Condom Distribution Programs
distribution programs (CDPs) are a type of structural intervention that involve the distribution of
condoms as a mechanism to prevent HIV transmission. CDPs have been shown to be most effective in preventing STIs
and HIV when implemented as a component of a larger education and prevention strategy. Proper
use of condoms during sexual encounters greatly reduces the chance that an HIV-positive person will
infect his/her partner with HIV. According
to the CDC, CDPs “have been proven to increase condom use, prevent HIV/STIs, and save money.”
CDPs are considered a structural intervention because they aim to change the environment by improving access to
and acceptance of condoms as a mechanism to prevent HIV transmission. Most often these types of programs are
implemented as a prevention strategy in conjunction with health promotion, education, and other risk-reduction
interventions. CDC outlines several important components of effective CDPs,
- Offering free condoms
- Promoting and distributing widely in the community
- Embedding CDPs in other community-wide prevention efforts and events
- Combining CDPs with other HIV risk-reduction strategies
Rural organizations and health departments may distribute condoms and other risk-reduction supplies during
education and testing events. For example, one rural community-based organization organized a prevention
education team that works with regional partners to offer education programs and risk reduction supplies in
regional high schools and universities.
Examples of Rural Condom Distribution Programs:
Chattanooga CARES implements a condom
distribution program as part of its prevention, education, and outreach programs. As part of these programs,
CARES uses the CDC evidence-based intervention Healthy
Relationships, which incorporates condom distribution by conducting outreach to people who are
living with HIV to suggest condom use with new partners and to change other risky behaviors. This
intervention has been shown to effectively decrease risky sexual behaviors.
Intervention, a program included in the CDC's Compendium of
Evidence-Based Interventions, incorporates a condom distribution service within their
community-level HIV prevention program. Young gay men serve as peer outreach workers and educate other young
gay men in small-group settings on proper condom use and offer free condoms.
Maine Health Equity Alliance is a
nonprofit organization serving rural counties of Maine that offers a condom and dental dam distribution
program in all of their offices free of charge. In addition to these services, the organization also offers
free, anonymous sexual health consultations; case management services; and a syringe exchange program in an
effort to prevent HIV transmission.
In North Carolina, a community-based participatory research partnership implemented and studied the impact of HoMBReS on condom use and
HIV testing. HoMBReS is a CDC evidence-based
intervention that was designed for the Latino population in the United States. In this research
partnership, health workers promoted condom use in Hispanic/Latino men. The program has since successfully
been replicated with other population groups and in other communities.
Considerations for Implementation
Condom distribution and education about their use is a well-known HIV prevention strategy. Still, in some
locations, implementing programs that include condom distribution can be a challenge. While many evidence-based
prevention interventions include condom distribution among populations such as adolescents, there are barriers
to successfully implementing these programs in some communities. For example, distributing condoms in schools as
part of health education courses is acceptable in some school districts but is not universally accepted.
As with other types of programs, funding and resources should be considered before implementing a condom
distribution program. In addition, targeting high-risk individuals and those most in need of these services can
be a challenge. In small rural communities where people
feel there is a lack of privacy, picking up condoms from an organization or purchasing them from a store
may be difficult.
Resources to Learn More
Provides information about the proper use and effectiveness of male and female condoms, and dental dams.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Effectiveness of Community-Based Condom
Distribution Interventions to Prevent HIV in the United States: A Systematic Review and
Summarizes the evidence collected from published studies looking at the effectiveness of community-based condom
distribution programs in the U.S. between the years 1989 and 2011.
Authors(s): Malekinejad, M., Parriott, A., Blodgett, J.C., et al.
Citation: PLoS One, 12(8)