By Kris McDowell
In late December 2020 the Oregon Health Association (OHA) Public Health Division added to their End HIV Oregon Campaign with the One at Home Oregon condom distribution program. The program allows Oregon residents to receive a free envelope of sexual wellness supplies (condoms and lubricant) delivered discreetly to their door, up to twice every 30 days.
Each envelope contains 20 condoms and 10 single use packages of lubricant. There are four content types to select from: standard mix (standard sized ONE condoms with a variety of styles – extreme ribs, extra strong, color sensations), XL size, standard + non-latex and non-latex only.
The End HIV Oregon initiative, started in 2016, is a joint initiative with community partners and the HIV/STD/TB Section of the OHA Public Health Division. The initiative aims to eliminate new HIV infections in the state and is composed of testing, prevention and treatment aspects.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon fast-tracked its mail-order home testing program, Take Me Home. The partnership between OHA and Building Healthy Online Communities offers a free mailed, rapid HIV self-test kit to any Oregonian who has not received one in the past 12 months. As reported in the journal AIDS and Behavior, the service appears to increase access for people who may not seek services in clinics, including first-time testers and people in rural areas.
The One at Home program is a partnership with the company ONE, whose goal is to increase condom use and acceptance and stimulate important conversations about sexual health. In addition to being just functional, the company’s condom wrappers feature fun designs that are meant to start conversations by breaking down the stigma around sexual health education with a dash of color and a sprinkle of personality. A sampling of the eye-catching ONE latex condom wrappers can be seen above.
ONE’s website reasons, “You don’t put art in a drawer…you leave it out to start a conversation. That’s why design and art are at the heart of ONE. We love partnering with artists around the world and running our insanely popular wrapper Design Contest. We strive to break down the stigma around sexual health education with a dash of color and a sprinkle of personality.”
The Design Contest typically runs in the spring and in fall, offering cash prizes to the winner, runner up, honorable mentions and staff picks while supplying the company with fresh wrapper designs. The spring 2022 contest is being evaluated by the judging panel and public will be able to vote on the top 50 finalist designs starting in August. Entries for the fall contest are currently being accepted.
ONE partners with other states besides Oregon, including Idaho and Iowa, which have similar programs to Oregon’s and are anticipating resuming New York’s condom distribution program. Jonathan Modie, Lead Communications Officer at OHA, said, “There are several other states that have a mail-order condom program, although we believe ours is one of the most generous ones out there in terms of the number of condoms and variety we provide. Other health departments with mail-order services include Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington, DC.”
As of January 2022, One at Home has delivered nearly 97,000 condoms to people in 33 of the 36 Oregon counties. Almost half of all orders are among people under age 30.
The funding for this, and other projects administered by OHA, comes from a combination of resources, to include federal CDC and HRSA-related funding that support HIV prevention and HIV care services across Oregon. Funding for this project is considered stable at this time and there are no plans to end the program due to the success and interest in this service.
The process for requesting a free order at onecondoms.com/pages/oregon is simple and requires only a full name and a valid Oregon shipping address (which the website will verify as valid and deliverable). Users have the option to add their age, race/ethnicity and sex/gender identity. Unlike most online orders, neither a phone number nor an email address is asked for.
More information about both OHA programs can be found at endHIVoregon.org.
Photo by Kris McDowell