Condoms in city high schools

Condom dispensers are going into 22 city high schools. The protection is free to students, except those whose parents signed opt-out forms.

Condoms have been distributed at some Philadelphia School District high schools for years.  But, as I wrote in a story just before the holidays, they're now available in more schools as a result of a partnership between the city and the district. (Parents can sign forms opting their students out of the free condom program, though it appears that staff won't be checking to make sure that students' parents are OK with their obtaining condoms.)

City officials say that this is part of a strategy to combat both high sexually transmitted disease rates among teens and an alarming rise of HIV infection among teens, as well.

But there's been some confusion about exactly which schools are getting the condom dispensers, which will be installed outside nurse's offices in the selected schools.  The district had initially released a list of schools getting the dispensers that included some schools not actually getting them; that list was released in error, officials said. (The schools on the original list that do not actually have high STD rates and are not getting dispensers include Girls High, the four Kensington High schools, Sayre, Strawberry Mansion and George Washington high schools.)

The schools were selected either because they had an existing "Health Resource Center" - places that have existed inside a dozen city high schools for years, which provide students with sexual education and are affiliated with a community-based health organization - or because they have high STD rates and are considered top priorities for STD prevention.

So, here are the 11 high schools that had the dispensers installed over the winter break. 

Bartram - HRC, high STD prevention priority

Ben Franklin - HRC

Dobbins - HRC, high STD prevention priority

Edison - HRC, high STD prevention priority

Fels - High STD prevention priority

Frankford - High STD prevention priority

High School of the Future - High STD prevention priority

King - HRC, high STD prevention priority

Roxborough - HRC

South Philadelphia - HRC, high STD prevention priority

West Philadelphia - HRC, high STD prevention priority

A twelfth high school, Bok, will have a dispenser installed over the next few weeks because of its high STD rate, officials said.

Other schools that have health resource centers (and so already distribute condoms) but aren't getting the dispensers, according to the district: Central, Germantown, Northeast, Overbrook, Strawberry Mansion, University City.

There's been lots of interest in this story, which was first reported in The Inquirer.  Other local media, plus national and even international news organizations, have reported on the city's and district's condom plans, too.