Countless studies have shown that condoms are highly effective at reducing the risk of transmitting and contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The CDC agrees and also reminds us that condoms also decrease the risk of unplanned pregnancy, especially among younger adults.
Recent research reported that CDPs as structural interventions:
- Increased condom use, condom acquisition, and condom carrying.
- Promoted delayed sexual initiation or abstinence among youth.
- Provided cost-effective and cost-saving outcomes on future medical care costs by preventing HIV infections.
- Significantly affected condom use behaviors and helped reduce HIV/STD risk among a wide range of at-risk groups (i.e., youth, adults, commercial sex workers, high STD populations, and males).
However, some people find it difficult to secure free condoms, either because of their remote location, embarrassment, or uncertainty in where to get them.
So how can we stay sexually safe without spending lots of money? It turns out, many state governments are already trying to help out! Studies show that investment in local family planning can easily saved over $7 for every single dollar spent. Condoms are also extremely cost-effective, cheap to transport, and easy to both store and give away.
Thus, it shouldn't come as any surprise to learn that many states fund free condom programs! They're broken down into two main categories – free condoms in-person and free condoms mailed to your house. All of the mailed offers linked below include free shipping and promise to send your freebies in nondescript packaging.
Free Condoms for Everyone in Person
In most states (about 40-45), local health clinics give away free male barrier condoms to teens and anybody who makes around 150% of the poverty level. On top of that, about 35 to 40 states also send out hundreds of thousands of free condoms to participating agencies to give away to residents. You can't sign up for them individually, but they're provided free of charge at local community health centers and businesses.
And by “businesses,” I mean nondescript type places like bars and restaurants! Not all of the free condoms require walking into a clinic or health center.
In the early 2010s, a site called Condom Finder gained a lot of well-earned attention. Their mission was to give away one million free condoms each year by creating a database of all the local free condoms locations nationwide. It was a great resource for its time, but unfortunately I do not think it is up to date as of 2020. Luckily, I found better alternatives!
Your first stop for local free condom resources should be the federal Health and Human Services male condom page. Halfway down, there's a “Find a family planning clinic” search box. This was the best search box I found that tapped into local option. It's not the only place you should search, but I think it has much better information than Condom Finder.
If you're a young woman between the ages of 18-29, I'd then make a quick stop at Bedsider and enter your zip code for “get birth control delivered.” Some states own HHS websites, like Illinois and Massachusetts, specifically say to check it.
The next guaranteed resource for free condoms is Planned Parenthood. They have a well-documented information page on condoms, along with a location finder. They have clinics across the country that offer free condoms to those who need them.
The final resource is Google! Allow me to explain all the ways how.
Free Condoms for Students
Almost every single university offers free condoms to their college students. It'd be impossible for me to list them all, but you can easily find your school's free condom locations by Googling “free condoms UNIVERSITY NAME”. Then substitute your school's name for “UNIVERSITY HERE” and viola!
Here's an example for University of Alabama free condoms. The first page listed should be the school's official ua.edu and it links to this free condom page. We can see they offer free condoms at all residence halls and major student center!
You can do this for almost any college, university, or school and find ample free condoms. Even small, remote colleges in America typically offer a free condom program and have full details on their website.
Free Condoms by Mail
Beyond all 50 states, there are free condom programs in many cities and even local counties. I've included a few city examples below, along with links to each state's official program! I also highly suggest searching Google for “free condom” and your location. I've included an example link for each state below, but you should also search for your nearest large city and county no matter where you live. You'd be surprised how many locations offer free contraceptives!
Here are just a few examples of cities. I can't stress enough that you should search for your nearest major city, some of their mailing windows are quite large.
Free Condoms by State