Background: STD and unintended pregnancy rates are high among sexually active youth in many California counties. Both are preventable through correct and consistent condom use. A CDC meta-analysis shows increasing availability and accessibility of condoms for youth increases condom use, delays sexual initiation, and decreases unprotected sex. CAP is a new multi-jurisdictional, web-based condom distribution program for adolescents.
Methods: CAP is housed on the CFHC website www.teensource.org where a searchable, statewide map shows where free condoms are available at local teen-friendly sites on a walk-in basis. In six counties with high STD morbidity, teens can also use the online platform to request condoms sent to them via mail. Online marketing, public service announcements (PSAs), and press releases promoted the project. Google analytics monitored unique website visitors, and media placements were tracked by project staff.
Results: Since the launch in February 2012, CAP has recruited, mapped, and supplied monthly condom shipments to 70 new condom access sites (CAS) across 25 counties. Over 400 existing condom providers have additionally been identified and included on the CAP map. Over 850,000 condoms have been distributed to CAS since project onset, and over 5,000 individual mailers with condoms, lubricant, and education have been distributed to eligible youth who requested them. Since the project launch, 6 Facebook campaigns, 2 targeted PSAs, and 2 press releases promoted CAP. CAP was covered over 180 times by local, state, national, and global media. From March 2012 to September 2013, the new CAP webpage experienced over 152,000 unique visitors, and daily webpage traffic continues to increase significantly each month.
Conclusions: Web-based interventions are an effective way to reach youth in an era of increased use of online and mobile technology. This statewide and geo-targeted, web-based intervention is a feasible method for expanding access to condoms for sexually active youth.