Condoms are the most commonly used method of birth control among the adolescent population and if used correctly, can greatly reduce your risk for sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Young adults oftentimes have difficulty securing free condoms in a discreet manner. There are, however, a number of ways you can obtain condoms for free online and in person.
Free Condoms Available Online
Many websites offer free sample packs of different condoms. Before signing up, however, be sure to read all the participation requirements and policies. Some distributors require you are at least 18 years old, and interested customers may need to participate in online surveys or view sponsored advertisements in order to qualify for the free samples.
Some companies offer free shipping while others do impose shipping charges, and some free offers are only valid with the purchase of other related products. At the same time, many retailers also provide you instructional guidelines, STD facts, storage tips, and other useful information with their free condoms, making them even more valuable to individuals just becoming sexually active.
- Only Free provides a list of condom offers. Depending on the offer, you may be required to sign up for the newsletter, participate in online surveys, view sponsored advertisements, or "like" companies on Facebook.
Snag Free Samples also has free condom offers. You may be asked to sign up for the company newsletter in order to receive certain samples. Other condom distributors require that are at least 18 years old to receive their product.
Health Department Websites
It's more cost-effective to get free condoms online from government programs if you don't want to pay for shipping. Many metro area health departments offer condoms to residents and even ship them to their homes for free. Use the National Association County and City Health Officials to discover state and territorial health departments.
Examples metro area health departments offering free condoms include:
- The County of Los Angeles Public Health Department will send you 10 male condoms for free if you are a resident of the area. You must provide your full name and mailing address.
- The District of Columbia Department of Health Rubber Revolution Program provides its residents with free condom in the most convenient ways:
- Text "DCWRAP" to 61827 from your cell phone to receive a package
- Pick condoms up at locations throughout the city by entering an address or zip code into the sites "search" feature
- Call 311 and order condoms by phone, or
- Enter a mailing address and have the condoms mailed to a local address
- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health mails condoms to teens ages 13 to 19. You must be a resident and provide your name, mailing address, email address and, answer a short demographic questionnaire. You can also obtain free condoms at any one of their five health center locations across the city.
- New York City Health Department distributes male and female condoms to its residents for free. If you live in New York City (NYC), you can access free condoms by calling 311 or by searching the NYC Health Map. Using your mobile device, enter an address into the NYC Health Map "search" feature and the five closest NYC condom distribution venues will be displayed.
Condoms From HIV/AIDS Service Organizations
If you live in a medium-sized or larger city, it's more than likely that you have HIV/AIDS Service Organizations which will provide you with free condoms when you stop in. Generally, they don't require you to complete any paperwork and they usually have condom samples for you to grab, or they may even mail them to you! As an added bonus, they also usually provide free HIV testing.
Some examples include:
- The Ohio HIV/STI Hotline will send condoms directly to the desired mailing address of any Ohio resident without a shipping fee. You must be at least 16 years old to receive the condoms. You are asked to provide a mailing address, county location, and demographic information. You have the option of signing up for future promotions, and surveys as well. You may also contact the hotline by phone at (800) 332-2437 for more information or to place a condom order.
- The Mississippi based AIDS Service Coalition mails condoms to addresses across the state without shipping fees. You are asked to complete basic demographic questions and in return, you will receive a pack of 20 condoms and lubrication.
Free Condoms That Aren't Online
Some teenagers may feel uncomfortable ordering packages of condoms over the internet. It's actually easier to find truly free condoms closer to home. Many family planning centers, teen health centers, and schools offer free condoms. In general, parents are not notified if a teenager asks for condoms.
You can get a 12 free condoms from a Planned Parenthood health center during their regular business hours. To find a location nearby, enter a zip code or a state into the online search engine. You can also call 1-800-230-PLAN to speak with staff at your local Planned Parenthood. They will provide you with additional information and resources.
Teen Health Clinics
A visit to your adolescent medicine provider or a "teen clinic" may include a discussion about contraception methods including condoms. Providers often have condoms available in their office, which they are more than happy to give to you. The law in most states allows minors to consent independently to contraceptive services, which also includes condoms. Health care providers are obligated to protect your confidentiality unless the information presented suggests abuse or possible harm to yourself or another person. Teen-focused clinics are located across the country in health departments, hospitals, or private offices.
There are high schools that provide free condoms through the school nurse or condom dispensers. A 1998 report by the Advocates for Youth indicated in 71 percent of the schools surveyed, all students had access to condoms except those whose parents deny permission in writing. Also, in 98 percent of schools with condom availability programs, students received counseling which commonly included information on abstinence, instruction on proper storage and use of condoms, and, in some schools, a demonstration on condom use.
The Condom Finder is a search engine created by the Los Angeles Health Department. It provides a list of organizations and business throughout the country that offers condoms and lubrication for free. When you enter your zip code into the "search" feature a list of organization distributing condoms nearby will be generated. All locations require that you pick your condoms up in-person.
Why Get Free Condoms?
Condoms are easy to buy at any pharmacy, but one look at the extensive rack of options may send an inexperienced condom user scurrying for a different aisle. Opting to get free condoms online allows teenagers the opportunity to sample several brands and designs to learn which types of condoms are suitable for their needs and preferences.
Many organizations offer free condoms for a variety of reasons, including:
- To promote safe sex: Regardless of when a teenager becomes sexually active, diseases and pregnancy are high risk factors that using a condom can help prevent.
- To lower the risk of unwanted pregnancy: Condoms are an efficient method of birth control.
- To lower the transmission rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs): There are more than 20 known STIs that cause a variety of conditions, including pain, sterility, and even death. It is estimated that there are 20 million new cases of STI infections in the United States each year, and half of these are among young people ages 15 to 24 years.
- To promote condom familiarity with less sexually experienced individuals: Many teenagers are uncomfortable with the technical aspects of wearing and using a condom and using free samples to practice can make safe sex comfortable and easy.
It is important to realize condoms are not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy or avoiding sexually transmitted infections. Only complete abstinence is guaranteed effective. Some individuals will choose to become sexually active during their teen years. It is important that they are well informed and knowledgeable about all the condom brands and options available.