A6c Project Connect's Condom Availability Program Enhancements and Their Effect On Student Awareness and Utilization of the Program

Tuesday, March 9, 2010: 10:45 AM
Grand Ballroom B (M4) (Omni Hotel)
Christine De Rosa, PhD1, Emily Chung, MPH, CHES1, Robin Jeffries, MS1, Abdelmonem Afifi, PhD2, William Cumberland, PhD2, Peter Kerndt, MD, MPH3, Lindsay du Plessis, MPH1, Esteban Martinez, BS1 and Patricia Dittus, PhD4, 1Project Connect, Health Research Association, Los Angeles, CA, 2Department of Biostatistics, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, 3STD Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, 4Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Background: High school condom availability programs (CAPs) ensure that condoms are available to students who need them.  However, schools may vary in their CAP implementation, and students may not be aware of or utilize such programs.

Objectives: This analysis studied the impact of enhancements made by Project Connect to a CAP on student awareness and utilization of the program.

Methods: Program enhancements were based on existing policy and included determining implementation stage, identifying action steps, providing training and materials, instigating new activities, and following-up. Five yearly cross-sectional waves of data were collected from students in 6 paired intervention and control high schools. Surveys gathered information on demographics, sexual behavior, awareness and use of the CAP.  Logistic regression was used to model knowledge and utilization of the CAP, stratifying by gender, and controlling for ethnicity, grade, high school pairing, and potential intraclass correlations within schools.

Results: Overall, 51% of students knew of the CAP at Y1, and 22% had ever used it.  Awareness  increased significantly from Y1 to Y5 for intervention males (AOR 1.8, 95%CI(1.5,2.1)) and females (AOR 2.1, 95%CI(1.8,2.5)), compared to no significant change in controls. CAP utilization increased significantly from Y1 to Y5 for intervention females (AOR 1.4, 95%CI(1.1,1.7)) compared to a non-significant decrease among control females. Among sexually active students, utilization increased significantly from Y1 to Y5 for intervention males and females (AOR 1.6, 95%CI(1.3, 2.1), AOR 1.5, 95%CI(1.1,1.9), respectively).

Conclusions: Minor enhancements to an existing CAP resulted in significantly increased student awareness of the program.  Regardless of whether they were sexually active, utilization increased among females.

Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: School districts with CAPs can improve their functioning and usefulness with basic enhancements and follow-up.  Raising awareness of the availability of condoms in a public high school may empower female students to obtain condoms even before they need them.