Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Condoms in Schools Don't Boost Teen Sex

Key is Making Condom Programs Part of Overall Sex Education, Says One Expert

More Evidence That Condom Giveaways Work continued...

"Actually, multiple studies consistently show that making condoms available to students does not increase any measure of their sexual behavior -- whether the teens have sex, how frequently they have it, or the number of partners they have," Douglas Kirby, PhD, tells WebMD. "And some studies, including one that I conducted involving thousands of Seattle high school students show, as Susan's study does, that the percentage of teens having sex declined after condoms were made available to them."

Kirby, senior research scientist for ETR Associates, a non-profit California company that does research on sex and health education programs, also conducted another study that evaluated all previous research -- some 73 studies in all -- measuring how giving out condoms in schools, along with other sex-education programs, affected patterns of teenaged sexual behavior.

"In every study, these programs did not increase sexual behavior," he says. "In some, but not all, the rates of sexual behavior actually decreased when condoms were made available to students. And in some, but not all, these programs led to increased condom and contraception use in teens who were already having sex."

When he collected that data, published in May 2001 for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, there were "hundreds" of schools in the U.S. that had condom-availability programs. But it's hard to determine how many schools still have them; there is no national clearinghouse that collects these statistics. "And some schools are beginning to make them available that didn't before, some that once did no longer do," says Kirby.

Better as Part of Overall Program

But how programs that give out condoms in schools are operated or integrated into other sex education initiatives seems to impact their effectiveness at lowering sexual activity and rates of unprotected sex, says another expert.

"You can see the most positive effects when condom-distribution programs are part of or integrated with a broader sexuality and sex education program," says David Landry, researcher at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis, and public education. It also publishes the peer-reviewed medical journal, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, where much of this research is published.

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
pregnancy test and calendar
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result