California Group Mails Condoms to 12-Year-Olds

By Elizabeth Harrington | May 6, 2013 | 4:45pm EDT

Condoms (AP Photo)

( – “Looking for free condoms?” the California Family Health Council (CFHC) asks.  “You have come to the right place!”

The CFHC, a non-profit organization, has set up a website advertising its “Condom Access Project,” where teens as young as 12 years old can receive free condoms in the mail.

“The Condom Access Project (CAP) is a free service that provides condoms for youth in California (12-19 years old),” the website states.  “If you’re having sex, protect yourself and your partner by using a condom every time.  Enter your info below to find out how you can get free condoms near you.”

The free condoms are intended for “personal use between consenting individuals and are not permitted for resale.”

The project involves a “two-pronged strategy,” with an individual home mailer system and condom access sites where clinics receive “regular shipments” of condoms to give to teens.

The CFHC recently announced it has expanded its home-mailer program to include Fresno and San Diego counties, since they have been designated as “STD hot-spots.”  Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Kern County, and selected areas of San Francisco already offer the program.

“Teens in seven designated STD hot-spot counties can go online and confidentially request a package of 10 condoms, personal lubricant (to reduce breakage), and educational information up to one time per month for free,” the council said in a press release.

“To date, CAP has sent nearly 30,000 condoms to youth via home mailers,” states the organization.

The CFHC is a non-profit organization and the administrator of California’s Title X federal family planning program.

The council justifies its program due to the high incidence of STDs among teens in California.  There were 42,504 cases of chlamydia in teens aged 15 to 19 in California in 2011, as well as nearly 5,000 cases of gonorrhea.

“Increased availability of condoms through the Condom Access Project is an important strategy to reduce STDs and unintended pregnancies for youth in our county,” said Dr. Cora Hoover, assistant health officer in San Joaquin County.

San Joaquin had nearly 3,000 condoms mailed to youth through the program over the past year.

The CFHC was “excited” when announcing the home-mailer program last year, making sure teens have “access to free condoms year round.”

“We know that buying condoms from your local drug store can be expensive and picking it up at a clinic can be embarrassing,” the group said.  “So starting today, if you are a CA teen you will be able to get condoms in one of two ways: by mail or by pick up.”

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