To assist Boston University students in honoring the true spirit of Valentine’s Day, the Condom Fairy service will begin delivering free contraceptives to students’ mailboxes beginning the week of the holiday.
Katharine Mooney, Wellness Coordinator at BU’s Wellness and Prevention Services who created the Condom Fairy, said she initiated the service in response to student demand.
“Student Health Services offers free condoms to students, but we received feedback that students were not comfortable picking them up in public,” Mooney said.
The launch of Condom Fairy marks the first ever condom-by-mail service at any university, Mooney said. Students will be able to order up to three Trojan condoms, two FC2 female condoms and three lubricants to be delivered to their mailbox for free.
With the new service, Mooney said she hopes students will practice safe sex because they will no longer feel intimidated by the social stigma of purchasing or picking up condoms in public.
“Condom Fairy is discreet and promotes safe sex as well as sexual education,” Mooney said.
She also said each Condom Fairy delivery comes with a card encouraging safe sex and includes information on testing for sexually transmitted infections.
By promoting safe sex, Mooney said she also hopes to see a decline in STI rates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection estimates 19,700,000 new STIs occur every year nationwide, with about half occurring among people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to data released Wednesday by the CDC.
While Condom Fairy may be seen as controversial by some students, Mooney said those with access to contraceptives are not necessarily more sexually active.
“Research shows that giving access to protection does not encourage sexual behavior,” she said.
Placing an order with the Condom Fairy on the SHS website is simple, Mooney said. After selecting what he or she would like to receive, a student must simply supply his or her name, address and BU identification number.
Students can expect a mailbox delivery within five business days, Mooney said. However, only on-campus students can utilize the service.
Mooney said she would like to include dental dams or more than one type of condom alongside the other contraceptives offered.
WPS purchases the male condoms delivered to students, but even with this cost, Condom Fairy is not an expensive program, Mooney said
She said she expects plenty of orders to be placed in the coming weeks as they begin to advertise the Condom Fairy on four Boston University Shuttles. WPS might use Condom Fairy appearances and a QR Code to further promote the service.
Anna Treyzon, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman, said she hopes the Condom Fairy service promotes safe sex among students.
“People are often unprepared and that is when bad things happen,” she said. “Hopefully this can lead to smarter decisions.”
However, several students are more pessimistic about the new service.
Hannah Klarner, a CAS senior, said the service should be quicker to accommodate students’ needs.
“The idea is really good, but I am not sure I understand the five day waiting period,” Klarner said.
Katie Boule, a CAS sophomore who used the Condom Fairy service, said she used the website Saturday after hearing about it around campus.
“I used the service because it sounded efficient and more private than buying condoms or going into Health Services in front of everyone and reaching into the big fishbowl of condoms,” she said.
Margaret Waterman contributed to the reporting of this article.