Condom Availability Programs (CAPs) in Schools: Things to Consider

A group of students

One of the most effective actions sexually active youth can take to reduce their risk for HIV and STD infection and unintended pregnancy is to use condoms correctly every time they have sex.

However, despite an increase in condom use during the 1990s and early 2000s, condom use among sexually active youth has decreased to levels similar to the early 1990s.1

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Research shows that condom availability programs (CAPs) do not increase sexual activity and can be an appropriate and relevant school-based intervention for increasing condom use among teens who are sexually active.2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified action steps for schools and districts considering CAPs. These steps can be effective whether your program is for the entire school district or just one school and can be used to start a new program or improve an existing one. The strategies are based on research literature, expert experience, and successful program examples.

Action Steps to Start or Improve CAPs

  1. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Trends in the prevalence of sexual behavior and HIV testing National YRBS: 1991–2015pdf icon. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  2. Andrzejewski J, Liddon N, Leonard S. Condom availability programs in schools: A review of the literature. Am J Health Promotion. 2019;33(3):457-467.
  3. School-Based Health Alliance. (2015). National School-Based Health Care Census, 2013-2014external icon. Washington, DC: School-Based Health Alliance; 2015. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  4. Kohler PK, Manhart LE, Lafferty WE. Abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education in the initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy. J Adolesc Health. 2008;42:344-351.
  5. Kirby DB, Laris BA, Rolleri LA. Sex and HIV education programs: Their impact on sexual behaviors of young people throughout the world. J Adolesc Health. 2007;40:206-217.
  6. Schuster MA, Bell RM, Berry SH, Kanouse DE. Students’ acquisition and use of school condoms in a high school condom availability program. Pediatrics. 1997;100(4):689-694.
  7. De Rosa CJ, Jeffries RA, Afifi AA, Cumberland WG, Chung EQ, Kerndt PR, Dittus PJ. Improving the implementation of a condom availability program in urban high schools. J Adolesc Health. 2012;51(6):572-579.