Perceptions of a campus-wide condom distribution programme: An exploratory study

Health Educ J. 2016 Dec;75(8):998-1011. doi: 10.1177/0017896916648994. Epub 2016 May 20.


Objective: Condom distribution programmes are an important means of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs); yet little research has examined their perceived and actual impact on college campuses.

Design: Quantitative, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Large public university in the Southeastern USA.

Method: Approximately 2 months after a campus-wide condom distribution programme began, we utilised intercept surveys with 355 students (68% women; 43% racial/ethnic minorities) to examine their perceptions of the availability, accessibility and acceptability of condoms, and their perceptions and use of the newly installed condom dispensers.

Results: Students perceived condoms to be available and accessible on campus after implementation of the condom dispensers. Students had heard about the dispensers from other people (36%), through social media (18%) and the campus newspaper (15%). Most students (71%) had seen the dispensers. Almost one in four students (23%) had taken a condom from the dispensers; among those who were sexually active during the 2months that the dispensers were available, 33% had used them. More than one-third of students (37%) - and 53% of sexually active students - indicated intentions to use the dispensers in the next 6months. Multiple regression analysis controlling for age, gender and race revealed that prior condom use, attitudes about the dispensers and comfort with the dispensers were significant predictors of sexually active students' intentions to use the dispensers (p<.001).

Conclusion: Overall, results indicate that over a short time period, this condom distribution programme was successful in reaching students and providing free condoms. Implications for implementing condom distribution programmes on college campuses as well as future directions for research are discussed.

Keywords: Condom availability; HIV/STIs; USA; condom distribution programme; structural interventions; young adults.