Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Condoms

How can I get free condoms?

To get free condoms from the Condom Access Project, you need to be between 12 and 19 years old and live in California.
You can either pick up free condoms or you might qualify to get free condoms by mail, depending on where you live. Use our Get Free Condoms form to find out how you can get condoms.

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Can I get free condoms by mail?

You may qualify for free condoms by mail if you are between the ages of 12 and 19 and live in Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego or San Joaquin Counties, or parts of San Francisco.

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What will the mailed package look like and what do I get?

If you qualify for free condoms by mail, you’ll get a plain, padded envelope sent to the address you provide. The outside doesn’t say anything about condoms.

Photo of the CAP Envelope

Photo of what is in the CAP Envelope

You get 10 condoms (a variety of types), lube (to reduce the chance of your condom breaking), and some reading material about STDs. If you live in Los Angeles County, your package might include a different brand of condoms (learn more here). 

You should receive your condom mailer within 10 business days after you send us your information. If you didn’t receive your package, email STDprograms@essentialaccess.org

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Where else can I order free condoms by mail?

If you live in Los Angeles County, get free condoms mailed to you at home from LAcondom.com. If you live outside of California, search Condomfinder.org for places to pick up free condoms, no matter your age.

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What can I expect when I go to one of the places on the map to get free condoms?

The CAP map will explain whether you can pick-up free condoms at the site on a walk-in basis or if there are other requirements to getting free condoms (like signing up for medical services). All sites on the map are teen-friendly, but if you have any trouble picking up condoms at a site, let us know at STDprograms@essentialaccess.org.

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Condoms, STDs and Pregnancy

How can condoms help me have safer sex?

Condoms keep you safe by helping to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Condoms are also a type of birth control that can help prevent pregnancy, and can be used with other birth control methods. Learn more about using condoms.

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What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and how can I avoid getting one?

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are diseases spread from any type of sexual contact including vaginal, anal or oral. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, herpes, hepatitis B and syphilis are all types of STDs. The only way to be 100% sure to avoid STDs is to not have sex. If you’re having sex, use a condom every time you have sex to help prevent STDs.

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Are condoms 100% effective in preventing STDs and pregnancy?

When condoms are used correctly they provide significant protection, but condoms do not prevent STDs and pregnancy 100% of the time. Choosing not to have sex is the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

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How do I know if I have an STD?

The best way to know if you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is to get tested. Most people who have chlamydia or gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms. You can have serious long-term health problems if you don’t get medical treatment of an STD.

Find a clinic where you can get free or low-cost confidential testing and treatment near you.

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Talking About Sex and Condoms

How do I know if I am ready to have sex?

That’s a great question, but only you can answer it. Take time to think about whether you’re ready to have sex. Talk it over with your partner, your parents, or a trusted adult or friend. There’s no rush. Don’t let anyone pressure you into having sex before you’re ready.

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How can I have an honest conversation with my parents about sex?

Talking about sex with your parents can be awkward. Remember, your parents care about you and can help you make smarter decisions. Even if the idea grosses you out, your parents probably know a lot about sex. Learn how to talk to your parents about sex.

(Hey parents! Learn why condom access is important for California teens.)

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How can I talk with my partner about condoms with confidence?

If you’re ready to have sex, talk with your partner about protection. Conversations about sex can be difficult, but talking honestly helps you take care of yourself and your partner. Talking about condoms and safer sex is a demonstration of respect for your partner and yourself. Learn about condoms, birth control, preventing STDs, and healthy relationships.

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What if I’m the one who is uncomfortable?

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about sex, especially if it’s your first time. Get to know your partner emotionally and talk with them about how you’ll have safer sex together. It’s also normal if you’re not ready to have sex. There’s no rush, so take it slow and don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do.

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