The Detroit Health Department is now bringing sexual health right to residents’ doorsteps with a new free mail-order condom program.
Any resident of Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park can fill out a form on the Department’s website with their postal address and basic information. A few days later, a plain brown envelope containing 12 condoms will appear in their mail. Residents can reorder condoms as many times as they need.
Leanne Savola, the HIV and STI program director at the Detroit Health Department, says the idea for the program came after hearing residents talk about their difficulties buying condoms in the store.
“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. Ordering condoms online eliminates the need to talk to anyone,” Savola says.
The program officially began in April, and positive feedback from residents came almost immediately. Over 100 orders came in during the program’s first week. Since then, roughly 6,000 condoms have been distributed.
Trojan Condoms initially supported the initiative with a donation of 50,000. When that supply runs out, Savola says funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will help the program continue.
Currently, almost 15,000 new cases of sexually transmitted infections are reported to the Detroit Health Department each year. Savola says the ultimate goal of the program is to prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs.
“Residents of the city of Detroit are disproportionately impacted by HIV and STDs, so we think this program is really going to contribute to reducing new cases and really keeping Detroiters sexually healthy,” she says.