Free condoms could be easier for undergraduates to acquire by the end of this week, peer health educator Julia Strasser ’05 said Sunday.
Strasser, who is one of the group’s co-coordinators, said free condoms were previously available only from University Health Services, freshman counselors and peer health educators. Now, with the help of the Yale College Council, condoms will be made available inside every entryway, she said.
“I just hope that it will make condoms more accessible,” Strasser said.
UHS Director Paul Genecin said not every residential college has a peer health educator, so students in colleges with an educator tended to have more access to free condoms.
YCC Treasurer Andrew Cedar ’06 said the program will mainly affect upperclassmen, since freshmen could already get condoms from their freshman counselors. Even though upperclassmen have been able to go to a peer health educator for free condoms, Cedar said many students do not know their peer health educators and therefore could not take advantage of the service.
Cedar said the YCC plans to ensure each residential college has a person monitoring condom levels in that college’s entryways. This person will likely be a peer health educator in the college or someone the YCC selects, Strasser said. Strasser said the job should take about 10 to 15 minutes each week.
Genecin said UHS is not trying to encourage or discourage sexual activity. He said UHS simply does an “aggressive” job of promoting safer sex habits.
The extra condoms should not present a cost to the University, Genecin said. He said half of the supply is free from the state of Connecticut and that UHS already has the condoms it intends to distribute.
“We’re just trying to do the same program that already exists — in all the residential colleges,” Genecin said. “[Cost] is really not an issue.”
Though he said no public statistics are available on the number of Yale students each year with sexually-transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies, Genecin said UHS personnel see almost every STD in Yale students each year. He said more serious infections, like HIV, are relatively uncommon, as are unwanted pregnancies.
Cedar said the YCC is involved with the program because it views condom distribution as a student service.
“Yale has already decided to distribute them to freshmen,” Cedar said. “And we have the resources to expand that.”
Students have complained in the past that condoms are not more readily available, Cedar said. Peer health educator Craig Berman ’05 said condoms will now be much easier to obtain.
“It’s a good thing that now people don’t have to worry about finding condoms,” Berman said.
Strasser said students will now have “no excuse” not to use condoms.