Responding to complaints by high school and college students that free condoms being distributed by Washington DC health officials are of poor quality and too small, the city now intends to offer Trojan condoms, including extra-large versions, in addition to the less expensive Durex condoms it had distributed exclusively until now.
City officials decided it was worth the extra few thousand dollars per year to encourage sexually active teens to practice safe sex.
“We want to support the regularization of condom use citywide,” Shannon Hader, director of the city’s HIV/AIDS administration told the Washington Post. “We are promoting this idea that using condoms is healthy . . . to destigmatize condom use, for kids (and) grown-ups.”
The District’s health department distributed 3.2 million condoms last year, including about 15,000 in schools, to its 600,000 residents. The program costs the city $165,000 per year. The city pays 5.7 cents per Durex condom, and will pay from 6 to 9 cents for the Trojans, depending on size.
Interested parties can get the condoms online or at more than 100 locations, including liquor stores, barbershops and youth centers.
In a survey of high school students in the District last spring, most participants “felt Trojan brand condoms were of better quality and protection.” They regarded the extra large “Magnum” condom marketed by Trojan as the best because it was “thicker.”
Durexes were perceived by the students to most likely to “pop or break.”
Despite these perceptions, health officials agree that the condoms are equally effective in terms of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.