The impact of condom availability [correction of distribution] in Seattle schools on sexual behavior and condom use

Am J Public Health. 1999 Feb;89(2):182-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.2.182.


Objectives: Ten Seattle high schools made condoms available through vending machines, baskets in school clinics, or both. This study measured the number of condoms that students obtained and subsequent changes in sexual behavior and condom use.

Methods: Schoolwide surveys were administered in spring 1993 and in spring 1995, before and during the condom availability program. These data were compared with data from nationally representative surveys administered at the same time.

Results: Seattle students obtained an average of 4.6 condoms per year, the vast majority from baskets and very few from vending machines. Relative to the national samples, the percentage of Seattle students who had ever had sex remained stable after the program began; current sexual activity decreased significantly; and the percentage of sexually experienced students who used a condom the last time they had sex decreased significantly, particularly in the 5 schools with baskets of condoms in clinics.

Conclusions: Making condoms available in Seattle schools enabled students to obtain relatively large numbers of condoms but did not lead to increases in either sexual activity or condom use.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Condoms*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk-Taking
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Sex Education / organization & administration*
  • Sexual Behavior* / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior* / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health
  • Washington