students in other schools.


Despite emerging consensus that school-based programs have the potential to create an environment that promotes and facilitates adolescent condom use, the availability of such programs has not been documented. Thus, four data sources were utilized in an effort to identify all school-based condom distribution programs in the US: state departments of education, lists from institutions knowledgeable about such programs, networking with professionals in the field, and interviews with staff members at known programs. This process resulted in the identification of 431 schools (92% high schools) in 50 school districts in 21 states with condom availability programs as of January 1995. This represents only 2.2% of all US high schools and 0.3% of high school districts. 24% of these schools had school health centers as well. 81% of programs were implemented in 1991-92 in Los Angeles and New York City as a result of mandates aimed at reducing human immunodeficiency virus transmission among young people. In most schools, the condom distribution program was part of a more comprehensive program aimed at preventing unprotected intercourse and its consequences. Parental consent and counseling are common requirements for condom acquisition. Also common are restrictions on the hours condoms are distributed and the number that can be taken at one time. The median number of condoms obtained per school year was 1.1 per student. Three program variables were highly related to this number: making condoms available in bowls or baskets (4.8 more condoms per student compared to schools lacking this anonymous distribution technique), the presence of a school health clinic (1.5 more condoms per student), and condom vending machines (3.1 fewer condoms per student). Condom acquisition was also greater in smaller schools and alternative schools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for The Alan Guttmacher Institute
Loading ...
Support Center