A study conducted by the NYU Department of Health Studies, the Hunter College Center on AIDS, Drugs and Community Health, and the Academy for Educational Development has concluded that free condom giveaways in high schools do not encourage more sexual activity among students.
The study of nearly 13,000 students in Chicago and New York, released today in the American Journal of Public Health, said “The fear that making condoms available will increase sexual activity, a primary obstacle to making condoms available to high school students, appears to be unfounded.”
The study showed that whether or not condoms are given away at high schools, rates of sexual activity are the same. The difference between the high schools was that when sexually active students had access to condoms, they used them more often. In terms of AIDS and STD prevention, the study’s findings reinforce the teachings of safe-sex advocates. “This is a very low cost AIDS prevention program,” said Sally Guttmacher, principal investigator of the study.
New York City schools were the first to distribute condoms in 1991, and many cities have adopted the practice since then. “We have found that making condoms available doesn’t do harm and does some good,” said Guttmacher.