Group pushes for condom dispensers in high schools
Many youth on P.E.I. are sexually active, and a P.E.I. group is urging high schools to help protect them by installing condom dispensers.
According to Statistics Canada, nearly 30 per cent of Island youth have had unprotected sex.
Hep'd up on Life, a youth group connected to the Native Council of P.E.I. that works to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, says the best way to stop that is by increasing the availability of condoms.
"This is not promoting sexual activity, it is promoting healthy sexual activity among those students who are thinking about becoming sexually active, or who are," program co-ordinator Jenna Burke told CBC News Wednesday.
Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Farrer acknowledges it is difficult for teenagers to buy condoms.
"I'm embarrassed to go in," said Farrer.
"I've never gone in and bought them before."
That means, she said, sometimes she just doesn't have one. She can see consequences of that problem in her school.
"There's always someone at least in each year that's pregnant now," said Farrer.
Individual school's decision
No schools on P.E.I. have condom dispensers. Both English language school boards say that decision is up to individual schools. Bluefield High School in Hampshire and Colonel Grey in Charlottetown have condoms available, but only if students asks certain counsellors or teachers.
The teenagers CBC News talked to said they wouldn't do that; they'd rather put a coin in a machine in the bathroom.
High school principals reached by CBC News said the issue of dispensers has never been raised, and they won't consider it until the issue comes up in their own school.
Hep'd Up on Life began its petition a year and a half ago, with support from AIDS P.E.I. It still has only about 170 signatures.
Their plan is to present it to the minister of education, and Burke said the group will continue to push for condoms in schools until they are made available.