Missouri: University to Distribute Free Condoms in Campus Bathrooms
September 28, 2006
On Sept. 22, officials of the University of Missouri-Columbia announced the school would become the first in the Big 12 Conference to offer free condoms in residence hall bathrooms. The condoms will be placed in baskets with wallet-sized educational packets, according the Residential Life officials.
"Since we are sexual-health advocates, we feel it is necessary to have the information along with the condoms," said Heather Mueller, a health educator at the Student Health Center. Mueller said the Columbia/Boone County Health Department will supply the condoms. A fraternity suggested the program, which is similar to a project at Harvard University.
The university already distributes condoms at the Student Health Center, the Women's Center and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center. Mueller said the Health Advocate Peer Education program, a group she coordinates, pushed for HIV awareness and wider contraception availability.
A campus survey of 100 black students this year showed support for increased access to condoms, said Christopher Keller, president of Phi Beta Sigma, a traditionally black fraternity. Mueller said her research showed some students were embarrassed to ask for a condom, and that the STD rate was higher among blacks. "Let's face the facts: People are having sex, and let's do something about it," said Keller, a senior.
Mueller said campus staff would restock supplies in the 200 residential hall bathrooms throughout the semester. No one has registered a complaint about the program, which will be evaluated in an online survey at the end of term.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.