During Christmas break, free condom dispensers will be placed in the 22 Philadelphia high schools with the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among students.
Donald F. Schwarz, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, told Philly.com that the free condom dispensers were a pilot program to address "an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in adolescents in Philadelphia."
Since April 2011, Philadelphia has given away about four million condoms and now STD rates are falling. However, Schwarz said that 25 percent of new HIV infections in Philadelphia are teens.
Some inner-city high schools already dispense free condoms. The Health Department also provides them at city high schools when they go in to test teens for STDs, with a parent's consent.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told Philly.com: "I support the policy strongly. This is a serious public health matter."
Philadelphia School District Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon wrote in a statement: "Opt-out letters are to be maintained by the school office. Students are to honor the wishes of their parents. If a student disrespects their guardian's directive, that is an issue of the home."