Covering Texans’ Condom Needs: Texas Wears Condoms and The Condom Distribution Network

When used correctly and consistently, condoms are an effective way to prevent the transmission of HIV, as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The Achieving Together team interviewed two organizations in Texas that distribute free mail order condoms online: Texas Wears Condoms and the Condom Distribution Network. The aim of both programs is to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs by making condoms more accessible. By creating access to free condoms available online, Texans are able to obtain condoms regardless of their geographical location. Both programs also work to educate communities and de-stigmatize sexual health.

Texas Wears Condoms

“So far, the program has partnered and collaborated with over 150 community organizations/businesses across the state and distributed 1,913,377 condoms (2019).”

Tell us about Texas Wears Condoms.

This project originally began in 2013 at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, now known as UT Health. The grant was originally funded only for services in San Antonio, but in 2017 the program received funds from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TX DSHS) to expand its services to all Texas residents.

What are your goals?

The project has three objectives to meet every year, as set by TX DSHS:

  1. Distribute 2,000,000 condoms
  2. Collaborate with 100 community partners (i.e. retail, civic, faith-based, etc.) to include 50 local (in San Antonio) and 50 statewide.
  3. Have 80 distribution sites including non-conventional businesses, clinics/CBOs/ASOs, and community events. 

Aside from the goals listed above, the purpose of the program is to educate the community and help reduce the spread of HIV and STIs in Texas by expanding free condoms access, improving condom knowledge and destigmatizing condoms/condom use. The program focuses heavily on destigmatizing and normalizing conversations around sex.

What will success look like?

Individuals will have access to sexual health supplies, regardless of their location and income.

Condoms and other sexual health supplies will be destigmatized and not associated with any specific risk behaviors (i.e. you use condoms, so you must sleep around).

We want to serve individuals from every zip code and county in Texas, reduce the numbers of STIs and HIV in Texas, and improve condom variety, brand awareness and delivery time for packages.

We also want to further the conversation about PrEP and PEP.

How does the Achieving Together plan/movement relate to this work?

Several of the guiding principles of the Achieving Together Plan are focus areas of the program: social justice, equity, empowerment, advocacy, and community. The program leverages technology, partnerships and community action to deliver a multi-layered prevention framework to address deficiencies in prevention, care, and treatment. Re-purposing an e-commerce website to provide condoms and sexual health supplies to order and mail directly to consumers has minimized the barriers to access and provided communities with an equitable platform. The program has also empowered individuals living in marginalized, under-served, and geographically isolated areas by making condoms accessible and available with unrestricted access.

What have you learned?

Through client surveys, we have identified barriers to condom use, such as cost, embarrassment, or not knowing what kind to purchase.We’ve also learned that individuals want to learn more about sexual health and how they can protect themselves from STIs/HIV, without the sanctimonious aspect. Individuals want to use safe sex supplies (condoms, lubricants, dental dams), they just don’t always know where to access them, or how to bring up the conversation with their partners.

Social media is a great avenue to connect with your audience and disseminate factual, sex positive information. It can help grow your program’s following organically and with little to no cost.

Finally, we’ve learned that not a lot of people know about PrEP and its benefits.

Condom Distribution Network

“We have decided to focus our efforts in 2020 toward getting younger MSM of color to access our CDNStore this year. This year, our goal is to send at least 65% of our condom orders to 12-35 year-old MSM of color.”

Tell us about the Condom Distribution Network.

The Condom Distribution Network was started in 2014 by AIDS Services of Austin (now Vivent Health) as a way to reach more people through condom distribution. The online store ( opened around 2016. AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) realized that with so many people of color moving out of central Austin, we needed a way to make it easier for people to get free condoms from ASA without having to come to our locations. We ship free condoms to people in Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Hays counties.

We changed our ordering process to make it easier for people to order from us as well as made changes to the way our website looks to give our store a new look. We will be adding videos in both English and Spanish so that people can learn how to put on a condom.

What are your goals?

Our goal is to help more people get access to condoms by removing access as a barrier. We have decided to focus our efforts in 2020 toward getting younger MSM of color to access our CDNStore this year. This year, our goal is to send at least 65% of our condom orders to 12-35 year-old MSM of color.

How does the Achieving Together plan/movement relate to this work?

By normalizing condom use, we believe we can address the stigma around sexual health and testing.

What have you learned?

At ASA, we know that our data can be a great ally to understand what people need. In July, we rolled out our new survey, which captures sexual health information. Within the first month we found that 64% of people who ordered condoms in July had never been tested for syphilis. In response, ASA created a quick one-page infographic with syphilis information, testing recommendations, and locations that were sent out with every condoms order. We were able to see that percentage drop within three months.

ASA has learned that there is still very much a need for condoms in the community and that most people, if given information about this resource, will use it. What we have to do now is make sure this program is getting into the communities that need it and would benefit the most from this program. 

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