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Condom availability in Indiana largely depends on sources outside of state funding

Two red condoms lay on top of one another
Pixabay
In Indiana, state funds cannot be used to purchase condoms. This leaves many to explore other family planning methods or seek out these resources at other locations.

In Indiana, state funds cannot be used to purchase condoms. This leaves many to explore other family planning methods or seek out these resources at other locations.

Kristin Adams is the president and CEO of the Indiana Family Health Council. She said the council is a Title X family planning grantee, meaning they receive funding to provide resources for family planning, including condoms.

“One of the things we have done in the past is to be able to provide condoms to either other nonprofits or health departments to make them available to individuals who may not have services,” she said.

However, recent federal funding cuts have limited funding for condoms for her organization. While she explained individuals who have a Family Health Council health center nearby can still go into these places to get condoms. However, the lack of funding is making them inaccessible to many communities.

Adams said her organization tries to place clinics in strategic areas, so underserved populations have more access to these resources.

“So we look at who has a higher poverty rate, we look at those who have a high unintended pregnancy rate and we look at STD rates,” she said. “Are there other clinics that could meet those services? If not, then that makes them more meaningful location.”

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Additionally, she said the organization has tried to place resources in areas beyond their own clinic that individuals might feel comfortable going to.

“So while we try to put them in strategic locations, where are people comfortable going?” Adams said. “Shelters, domestic abuse shelters, homeless shelters, other partners who might have like-minded businesses.”

Despite these efforts, she said federal funding cuts continue to make accessing these resources more difficult for her organization – which makes it difficult to place these in the community.

“So we're always running into those types of issues,” Adams said. “Costs continue to go up, but our funding does not.”

She said public-private partnerships can also affect the availability of resources in the community. Adams said other family planning methods, such as emergency contraceptives, are offered by her organization. Julie, a new morning-after pill, has a partnership with Walmart to offer these contraceptives at a low cost – which Adams said will help her organization.

“[Julie’s] business model is also for every emergency contraceptive purchased, they will donate an emergency contraceptive,” Adams said. “So we are going to luckily be a recipient of some of those free donations.”

While Adams said these partnerships are helpful, there are always gaps in funding the group would ideally want to receive. She said condoms are not only important in preventing contraception, but also for STI prevention.

She said if condoms are looked at from an STI standpoint, there is generally less resentment toward the idea of providing them in certain places, such as health departments.

“Health departments are geared towards disease,” Adams said. “So, they're more welcoming of it from that standpoint, we do have an STD problem.”

Adams said the organization continues to develop unique solutions to maintain resources with their given funding – including a mobile clinic unit that is expected to be on the move later this year.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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