The Sexual Health Resource Centre is installing new condom dispensers on campus in an effort to promote safer sex.
Dispensers will be placed in the washrooms in the Upper Celidh of the JDUC, just outside of the Queen’s Pub. The dispensers in the washrooms in Alfie’s Pub will also be replaced.
SHRC Director Amanda Judd said she got the idea during her time as publicity coordinator for SHRC last year, when she noticed that the current condom dispensers in Alfie’s washroom were beat up and were not being stocked.
“We thought this would be a great way to promote ourselves and promote safer sex,” Judd, ArtSci ’11 said.
Certain STIs, like chlamydia, are highest among Canadians aged 15 to 24, according to a 2011 study released by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The SHRC dispenser will sell three kinds of Durex latex condoms, as well as Skyn non-latex condoms, which will cost between $0.25 and $0.75 per condom.
“The cost of condoms can be quite prohibitive to some people, and we’re hoping this will increase access,” Judd said.
Recently, a shortage of condoms has been reported across Canada since a major condom donator, Ansell Canada Inc., stopped their donation program which provided 500,000 free condoms to about 30 centres affiliated with the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health.
Places like the HIV/AIDS Regional Services in Kingston have also been experiencing a shortage.
Each dispenser will be recognizable with decals containing contact information for the SHRC, prices and instructions for the machine.
A 2007 study on sexual health in Canada the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health noted that a feeling of embarrassment is a deterrent for purchasing condoms.
“Having condoms in washrooms, rather than walking up to a cashier, may help eliminate that barrier,” Judd said.
The costs involved for these new dispensers were out of range for the SHRC budget for special projects, so Judd applied for an Equity Grant.
The grant was eventually approved this summer by the AMS Council which covers about $1,700 for installation and the machines themselves. The SHRC will cover the costs of the decals for the dispensers, the stock and future maintenance while the grant will cover the delivery and installation.
After multiple delays due to fall Orientation Week preparations and the University closing over the winter break, the dispensers are ready and waiting to be installed.
Judd said she hopes to see the dispensers installed in late January or early February.
Many colleges in the US have installed such dispensers since the 1990s, Judd said, in an effort to fight sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Currently, condoms can be found in various places on campus like Health, Counseling and Disability Services’ waiting rooms, various SHRC events and vending machines across campus, including Victoria Hall.
In the future, the SHRC may look into installing more dispensers like these.
“Over the next year or so we will evaluate their use and this project, and if it’s successful we would like to reach out to the Grad Club and Clark Hall Pub about doing something similar,” Judd said.
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