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A pattern of silver condom wrappers on a blue background

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As part of holistic campus wellness efforts, many institutions provide free or low-cost access to sexual health services like condoms, STI testing, pregnancy tests, emergency contraception and more. The challenges lie in getting students to access resources and use them correctly to prevent transmission of disease or unwanted pregnancy.

The spring 2019 National College Health Assessment found 67 percent of respondents had at least one sexual partner within the past 12 months, but only 53 percent used a method of contraception the last time they had vaginal intercourse. In 2021, half of reported cases of sexually transmitted infections were among teens and young adults between 15 to 24 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2021.

Inside Higher Ed collected three ways of providing students with safer-sex materials and resources to promote health and well-being on campus.

  1. Strategic pickup locations

To create easy access to sexual health resources and contraceptives, Dartmouth University created a “safer-sex bar” at the Student Wellness Center. In the center, students can pick up a variety of contraceptive materials in addition to pregnancy tests, gloves, lubricant and informational packets. The university also gives out safer-sex supplies weekly at a pop-up table in the dining hall, along with other mental and physical health resources.

  1. Contraceptive clubs

Rather than simply handing out free contraceptive resources on campus, some colleges and universities offer membership access to safer-sex supplies after students complete some kind of health education content.

St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, for example, requires students to watch a video and take a posttest quiz or visit a Condom Club event and complete an activity around proper condom use and consent. By doing so, the Condom Club doesn’t distribute contraceptive materials without providing health education and a space for students to ask questions and get help, according to the club’s website.

At Northern Arizona University, students must go to the Health Promotion Office, take a pretest, watch a video on condom and barrier safety, and finally complete a posttest, which takes around 10 minutes in total.

After completing the educational portion, a student receives a punch card and their first bag of safer-sex materials. To get more condoms, a student can visit any of NAU’s six Sexual Health Outpost locations around campus with their punch card.

The University of North Texas Condom Club, on the other hand, requires students to take an online quiz to prove their understanding of safer sex. After completion, students can pick up condoms at a vending machine, which asks for their student ID to operate, or visiting the Meadows Center for Health Resources with their ID.

UNT students can get supplies weekly with a condom club membership during the academic term.

  1. Supplies by mail

For students looking for a bit more privacy in their sexual health supply delivery, Simmons University in Boston provides the Safer Sex Express. The Safer Sex Express delivers supplies to students at no cost to reduce barriers to access including cost, inconvenience or embarrassment.

Students fill out an order form online and select which items they’re interested in receiving. Upon submission, a discreet package is shipped to the student around three days later via a campus mail room. Besides the order, the package includes a how-to-use guide, information about consent and where to get STI testing.

Mail-order condoms are common across institutions, all with their own creative names. The University of Utah offers the Pleasure Pack Delivery Service, the University of Connecticut offers gloveBOX, Carleton College offers Junk Mail and Kennesaw State University provides the Condom Concierge.

Do you have a wellness tip that might help others encourage student success? Tell us about it.

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