Condom Vending Machines

After reading a CDC article and comparing it to my research in the archives this past week, I am a bit astonished with Emory.  Back in 1994, The Emory Wheel wrote an article entitled the “A, B, C’s of STD’s: be smart, safe, protected.” [1]In this article, the author Christina Bell informs readers that safe sex is the only way to protect against STIs (big shock there). In the CDC’s research filed under STS in Adolescents to Young Adults, they report that “the ages 15-24 represent only 25% of the sexually expierenced population, [yet] they acquire nearly half of all new STDs.” [2] Within this same study the CDC postulates that there are a number of factors that lead to this including: behavioral, biological cultural reason AND the barriers to accessing STD prevention services. [2]

Going back to the Emory Wheel article, Bell notes several services such as Student Health Services, but what difference exists now from 1994? Condom vending machines! I find it shocking that this practice has not continued on the grounds of an institution for higher education. Admittedly, I can see the issue that Emory could potentially have on Parent’s weekend when the “folks” see these types of vending machines as they go to get a Coke in the Psychology building. But let us be realistic; this is college. Sex happens whether parents like it not, therefore it is a reality that must be taken into consideration. Would a parent not feel more comfortable about the University offering a method that would protect their “little baby?” Yes, parents can be naive and assume that would never be their child, but the University cannot be. The idea of strategically placing a condom vending machine throughout various parts of the campus is ingenious (it’s another way Emory can find a way to get more money out of the students—right along with the ridiculous parking office). Reverting back to the point, we have seen through the various articles we have read this past week that alcohol plays a serious role along with one’s personality toward having risky sex [3].

Again, here is another shocking fact; college students drink. Recapping just to make sure we have this clear, college students have sex and they do drink on occasion, now consider where is Student Health Services in relation to where students spend their time? It’s roughly a 20 minute walk to go ask for some free condoms, and roughly the same to walk to CVS. Breaking this down now, the free condoms that Student Health Services gives away certainly are not good quality. In fact, they are the ones that epitomize why condoms are hated during sex, not to mention they make the guy look like he has a Jolly Rancher (not referencing D4L’s song “Laffy Taffy”). Therefore, the options laid out right now consist of a relatively short walk, but who really has time in the midst of classes and other campus events to walk to either of these places, more realistically who WANTS to make that walk?

So after all this, let’s play out a little scenario. A guy and girl just left a party on either Frat Row, or otherwise, and let’s say the guy has forgotten he ran out of condoms. What happens? One of two things they continue and end up having unsafe sex, or the night does not end quite as it should have. But wait, what if there were condom vending machines conveniently and strategically located? Well let’s leave it at, there could be a happy ending for all parties involved.


A,B,Cs of STDs (1/2)

A,B,Cs of STDs (1/2)

A,B,Cs of STDs (2/2)








4 thoughts on “Condom Vending Machines

  1. I agree with your point. Although condom vending machines won’t make a hit during Family Weekend, the fact of the matter stays true- students need to have access to condoms in order to use them. What do you think caused the removal of these machines? If they served their purpose, and the students had easy access to safe sex then what posed Emory to take them away? Do you think that there might have been an overuse issue? Or do you think that Emory removed these machines to please conservative parents? Secondly, do sexually active women also hold as much responsibility as men to carry a condom on their person?

  2. I completely agree. There should be some type of easy-breezy way of accessing condoms. When I was going on my official visits as an athlete to different colleges, one of the colleges I was looking at was Carnegie Mellon. When I was staying with the freshman for the night, I used the bathroom and right in the bathroom was a basket of condoms – free to take for whoever wanted. I think that’s one of the greatest ideas… It’s not embarassing to go and grab one from the bathroom and its right there!!

  3. I do agree there should be access to condoms on main campus, but the use of a condom vending machine does not seem like the best solution to me. Using your example about a frat party, usually in these situations, neither the girl or guy is carrying a change pouch ready to go to the vending machine in case they “get lucky.” To agree with merstar, a free condom dispenser would be a better solution.

  4. Team STI: great use of the readings to start a very vibrant discussion about condom distribution on campus. I have to say that I agree with many of the comments above that rather than charge students for condoms (this again favors those students with money and punishes students who do not) what if baskets of condoms were located where students were most likely to have sex: dorms, fraternities and sororities. I think the basket full of free condoms in the bathrooms is a great idea. Go and brush your teeth, and grab a few condoms. So this helps the students who live on campus, but what about those that don’t? Where can the free condoms be located for them? I think part of the strategy in locating them in student health is the hope that students are coming to get “check ups” or maybe even refill birth control and they can pick some condoms up then. And baskets of free condoms can’t “break” but condom machines can. Less upkeep!

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