Impact of Condom Availability on Students in High Schools


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Impact of Condom Availability on Students in High Schools

Making condoms available to high school teenagers has provoked considerable debate. However, there is little evidence of the effects of this move. Since 1995, schools in the United States of America have established condom availability programs to combat teenage pregnancy, the spread of HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases among students. This had varying reception in different districts, as some adopted the program, while others were reluctant to adopt this. This essay will focus on the effects of condom distribution in high schools. This will involve the teenagers’ perception of this program, and how this influences their sexual behaviors, and decisions. Using past studies on this issue, this discussion will find out if condom availability programs in high schools have met their objectives or not.

According to Schuster, Bell, Berry, and Kanouse, each day, American teenagers risk unwanted pregnancies, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases by participating in unprotected sex (67). Most sexually active teenagers do not consider the precautions, as well as the repercussions often involved in this. This is an uncontrollable fact, and so the best way to ensure their safety is by making protection available to them. This has however raised a lot of controversy, leading to a heated debate on the same. The proponents of condom availability programs argue that providing condoms to teenagers will lower their risks of unwanted pregnancies, HIV, and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Those opposed to this program argue that condom availability will compromise the teenager’s sexual decisions and plunge them into promiscuity. This move also presents an assumption that schools condone teenage sex, and this encourages teens to engage in sexual activity (Schuster, Bell, Berry, and Kanouse 68).

The impact of condom distribution to teens in high schools is unclear and raises a number of questions. The American Academy of Pediatrics was the pioneer of the idea of condom distribution in schools, arguing that schools were the most appropriate place for condoms to reach the teenagers. However, because of the mounting controversies raised by this idea, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that appropriate research be done on this issue, in order to evaluate it. Owing to this, different researches and studies have been conducted to evaluate the viability of this program. These revealed a variety of results. One study revealed that the response of students on these programs was favorable. However, males made most use of the condoms than females. In another study, an increase in the use of condoms was realized. However, no change in the students’ sexual activity was realized (American Academy of Pediatrics 1464-1467).

Ideally, it is the role of parents to educate their teenage children on sexual matters. This responsibility has however transferred to teachers, since teens spend a considerable amount of their time in schools and not at home. This is incorporated in schools’ sex education. Most schools take different approaches in teaching sex education. Some insist on abstinence, while others are for both abstinence and protected sex. Those that encourage abstinence do not avail condoms to their students. On the other hand, those that advocate for both abstinence and protected sex will always make condoms available to their students in order for them to practice safe sex. Every year, a considerable number of teenagers fall victim to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections due to lack of knowledge, and the unavailability of condoms within their reach. This therefore suggests that high schools need to teach their students on the use of condoms, and make condoms available to them. Failure to do this will not solve the problems related to teenage sexuality.

In 1986, a survey was undertaken on teenage sex, and the results showed that condoms would influence positively on teenage sexual behavior if they were easily accessible, free, and there was a guarantee for confidentiality. Another study was conducted in 1997 to compare sex behavior in schools that availed condoms to students (New York), and those that did not (Chicago). The results showed that availability of condoms to students did not increase their sexual activity; rather, there was a marked increase in the use of condoms by students. This therefore shows that, if this trend of condom use persists among the teens, then the levels of contracting HIV, STDs, and teen pregnancies will drop. Another effect of this is that high school drop outs will decrease, since teenage pregnancy is the major causal factor of school dropouts. From this, condom availability in high schools becomes a commendable investment (Goldstein and Goldstein 259-271).

Adult opinion on this issue varies widely, based on their religious views, morale, and values. Most religious parents argue against this program quoting the holy books on the wrongs of premarital sex. They feel undermined when teachers teach their children what they always warn them against. This makes the teenagers to be confused on what path to follow, and so are left in a moral dilemma. All this emanates from the different views held by the church and the state. These two are always in a contradictory state. If the state feels that condom distribution in high school is beneficial, and the religious parents feel otherwise, such parents, who will advise their children against using contraceptives, will thwart the efforts of the state. This may risk increasing cases of sexually transmitted infections, as well as teenage pregnancies. Generally, condom distribution programs in high schools have become as controversial as the teenage sex itself.

The society itself to some level bears the blame for teenage sex. First, the media has become a hub of explicit sexual content. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2001 showed that 84% of situation comedy on the television shows is composed of sexual experiences. This pollutes teenage minds. Modern music, movies, and literature influences negatively on teenagers’ sexual behavior, as the content is highly sexual. This increases their chances of engaging in sexual activity. Without condoms, they will engage in unprotected sex, since today is a culture of sex (Schuster, Bell, Berry, and Kanouse 72).

To this end, condom availability programs are wrong, yet they are not required. They are not intended to violate the rights of parents in upbringing of their children. These voluntary programs may contradict the religious and moral beliefs of individual students or parents, but are not imposed on them. Funding should therefore be made possible for comprehensive sex education in schools, since high school is a place teenagers learn academics as well as how to transverse to adulthood. However, abstinence should be enforced, as well as condom use.

In conclusion, sex availability programs in high schools have met strong opposition from parents and the religious groups, as they were expected to increase the teenagers’ sex activity. Ideally, teenagers should not engage in sexual activity. However, effects of teenage sex today are manifest in teen pregnancies and STD’s. Condoms should therefore be availed in schools in order to save teenage lives. Denying this based on morality issues will result in more teenage deaths due to STDs as well as more cases of teenage pregnancies. Adolescence abstinence alternatives may serve the nation well.


Works Cited

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. “Condom Use by Adolescents.”

Pediatrics 107. 6 (2001): 1463-1469.

Goldstein, Myrna, and Goldstein, Mark. “Controversies in the Practice of Medicine.”

New York: Greenwood Publishing Group. 2001. Print.

Schuster, Mark, A., Bell, Robert, M., Berry, Sandra, H, and Kanouse, David, E. “Impact of a

High School Condom Availability Program on Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.” Family

Planning Perspectives 30. 2 (1998): 67-88.


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