An evaluation of condom availability programs operating in nine Philadelphia public high schools

Lynne A. M Geitz, University of Pennsylvania


Making condoms available in public schools has been controversial since safe sex programs started their implementation in the U.S., in the late 1980s. The controversy centers on two debates; whether instructing youth about sex is a parental responsibility or a collective social responsibility, and whether educating youths about sex and contraceptive use increases sexual activity. While the first debate involves discussion on ideologies, the consequences of implementing condom availability programs in schools on sexual activity and contraceptive use can be determined empirically. Although a number of programs across the country have now been in operation for several years, few comprehensive assessments of intended and unintended consequences have been undertaken (Zabin 1986; Kirby 1994; Schuster MA, Bell RM, Berry SH and Kanouse DE 1998; Kirby D, Brener ND, Brown NL Peterfreund N et al 1999). Given that random assignment was not feasible, this set of analyses compensated by using different analytical strategies that made use of several waves of data collection from students attending Philadelphia public schools (Philadelphia Teen Study) to assess whether HRCs influenced teen contraception and sexual activity. The analyses performed for this dissertation suggest that minimally the HRCs did not increase the incidence of risky sexual behavior. Given the rather limited sample size once the study population is reduced to those attending public high schools in Philadelphia, this finding should be confirmed by larger studies.

Subject Area

Demographics|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Geitz, Lynne A. M, "An evaluation of condom availability programs operating in nine Philadelphia public high schools" (2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3096037.