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Teen Pregnancy

Candy, Chips and CONDOMS:
Vending Machines Aren’t Just for Snacks Anymore
Author: Juan Gallegos, Christian Placencia, Delfina Sánchez, Cristal Juárez, Alfonzo Collazo, Alejandra Vaca

All right, so you’re at a party and things start 
getting a little hot and heavy, but you don’t have a 
condom! Are you really gonna stop even though it feels 
so good? Now we know what you think we’re gonna to 
tell ya, “Don’t have sex!” But we ain’t your mamma and 
if we were, you wouldn’t listen anyway, right? Right. 
Instead, we’re gonna tell you, “Be prepared and get a 
Now are you listening?
We know that many of you think it’s too embarrassing 
to wait in line with a 12-pack of Trojans. After all, 
what if someone you know sees you? You could go to the 
clinic and get free condoms, but you’re embarrassed to 
do that too. Maybe your aunt goes to the same clinic. 
What if she sees you and tells your parents? Where are 
you gonna get a condom without these hassles?  Well 
real soon, you   might be able to get condoms at a 
vending machine located at your favorite chill place. 
Now don’t love us too much, because they ain’t free—
you gotta kick down with some dough. But hey, a condom 
is cheaper than a kid! We both know a kid ain’t right 
for you right now.
Lowering Teen Pregnancy
The Condom Vending Machine Project is sponsored by a 
group of students from Watsonville High School who 
work as teen advocates and journalists with PSI (the 
very ones who bring you ShoutOut). As advocates, we 
promote safer sex practices to sexually active teens. 
We’re in the community reminding you to wear condoms 
to protect
yourself from sexually transmitted diseases  (STDs) 
and teen  pregnancy. 
The condom vending machines will be an additional way 
for you to get condoms besides  going to the pharmacy 
or the clinic. Whether you’re too embarrassed, or it’s 
after hours, we want to make sure you can get condoms 
when you need them. 
And this is important, ‘cause Watsonville has one of 
the highest teen  pregnancy rates in the nation. 
That’s right, the NATION! Teens here keep getting 
pregnant and it’s time to do something about it! We’ve 
been talking with many members of the community to get 
their  support for what we’re doing. Former City 
Council Member Rafael López, La Manzana Family 
Resource Center, Salud Para La Gente, Casa Bienestar 
and the Youth Community  Restoration Project are just 
a few that believe condom vending machines are a good 
“Teen pregnancy is a major public health concern,” 
says Roy  Jiménez, Research and Grants Manager of 
Salud Para La Gente. “The condom machines are not an 
end-all, but can provide  protection for the 
spontaneity of the moment.” 
The Word on the Street
We’ve talked to many teens around town. You’re telling 
us you need an alternative way to get condoms and that 
you’d use these   machines. “People are embarrassed to 
buy condoms in stores,” said Marta (student names have 
been changed) from Watsonville High. “What if you’re 
standing in line and they call a price check?”
Look for the machines in places where teens kick back, 
like fast food restaurants and theaters in Watsonville 
and Santa Cruz. They’ll be in both men’s and women’s 
restrooms. So girls, don’t be shy about buying 
condoms! It’s your responsibility too. 
Claudia, a sophomore from Watsonville High School, 
thinks that girls should be able to get condoms in 
private. She believes that if a girl is seen 
purchasing condoms in public, “That’s how rumors 
start, and she’s seen as a slut.”  The restrooms will 
give you the privacy you want, because who wants 
everyone to know when you need condoms? Correct? We 
thought so. 
Facing the Facts
It hasn’t been easy to get condom vending machines 
installed, either. No sir, it hasn’t. Watsonville is a 
fairly conservative community. Some people may say 
that we’re promoting sex.
Let it be clear:  We are not pressuring teens to be 
sexually active. People who don’t have sex aren’t 
going to start doing it just because there are condoms 
Our community needs to face the fact  that half of all 
high school students are sexually active. And what’s 
really scary is that about half of those sexually 
active teens are having unprotected sex, and one out 
of every four of them will get infected with an STD. 
Teens that are having sex need to use protection. 
Don’t get us wrong, some of us at PSI are also 
conservative, but we know that when it comes to high 
teen pregnancy rates and STDs, we need to speak out 
and take action.
We believe that teens should be able to get condoms 
whenever they need them, no questions asked. It is 
your basic reproductive right: your choice, your 
freedom. Condom vending machines will give you the 
privacy you desire and the access you need.