Condom Distribution Programs

Condom distribution programs (CDPs) are an HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention strategy that helps increase the availability, accessibility, accessibility of condoms in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV.

photo of a row of condoms hanging on a clothesline

About Condom Distribution Programs

Condom distribution is a cost-effective structural intervention that provides communities with resources needed to prevent the spread of HIV. Making condoms widely available through condom distribution programs (CDPs) is integral to successful HIV prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires select funding recipients to implement CDPs as part of a larger HIV prevention strategy.

Strategy Goals

  • Identify the internal and external factors that will help build an effective CDP:
    • Venues frequented by persons at high risk for HIV and STD.
    • Communities at greatest risk for HIV infection, especially those marginalized by social, economic, or other structural conditions.
    • The general population within jurisdictions with high HIV incidence.
  • Develop a process for identifying and engaging appropriate community partners and agencies that plan, implement, manage, or provide resources to support your program.
  • Identify difficulties, such as reaching members of vulnerable or hard-to-reach populations and strategies to overcome those challenges.
  • Conduct an evaluation to identify any structural barriers and ensure that condoms are available in the locations where members of the target population are found (e.g., pharmacies, condom dispensing machines, outreach workers).
  • Ensure CDP is accessible in venues frequented by the target population (e.g. massive distribution of free condoms).
  • Ensure that CDP is acceptable to community members and in alignment with social norms (e.g. social marketing of condoms).
  • Calculate the costs and determine the scale of your CDP.
  • Identify the laws, policies, or practices that may support or hinder a CDP.
  • Define programmatic objectives, key indicators (e.g., number of condoms distributed) for measuring the program’s performance, and define how data will be collected.
  • Identify number of agencies, venues, or settings where free condoms are distributed.
  • Identify estimated number of audience impressions from campaign messages.

Essential Elements

To design and implement an effective structural-level CDP, organizations are encouraged to adhere to the following elements:

  • Provide condoms free of charge.
  • Conduct wide-scale distribution.
  • Implement a social marketing campaign to promote condom use.
  • Conduct promotion and distribution activities at the individual, organizational, and environmental levels.
  • Supplement the CDP with more intense risk-reduction interventions and services.
  • Integrate distribution program activities within other community-level interventions.
  • Establish organizational support for condom distribution and promotion activities.
  • Conduct community-wide mobilization efforts.

Target Population

Communities at greatest risk for HIV infection.

CDP Training

There is no CDC-supported training currently available for CDP. Technical assistance for CDP implementation is available.

To request technical assistance:

  1. CDC’s directly funded health department and CBO partners may request technical assistance by submitting a request in the CBA Tracking System.
  2. Organizations not directly funded by CDC may contact their local health department for assistance in submitting a request.

If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact DHAPCBB@cdc.gov.

CDP Resources

  • Health Department CDPs
    • NYC Condom

      NYC Condomexternal icon: Managed by the New York City Department of Health, NYC Condom provides free male and female condoms, personal lubricant, dental dams, and finger cots to eligible organizations. Its website provides information about the program, an eligibility determination form, an on-line request form, CDP FAQs, product descriptions, and links to general information about male and female condoms, HIV, AIDS, and STDs. Other services include:

      • A list of organizations (searchable by borough and zip code) that provide free male condoms, female condoms, and lubricant;
      • Contact information, including email addresses and a 311-telephone line;
      • Resources for confidential testing, female condoms, emergency contraception, HIV and STD testing centers, and other public health organizations focusing on sexual and reproductive health;
      • An online order form where eligible organizations can request free condoms and lubricant; and
      • Social marketing tools of their NYC Condom media campaigns, including TV spots, subway ads, posters, and web banner ads available in both English and Spanish.
    • DC Health, Government of the District of Columbia

      DC Health and Wellness Centerexternal icon: Managed by the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration, the DC Health and Wellness Center provides free condoms and lubricant packages to individuals and organizations. Its Sex Positiveexternal icon website offers a variety of tools designed for the DC community to easily educate itself and obtain free safe sex resources, including:

    • Department of Public Health, City of Philadelphia

      Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH)external icon: To ensure that free condoms are available for anyone who requests them, PDPH provides condoms for distribution to more than 100 unique sites across the city. Agencies can become a condom distribution site by filling out a registration form. Like DC Health, PDPH also operates a social media website, Take Control Phillyexternal icon, where persons can find information about STDs, the importance of condom use, how to have condoms sent through the mail, and how to find more information on Facebook and Twitter. The site also features maps of free condom distribution sites. Check out these resources in action!

  • Community-Based CDPs
    • San Francisco AIDS Foundationexternal icon: The San Francisco AIDS Foundation has given away millions of condoms and packets of lubrication to individuals, businesses, agencies, and organizations in the City and County of San Francisco. Its website provides extensive information about the Foundation, including HIV and STD testing resources, counseling and case management, syringe access and disposal, and an online list of locationsexternal icon providing free condoms and safer sex supplies.
    • AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF’s) Love Condoms Campaignexternal icon: According to its website, AHF’s Love Condoms Campaign is designed to “promote widespread access, usage, and acceptance of condoms as a vital component of Global AIDS Control.” To do so, AHF not only provides condoms to individuals and organizations, but it actively engages communities throughout the world via social media and advocacy. AHF hosts an annual International Condom Day with events hosted worldwide where advocates and staff with the campaign give away free condoms to the public. In 2018, AHF distributed more than 600 million condoms in more than 37 countries.
      Outreach materials available to distribution partners include an online order form for individuals and organizations and educational resources pertaining to the proper use of condoms and the prevention of HIV. For more information, contact AHF at 6255 W. Sunset Boulevard, 21st Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90028, or (323) 860-5200.
  • Risk Reduction Interventions with Condom Distribution Elements
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several evidence-based interventions that are designed to increase the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of condoms:
  • PROMISE for HIP targets a variety of populations; includes identification of community needs and potential target populations, creation of role model stories from individuals who have made positive HIV/STD behavior change, and distribution of these role model stories and condoms by peer advocates.
  • ConnectHIP educates heterosexual couples about communication, problem-solving, and negotiation skills through videos, discussion, coaching, goal setting, and practice; includes condom demonstrations and free condoms at each session.
  • d-up: Defend Yourself! is an intervention designed by and for black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) that promotes social norms of condom use through endorsement by trained opinion leaders and assists in recognizing and addressing risk-related racial and sexual bias in order to increase self-worth.
  • Healthy Relationships for HIV-positive men and women has been shown to increase self-efficacy for suggesting condom use with new partners and decrease risky sexual behavior through provision of personal feedback reports (to motivate change of risky behaviors and continuance of protective behaviors) and movie clips of disclosure and risk reduction scenarios, including a condom demonstration (to stimulate discussion and role plays).
  • Many Men, Many Voices (3MV) is for MSM of color who may or may not identify as gay. 3MV addresses factors that influence their behavior including cultural, social, and religious norms, interactions between HIV and other STDs, and sexual relationship dynamics, and seeks to increase skills, self-efficacy, and intentions regarding protective behaviors.
  • Mpowerment is a multi-system, multi-level intervention designed to reduce HIV risk and improve the health and well-being of young gay and bisexual men. The intervention addresses the social, structural, and behavioral determinants that contribute to HIV risk through a combination of individual, group, and community activities. Condom distribution is an essential component of Mpowerment’s formal outreach activities, which take place in community spaces frequented by young gay men. The intervention also seeks to change social norms in the communities in which it operates, which includes but is not limited to efforts to promote the acceptability of condom use during sexual encounters.
  • Project START+ provides HIV prevention activities for persons with HIV who are returning to the community after incarceration; the offer of condoms is part of all post-release sessions.
  • VOICES/VOCES for MSM is a single-session effective behavioral intervention targeting African American and Latino MSM attending STD clinics. Core elements focus on condom use negotiation, overcoming barriers to condom use, education about different types of condoms and their features, and distributing condoms that best meet each participant’s needs.
  • WILLOW is an intervention that targets women living with HIV. WILLOW’s goals include enhancing awareness of STD transmission and HIV reinfection risk behaviors, teaching communication skills for negotiating safe sex, and reinforcing proper and consistent condom use.