The condom pouch and Depo-Provera

June 9, 1999

Researchers have shown that teen-age girls who depend on Depo-Provera injections to prevent pregnancy rarely use condoms and, as a result, dramatically increase their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Two University of Michigan students have proposed a disease prevention program that is designed to encourage teen girls on Depo-Provera to use condoms and to educate them about sexually transmitted diseases.
Although Depo-Provera is highly effective in preventing pregnancy, it cannot guard against sexually transmitted diseases. For many sexually active teen-age girls who choose Depo-Provera, they are primarily focussed on preventing pregnancy, not preventing a sexually transmitted disease, said U-M students Suzanne Knecht and Rupal Sanghvi.
“Condoms are provided at most Title X clinics. One clinic kept a fishbowl of condoms on the front desk of its busy lobby. Some people are shy about taking condoms in public, but are grateful and accepting of condoms when they are given in the privacy of an exam or counseling room. When a health care professional provides condoms to clients, they’re communicating that condom use is important. That way is much more meaningful and caring than dipping your hand into a fishbowl of condoms in public waiting room,” the students wrote in their proposal.
Knecht, a nurse practitioner and Ph.D. student in the U-M School of Nursing, and Sanghvi, a recent graduate from the U-M School of Public Health, collaborated on the written proposal which was recently awarded the first place prize for interdisciplinary work in the 17th annual “Secretary’s Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.”
The award is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in collaboration with the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP). The award is managed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). This year marks the first time DHHS and FASHP have given an award for collaborative research efforts.
The award recognizes proposals by health profession students for improvements in health promotion and disease prevention. The proposals are designed to implement goals outlined in DHHS’s Healthy People 2000 and are judged on innovation, feasibility and potential impact on a community or target population.
Knecht and Sanghvi, whose proposal is titled “Increasing Condom Use by Users of Depo-Provera,” will seek grant funding to test their proposal in family planning clinics in different geographic locations and demographic populations.
The condoms will be given to clients in sets of 30 that will be packaged in an attractive carrying case designed by U-M graduate and Ann Arbor artist Amie Otto. Each pouch fits three to four condoms. The cases are designed to be as attractive as the cosmetic bags teen girls clamor for in shopping mall boutiques. And, instead of a dry educational brochures that addresses the need to use condoms, the clients will also be given a comic strip designed for a teen audience.
Knecht and Sanghvi said this intervention is necessary because young women are more susceptible to acquiring sexually transmitted diseases than young men, but they are less likely to carry condoms. Also, interventions traditionally have not been focussed on young women.
Of the top 10 most frequently reported diseases in 1995 in the United States, five are sexually transmitted diseases. Approximately 12 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur annually. About 3 million of them are teen-agers and two-thirds of them are under the age 25.
The AIDS rate among young women is more than 10 times higher than the rate among young men.
For more information about the pouches on the Internet, visit

Depo-ProveraSchool of NursingHealth Resources and Services AdministrationHealthy People 2000