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Condom Distribution as a Structural Level Intervention

October 21, 2010

Scientific Support for Condom Distribution

Individual-level and group-level risk reduction interventions are effective in increasing condom use and reducing unprotected sex. These types of interventions, however, focus on an individual's personal risk and do not address barriers beyond the individual, such as not having access to condoms. Structural-level interventions are particularly attractive in HIV prevention efforts because they are designed to address external factors that impact personal risk for HIV. A recent meta-analysis, reviewing the scientific literature on structural-level interventions aiming to increase the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of condoms, found that:

CD programs have been shown to be cost-effective and cost saving. It was estimated that one state-wide CD program led to saving millions of dollars in future medical care costs by preventing HIV infections.

Programmatic Considerations for Condom Distribution

Programs should consider implementing CD programs in their communities. As resources and capacity warrant, programs should also consider integrating a CD program with other HIV prevention strategies and health care services as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention approach.

Those interested in designing and implementing a CD program should consider including these elements:

Important issues to consider while planning and designing a CD program are:

Snapshots of Existing CD Programs

New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)

District of Columbia (DC) Department of Health: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, & TB Administration (HAHSTA)

Next Steps

CDC has identified additional examples of condom distribution programs implemented in various settings that may be useful to agencies interested in initiating or augmenting their condom distribution programs. Those examples, along with additional resources, will be included in a Condom Distribution Toolkit that CDC intends to publish in early 2011.

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