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June 8, 1979

A Plea for the Condom, Especially for Teenagers

Author Affiliations

Bureau of Venereal Disease Control New York City Health Department State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn
From the Bureau of Venereal Disease Control, New York City Health Department, and the Division of Dermatology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.

JAMA. 1979;241(23):2517-2518. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290490023017

DURING the past two decades, a revolution has taken place in contraceptive use in this country. The diaphragm and the condom, mainstays of contraception until the advent of the pill, have gradually fallen into disfavor among increasingly wide segments of the population who prefer the more modern and convenient oral contraceptive or the intrauterine devices (IUDs). Although condom sales have actually risen in the past ten years, its use among teenagers has declined.1 The net effect of these developments has been to increase dramatically the number of persons using some form of effective contraception.

Nevertheless, in calendar year 1976 there were 588,744 pregnancies in teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 years that were carried to term in the United States,2 an all-time high; 231,734 legal abortions were performed in this same age group.3 Furthermore, despite easy and, until recently, free-of-cost access to abortion since the