Lucas Avelleda

Athlete, International Shotokan Karate Federation

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Should High Schools implement condom availability programs?

This is a controversial and polemic approach to reduce rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy among teenagers. Data from different sources has shown that is at the age of fifteen, on average, that teenagers have their first sexual relation. However, condoms are not used by most of them (in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, it is used by only 56% of the individuals aged between 13 and 18).
The condom availability program appears not to have produced an increase in sexual activity among high school students, and it appears to have led to improved condom use. Nevertheless, social and political aspects play a role on this issue.

Is the program necessary?
Since it's a public health issue, should religion and cultural aspects interfere?
Is it moral from your point of view? Why?
Pros and cons

I'm a 17 year old student from Brazil and I'm looking for opinions about this issue that could help me and my school's student council to discuss with the administration the implementation of the condom availability program for High School students.
Thank you!

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    Mar 29 2011: The thing is easy: YES.

    1.) Nobody will start fucking around, just 'cause contraception is available.
    Nobody who wants to have sex will go "oh well -no let's not have any until I can afford Condoms at 50 cents a piece."

    2.) Protected Sex is always better than unprotected Sex.

    Easy - isn't it.

    3.) ah yeah.. and if you believe in "no Sex before marriage" - there's something REALLY wrong with your worldview. It's one thing to make it the behaviour of your own choice... but judging other teenagers?
    How perverted can someone be - to think sex is something bad, or evil...?
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    Mar 29 2011: I think it's a fucking great idea. One person without AIDS already makes it worth it.
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    Apr 4 2011: Firstly let me appauld you for posting this comment. I love that you are reaching out to the community for advice, comments on this topic. Its a tough one.

    The biggest thing about having a condom program at your school is STIGMA. Getting over that is the hardest part of any new sexual educationt campaign. The other thing is getting the message across to the parents. We are not living in the same day and age that they did. Times have changed and kids are having sex younger and younger.

    But isn't it better to be safe than sorry. I bet you would find similar states for the amount of condom use between ages 13 - 18 no matter where you go. Its not cool to wear a condom. When I was in high school I went to a public health education forum - where they gave out condoms and posters, and I actually distributed them around the school and hung posters on the wall. I got in trouble mind, by the principal (because the content wasn't appropriate) but I simply told him that I got it from a public health education forum and he backed down - didn't really have much choice.

    If you promote safe a kid isn't going to care - whether its STD's or HIV - they just don't care. You have to make sex fun and acceptable and the promotion of condom acceptable. Have you thought of condom vending machines? It should somehow be anonymous so that kids don't feel strange about taking condoms. Lets face it kids are going to have sex whether you say its ok or not, why not give them the supplies to make them safer.
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    Apr 3 2011: I think it may help around 50%. But rest of the 50% badly impact on the society, By this every one in that age starts make illegal relations. Just creating awareness is fine.
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    Mar 31 2011: First of all human's body is programmed to have sex at this age. However, our cultural development does not approve to have children at that age. Typical problem : Culture vs. Nature. Actually culture is a chid of nature so the reason because of which culture exists is that sometimes Natural actions makes people unhappy(e.g. in most of the cases teenage mothers have an awful life). In my opinion condoms aren't expensive so this "condom availability program for High School students" seems good to me. Moreover once teens try them they will start buying and protecting themselves. The problem is that there are students that would feel depressed because they will think that their development is slow.
  • Mar 29 2011: When I read your question, the only right answer in my opinion is YES, no doubt about it.
    People/ adolesents are having sex, that is a fact. (with or without a condom)
    The problem lies in the fact that there is still a taboo on sex. People are still uneducated about sex, don't know the consequences of sex AND the meaning of sex.
    Desides sex being an act of pleasure and love, Sex is first an act of respect.

    So wearing a condom is a sign of respect towards the other person.
    I think we have to come to a point that the usage of a condom is the same as wearing a seat-belt in a car.

    I believe when we distibute free condoms in combination with open minded en factual information about the human body and sex. The respect for other people will increase and the speading of STD's and unwanted pregnacies will decrease.

    As in the matter of the involvent of religion and culture, I believe these two institutions are responsible for the taboo on sex. By labeling people based on their opinion af a person.
    I realize a person is formed by their religion and the culture they are in. But still this person in very capable to show respect towards another person and protect them from STD's and unwanted pregnacies.

    I truly hope that some day we will live in a STD free world, where everyone respect one another.
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    Apr 3 2011: Great idea! Yes I totally agree. But we need education along with the supply of condoms. I have been producing videos on sex education for young people and am just finishing one on herpes. Last one was on chlamydia. It would be ideal to make condoms freely available in schools. Sex, marriage, relationships are all different topics, and whilst they overlap STRONGLY for some, the data is that they are separate topics in practice for most young people. Having condoms available will not make someone who doesn't want to have sex yet have it.
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    Drew B

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    Mar 29 2011: I agree with you guys but then again numbers show a person and a partner are more likely to have sex if they feel protected so why not stop the issue and remove protection until someone is ready to share sex inside of a marriageable ground. But by giving out condoms you are basically saying its ok to do it we are just trying to help
    • Apr 1 2011: Drew, I bascially agree with you that the best thing to do is to wait until you are ready to share 'sex'. There are two problems with this though:
      1. The definition of 'marriageable ground', as you call it, is probably something we will never agree on and each person has to define for himself. I'm sure if you ask two teenagers madly in love, they will both tell you that they can imagine marrying the other person. What are the critera for 'marriageable ground'? How do you define it?
      2. Despite the noble idea of 'waiting' for the right person, statistics show: People DON'T wait. No matter how much parents and teachers want them to. So while I do think it's important that parents, teachers and spiritual leaders explain to kids the importance of waiting for the right person, it's equally important to provide the means of safe sex, should they decide they are ready.

      I grew up in Germany and starting in 8th grade, we had condoms readily available (for free) at school following a one-week seminar on 'Love'. Yes, love, not sex. It covered the classic 'birds and bees' issues, biological aspects and all. But it also dealt with the emotional side, relationships, trust, dealing with disappointment, etc. I thought the combination of the two was so important!
      And btw, for a country that quite freely deals with sex and all that goes with it (condom vending machines!), you might find it interesting that despite all of that, German kids are having their first sex at 17,6 years. In the US, scores more conservative in that department, it's 18 years. And in the UK it's 18,3.
      A bit more food for thought:
      The US leads the western world in teenage pregnancy incidents and 1 in 4 teenage girls who participated in abstinence programs have or have had an STD in their life. If that doesn't make a decent case for encouraging condom use, I don't know what does.
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    Drew B

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    Mar 29 2011: No, When you are setting up protection programs and other stuff a message comes across to teenagers that okay there is a problem but instead of fixing the problem we are going to set up programs to let them do it but try to do it "safely." They are saying that teenagers are too much work to put into protecting them and telling them that sex is bad in any way until marriage. Even if you are not a Christian when you have sex before marriage your not just risking STD's and pregnancy (which is bad enough), but when you have sex a chemical is releases into each others body that makes you more attracted or more stuck to that person. Meaning once you enter sex with another person your natural feelings will be geared towards that person. It's just like the old kidnapper story. The story is that a stranger pulls up to a kid and tells that kid to come with him and he has candy in the car. The kid might get some "candy" but hes stuck with that kidnapper. When you have sex before marriage your ruining your chance of a good healthy marriage in the future.
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      Mar 29 2011: Drew, the problem is that most people have sex before marriage and with different partners, so we need to prevent SDTs and unintended pregnancy, specially between teenagers. By making condoms available we're not increasing sexual activity, as data shows. This is the way to eliminate the risks of SDTs and pregnancy. As Melissa said, wearing a condom is a sign of respect towards the other person, and I believe that this attitude Increases the feelings you mentioned. Relating to the kidnapper story, isn't it possible that the person can also get stucked with SDTs and pregnancy if she does not use condoms when having sex?
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      Mar 29 2011: Drew, your opinion on sex before marriage is a personal belief, which must be respected. But we must acknowledge that many other people don't think like you. The fact is that a great number of teenagers is already having sex, despite the presence of condoms or not. The benefit of this project would be to provide an easier access to condoms to people who have nothing against sex before marriage, and that are having unproteccted sex. Studies have proven that the disponibilization of condoms in schools hasn't incrreased sexual activity and reduced the number of STD infected people.
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        Drew B

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        Mar 29 2011: I agree with you guys but then again numbers show a person and a partner are more likely to have sex if they feel protected so why not stop the issue and remove protection until someone is ready to share sex inside of a marriageable ground. But by giving out condoms you are basically saying its ok to do it we are just trying to help
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    Mar 29 2011: In order to produce healthy adults, we must have been healthy adolescents.

    So yes, I think we should raise awareness.


    BUT...

    ...only distributing condoms and making them available won't help. They will just sit there in a box. Or they will take it, but not use it when The Moment comes. "They are awful, I don't feel good in it, I forgot in the spur of the moment" We have to explain that their comfort and pleasure is not without consequences. And it only has to happen "one quick time"

    I don't know many HIV+ people, only one and he's only an acquaintance from another town. So, you see, this is a far away reality for us, young people in most countries (I'm a 20 year old, also from Brazil), which leaves the danger out of sight (and therefore out of mind)

    We have to insist on the fact that diseases are silent villains. And, you know, besides from the diseases. and despite having birth control, condoms are the best way for a guy to be sure he won't make a baby.

    Because young girls these days are out of control. How will they be respected? They use their sex to get places, to get to people, to jobs. That is not so far away from using sex to get money, right? Sex should be enough by itself, and for yourself.

    And, as I've seen now with a close male friend of mine, they LIE. A lot. They will say they are on the pill and make you sure you can do everything without protection, and you know, it isn't hard to convince a guy of that, right?

    So the girls make babies. Not because they want to nurture a child, no. They use the child to get places too. Get more money, get that guy to stick with you for life. Those 15 minutes without a rubber don't sound too worthy now, right?

    Isn't that a bit fucked up?

    I still have no idea what kind of argument will make them realize the risks of sex life, but we must get there. And it must come from us, young people. They don't listen much to the elderly though they should.

    Um grande abraço, Lucas
  • Mar 29 2011: I think every country in the world needs to educate it's people about safe sex, and there needs to be at the very least condoms available to every person in the world.

    "Is the program necessary?" Yes, for the sexual health of people engaged in sex, as well as the ability to reduce the current human population, which is becoming a real problem.

    "Since it's a public health issue, should religion and cultural aspects interfere?" Well, I live in America where, technically, we're supposed to have separation of church and state (though, it doesn't really work out that way) so I say no, religion shouldn't interfere. But, that's my viewpoint...other people will vehemently disagree with me.

    "Is it moral from your point of view? Why?" Yes, because it prevents the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and slows down our dangerously skyrocketing world population.
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    Mar 29 2011: Brazil did a very good job in promoting prevention using "camisinhas" for at least 2 decades.
    My only concern of making condoms available in high schools would be that it could lead to increased sexual activity, however, if what you mentioned is correct and this concern is unfounded, then making them available shouldn't be a problem.
    Obviously, beside making condoms available, education is an important factor as well, both in school and in the family.
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      Mar 29 2011: Hi Harald, thanks for answering!
      Yes, the government is also making condoms available in public high schools, however, it's hard to implement this program at private schools. Some people at this schools still thinks that sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy are exclusive problems of poor populations, although you can get condoms for free here in Brazil. The problem pointed by the government is not financial, is psychological. Teenagers don't feel comfortable buying condoms or simply getting it for free. Schools seem to be a more appropriate place, where the teenager feels more comfortable to get condoms.
      And I agree with you: education is essential.
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        Mar 29 2011: Yeah, I know.

        For those who don't know, here in Brazil you can go to any health public post and get a bunch of the government condoms, that, must I add, have proven to bee much more resistant and effective than the brands you can buy.

        But you know, I've never been there to get those condoms for free. I buy them. To buy, you must have the will, the "guts" to face the cashier (it's not that big of a deal, teens!), you know, "it's a drag"

        And also for your info, the parents that put their child on private schools (such as my own mom and dad) are what we all call

        "SCARED MIDDLE CLASS"

        They are the adults that prefer not to resolve about issues, but makeup them. They stick in bad marriages for appearance. They are the people who let the internet raise their kids. They are the adults who lock the children up in big castles, so they will not see the dangers of the world (but one day they will, and will they be prepared?)

        And as you can imagine, they have no intimacy with their kids to talk about sex.

        How can we expect they will take and use condoms just because they are available, if even their parents never brought attention to it?
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          Mar 29 2011: Marianna, can you believe that there are some students at my school saying that the government condoms are not as resistant and effective as the brand ones you can buy?And yes, our challenge is to convinve parents, some of them are afraid of programs like condom availability in High Schools. I just can't understand why they makeup issues like this one, as you said, and I also don't know how to convince them. Ideas???
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      Mar 29 2011: Harald, is an increase of sexual activity necessarily bad? I believe that the will to do it is already within the students, they would just release their locked up desires. Of course, there's a legal responsibility of the school not to estimulate sex among underage students, but I wouldn't consider more protected sex, in it's concept, something bad.