Making condoms available at schools hailed
A systematic review by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has found making condoms available at schools can help prevent unintended pregnancies and infections with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents.
The review included information from nine studies which measured the impact that making condoms available in schools in the US had on sexual behaviour.
It found that pupils in schools where condoms were made available were more likely to use condoms when compared with schools without them.
It also found that pupils in schools where condoms were available reported similar or lower levels of sexual activity when compared to those in schools without them.
The SAMRC said the conclusions had influenced policy in the US, resulting in several schools implementing such programmes.
SAMRC Health Systems Research Unit director and co-author of the systematic review Dr Catherine Mathews said: “We hope this review will also influence education officials to put in place school condom availability programmes in South African schools.”
Due to the limited access adolescents have to basic sexual health services, the study wanted to find out whether making condoms available in schools would serve as a platform to extend coverage for these services.
The systematic review is a collaboration between the SAMRC, The Fenway Institute, the Brown University School of Public Health and UCT’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.