Majority of New York City Public High Schools Did Not Order Condoms in Last 18 Months, HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group Says
A majority of New York City public high schools -- 212 of 379 -- over the last 18 months did not order condoms for distribution to students, and schools that did purchased a total of 310 boxes, each containing 1,000 condoms, according to the city's Department of Education statistics obtained and released on Thursday by the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, the New York Post reports (Andreatta, New York Post, 11/4). CHAMP Coordinator Sarah Howell said the figures translate to 1.4 condoms for each sexually active student in the city, a "drastic and dangerous shortage" (Yan, Long Island Newsday, 11/4). Almost half of the students who attend public high schools in New York City are sexually active, and nearly 25% of sexually active students engage in sexual behavior that puts them at high risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to a study released last year by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey -- based on a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire designed by CDC -- involved 7,400 students in grades nine through 12 in 77 public high schools in the city (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 10/21/04). "New York City has historically been a focal point of the AIDS epidemic, and what that means is that the Department of Ed and the city has a huge responsibility to students," Howell said. DOE officials said CHAMP's data do not consider the condoms ordered more than 18 months ago. They noted that schools stock condoms as needed and are required to distribute condoms only to students who request them. CHAMP has recruited more than 60 student HIV/AIDS advocates to participate in its "Find the Condoms In Your School" campaign, during which students will request condoms from faculty members and survey their friends on the availability of condoms in their schools. The group expects to release the campaign's results later this month (Long Island Newsday, 11/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.