Teens today are pretty well-informed when it comes to protecting themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They know they should use a condom every time they have sex and they know why. So why aren’t Washington, D.C. teens taking advantage of the Department of Health’s school‐based free condom distribution program?
According to focus groups conducted by the Youth Sexual Health Project, one reason D.C. high schoolers are rejecting the free condoms is because they don’t like the brand of condom being offered.
The free condom program provides students with free Lifestyles and Durex brands, but the kids want Trojans. While they think Durex condoms are more likely to “pop or break,” they say they trust the Trojans because they “are of better quality and offer more protection.” In particular, they like the Trojan Magnums because they are perceived as being thicker and less likely to break.
Despite the fact that they don’t like the brands being offered, teens in the focus group said they think condoms should not be something they have to pay for out of their own pockets. They feel condoms are too expensive and this, they say, dissuades them from using them at all.
But while school-based free condom programs are still a controversial idea for many, the focus group participants would like to see it greatly expanded. They believe that the government should provide free condoms to everyone. In other words, they would like to see a government mandated sex protection program.