Condom access does not increase sexual behavior
Adolescents face many sex-related risks, including unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. Fortunately, these dangers are avoidable when young people have access to accurate knowledge, consistent support and affordable services.
The Condom Availability Program being considered for Buffalo public high schools would provide all of these safeguards. The program would allow high school students whose parents permit them to participate in the program to receive condoms for free from a trusted and informed school nurse who would also counsel the student in sexual risk prevention.
The overwhelming majority of research shows that condom access does not increase sexual behavior, it decreases sexual risk. Adults bear an ethical obligation to care for the youth in our lives and in our communities. To deprive adolescents of empirically proven measures to keep them healthy and safe is a violation of their human rights.
Community members can learn more about the Condom Availability Program and how to support adolescent sexual health by attending a public forum from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday in Merriweather Library.
Laina Y. Bay-Cheng, MSW, Ph.D.
School of Social Work
University at Buffalo