Many Young People "Too Embarrassed" to Buy Condoms to Protect Against STDs, Study Says
December 22, 2004
Many young people are hesitant to buy condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases because they say they are "too embarrassed" by the experience, according to a study published in the Social Science Journal, the New York Times reports. Kimberly Brackett of Auburn University asked about 250 University of Florida students to buy condoms and then write a paper about the experience. If a student did not purchase condoms, they were asked to write about why they chose not to purchase them. According to the study, 25 students said they were unable to buy condoms, including one woman who cited having "too much embarrassment," according to the Times. Many of the 78 men and 176 women who did buy condoms said they were buying condoms for the first time, and many students said they were embarrassed during the experience, although men reported less embarrassment. Some men and women sought out a clerk of the same sex, tried to conceal the condom box or bought other items to distract attention. In addition, both men and women looked out for other customers while buying the condoms, although more women than men waited for other customers to leave, and more women brought friends along as "allies" during the purchase, according to the study, the Times reports. The study said that some women "told the clerk at the time of purchase that it was for an assignment so the clerk wouldn't get the 'wrong idea.'" Students reporting the least embarrassment said that buying condoms was the "responsible thing to do," according to the Times. Brackett said that more students might buy condoms if it is "stressed" as responsible behavior, the Times reports (Nagourney, New York Times, 12/21).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.