The AIDS crisis in Coastal County has prompted the administration of the Coastal County College to install condom dispensing machines in the restrooms, in an effort to curb unsafe sex practices. This decision was a subject of much discussion and controversy among students, parents, teachers, and religious leaders in the community. The physical benefits of having protection readily available are often weighed against the perceived immorality of casual sexual intercourses. While the increased sexualization of the youths is the overarching reason for the AIDS and STD crisis, the availability of protection is an effective stop-gap measure because it encourages safe sex over unprotected contact.
Arguments for Installing Condom Dispenser Machines
Increase in Safe Sex Practices
Condoms provide the best physical deterrent against STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Due to the widespread propagation of safe sex, students know about using condoms (Algur et al. 293). At the same time, the act of purchasing them from the local corner store is often inconvenient in the heat of the moment, and is perceived as embarrassing by some teenagers (Algur et al. 297). The availability of protection without having to endure the awkwardness of social interactions as well as the time lag would encourage students to use them more often, leading to a decrease in AIDS and other disease transmission rates.
Public Awareness of Safe Sex Practices
The presence of condom vending machines on the campus will serve as silent reminders of the potential dangers of unprotected sex with different partners. The availability of the product would help nurture a culture of awareness and conscious decision-making (Algur et al. 292). It would also increase the chances of individuals having protection on hand, or enable purchasing it at a moment’s notice. In addition, the machines could serve as vehicles for the distribution of information material by using billboards, adverts, and other means of educating the campus populace.
A Cost-Effective Way against AIDS
The price of a pack of condoms varies between 2-3 USD. The price of treating an STD, depending on the severity, can cost thousands of dollars for the person in question, their family, and anyone else who had sexual relations with the afflicted. In the case of AIDS, no treatment to cure the disease is currently available (Algur et al. 299). Enabling and encouraging a cost-effective solution will save thousands of lives from being ruined by carelessness.
Addressing the Arguments against Condom Machines
Condom Availability Encourages Sex
The primary argument against condom machines is that it encourages teens to have sex, thus increasing the chances of contracting STDs. However, there is little data to support this supposition (DeMaria et al. 289). At the same time, students are already having sex much more often than they used to in the past, thanks to the hypersexualization of the past few generations. It is a trend that is neither enhanced nor reduced by the presence of condom machines (DeMaria et al. 289). Coastal County College cannot hope to change the generational trend all on its own, which is why the availability of protection is the only stop-gap measure available at this time.
Abstinence is Superior to Protection
The argument for abstinence is typically delivered from a moralistic point of view. If an individual practices restraint and keeps oneself only to one partner, preferably through marriage, they are less likely to contract AIDS and other STDs (DeMaria et al. 301). This argument is valid, but does not detract from the usefulness of having protection available. Given that the college cannot enforce abstinence, the best it could do is to provide protection. Sexual Education classes, of course, have to stress the importance of having single, trusted partners for sex, but other than that, there is not much that can be done.
Condom machines on campus are seeking to treat the symptoms of a much larger problem, not the causes. The causes lie in the cultural hypersexualization of the youth, which is something that Coastal County College is not equipped to do. The availability of protection is a simple and cost-efficient method of protecting students from AIDS. It will not encourage the youths from having sex more than they already do.
Algur, Eda, et al. “A Systematic Global Review of Condom Availability Programs in High Schools.” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 64, no. 3, 2019, pp. 292-304.
DeMaria, Andrea L., et al. “Examining Consumer Purchase Behaviors and Attitudes Toward Condom and Pharmacy Vending Machines In Italy: A Qualitative Study.” Journal of Consumer Affairs, vol. 54, no.1, 2020, pp. 286-310.