Philadelphia schools install condom dispensers to combat STD epidemic
Twenty-two schools in Philadelphia, Pa., will have free condom dispensers installed in an effort to fight what officials have called "an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease," reported The Huffington Post. This follows up on an STD testing program in the city that provided teenagers with free, confidential and voluntary STD tests, which found that 5 percent of the 130,000 students who received testing in the last five years tested positive for STDs and HIV, noted ABC News.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city has given out about 4 million condoms since April 2011, and STD rates have declined as a result. However, Donald Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity, told the news source that 25 percent of the city's new STD cases are teens, which is why these additional steps have been taken.
The new free condom policy has outraged some parents, who believe that giving out the condoms to students will serve to promote sexual behavior. But school officials pointed out that while parents can sign a waiver to opt their children out of the program, teens will have sex despite whether condoms are easily accessible.
The CDC states that almost half of American high school students reported having sex at least once in their lives in a 2011 survey, and 15 percent of those students had sexual relationships with four or more people.