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The program, which began in April, has distributed roughly 6,000 condoms.
Detroit-area residents can now receive condoms by mail from the city’s health department, a new initiative designed to improve sexual health in the community.
The program started in April after officials at the Detroit Health Department heard people discussing the problems they’d encountered while trying to buy condoms in person.
“The community mentioned the high price of condoms and that stores often locked them up and they had to ask store employees for help, and that was specifically embarrassing for youth,” said Leanne Savola, the department’s HIV and STI program director, in an interview with Michigan Radio. “Ordering condoms online eliminates the need to talk to anyone.”
To receive condoms by mail, residents of Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck fill out a form on the health department’s website, including their address and other basic information. Days later, 12 condoms will arrive in the mail inside of a plain brown envelope. Residents can reorder as many times as they wish.
In its first week, the program received more than 100 orders. Roughly 6,000 condoms have been distributed since.
The first 50,000 condoms will be supplied by Trojan Condoms. After that, the program will continue with funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The ultimate goal is to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. In Detroit, more than 15,000 new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are reported each year, along with more than 200 new cases of HIV, according to statistics from the health department.
The condoms-by-mail initiative comes as the Michigan Legislature considers a package of bills designed to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, including a proposal to make it a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, for an HIV-positive person not to disclose the disease to a sexual partner.
Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.
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