Does the promotion and distribution of condoms increase teen sexual activity? Evidence from an HIV prevention program for Latino youth

Am J Public Health. 1994 Dec;84(12):1952-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.12.1952.


Objectives: Opponents of condom availability programs argue that the promotion and distribution of condoms increases adolescent sexual activity. This assertion was tested empirically with data from the evaluation of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention program for Latino adolescents.

Methods: The onset of sexual activity, changes in the frequency of sex, and changes in the proportion of respondents with multiple partners were compared for intervention and comparison groups. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the effect of the intervention on these outcomes after adjustment for baseline differences between the intervention and comparison groups.

Results: Male respondents in the intervention city were less likely than those in the comparison city to initiate first sexual activity (odds ratio [OR] = 0.08). Female respondents in the intervention city were less likely to have multiple partners (OR = 0.06). The program promoting and distributing condoms had no effect on the onset of sexual activity for females, the chances of multiple partners for males, or the frequency of sex for either males or females.

Conclusions: An HIV prevention program that included the promotion and distribution of condoms did not increase sexual activity among the adolescents in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior* / ethnology
  • Condoms*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Education
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior* / ethnology