Condom availability on campus: Scratching the surface of a bigger issue

ASU supplies free condoms, but could they be doing more to help students' sexual health?

ASU, like many universities across the country, claims to support safe sex across campus, but some students have spoken out to claim otherwise.

Staff members at the ASU medical centers said that there are condoms available for free in the centers, but students said it's not enough.

Health education junior Marisa LeBret said she thinks the ratio of condom availability to students living on campus is off.

"(Condoms) are available in the health services office in a bowl and the Well Devil Ambassadors that live in Taylor Place have them as well," she said. "With the number of students living on campus and attending classes, the availability is out of proportion."

LeBret said she thinks another issue with ASU's condom distribution system is the lack of sexual health education provided to students. When students go to get a condom, it is usually just handed to them with little to no information about how to properly use it or any materials or information about safe sex.

"Dorm residents may trust their Community Assistant (CA) and feel okay about asking them for condoms rather than seeking out someone they don't know," she said. "However, not everyone is comfortable educating and possibly demonstrating how to use them."

She said she thinks that the educational aspect is just as important as the protection itself.

Many of the students who have complained about this lack of condom availability have brought up ideas for possible solutions.

Some students have brought up the idea of a free condom delivery service for students.

According to Twitter, a condom delivery service has been started at ASU.

A group of students saw the issue their fellow students have discussed and anonymously decided to do something about it.

The service, however, is not free. They charge for the condoms: $5 for three, and $9 for 12.

Of 140 schools that were ranked on sexual health programs, ASU didn't rank too poorly, according to Trojan Condoms' 2016 Sexual Health Report Card. ASU sat at number 30, about a fifth of the way down the list, and 26 spots higher than where it sat last year, at number 56.

The number one school on the list is the University of Georgia, which has an outstanding program for sexual health education and supplies.

The school has a program that seems to mirror the delivery program idea even more closely than the ASU Express Condoms program.

UGA has a program for students called Condom Express, which they say provides "a free, discreet, mail-delivery service to UGA students living in residence halls." Students in Greek housing or living off-campus are not eligible for the free delivery, but they can still order "safer sex supplies" to be delivered for pickup at the University Health Center.

"For our program we utilize free campus mail which picks up from the Health Center each week day morning at 9:30 a.m.," UGA sexual health coordinator Katy Janousek said. "Deliveries are then made to residence hall mailrooms that same afternoon."

Each order from Condoms Express includes male condoms, female condoms, dental dams, lubricants, instructions for use and educational information on sexual health.

Some students involved in sexual health advocation on campus, however, do not think a delivery service is the best idea. 

"While I think it's an interesting idea, I'm not sure how financially feasible it is, unless students could order them in advance and have them sent to their dorm P.O. box or something," Kiana Ghazouli, computer science junior and social media chair for Voices of Planned Parenthood (VOX) at ASU, said. 

Ghazouli said that VOX tables around campus and hands out free condoms, but she still thinks ASU's sexual health program is lacking.

"I think that the biggest thing is having them available in the residence halls because students are paying to live on campus, and that is supposed to be a convenience to them," she said. "But having them available for purchase in the P.O.D. markets should be a minimum requirement."


Reach the reporter at aegeland@asu.edu or follow @alexisegeland Twitter.

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