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Chiropractic Research Review

Does Access to Condoms Increase Adolescents' Sexual Activity?

HIV infection remains a health threat to adolescents. This study compared rates of sexual activity and condom use among New York City students (where public high schools have a condom-availability program) with rates among similar students in Chicago, which has no such program.

The subjects of the study were 7,119 public high school students in New York City and 5,738 in Chicago.

Most were 15 to 17 years old and there were slightly more girls than boys. Hispanic/Latino students constituted 28% of the sample; 47% were African-American or blacks from English-speaking Caribbean countries. The results of the study suggest that making condoms available in high schools increases condom use but doesnt cause students to engage in more sexual activity, which has been a fear of opponents of condom-availability programs.

The conclusions of this study are that "making condoms available does not encourage students who have never had sex to become sexually active. In addition, adding condom availability to an HIV/AIDS education program has a significant, although modest, relationship to condom use, particularly among students with multiple partners." The authors feel that instituting and expanding condom-availability programs merits policy consideration because their findings show such programs can lower the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among urban teens in the U.S.

Guttmacher S, Lieberman L, Ward D. Does access to condoms influence adolescent sexual behavior? The Aids Reader, 1998;8(4), pp201-205, 209. [Internet: http://pediatrics.medscape.com/SCP/TAR/1998/v08.n04/a5042.gutt/a5042.gutt-01.html]

Chiropractic Research Review

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