Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free the Condoms!

In this liminal space between the release of Coming Together: With Pride and Pride itself, I want to take the opportunity to a) celebrate safer sex, and b) decry the high cost of condoms. Like those giant pharmas withholding meds because their bottom lines are more important than real people, condom manufacturers charge way too much for their product. I mean, come on! It's just a little latex.

Condoms should be free! And sometimes they are. Planned Parenthood and other sexual health and social service centres offer condoms free of charge because they know just how important a role latex plays in preventing the spread of disease.

I've done my homework and put together a fairly comprehensive listing of locations throughout Canada where free condoms are available. I felt it was important to do the legwork here because, even with the miracle of the internet, it just didn't seem easy enough to find this kind of comprehensive list for Canadians looking for condoms.

Most Colleges and Universities also have their own Sexual Health centres, so if you’re a student safe sex can start right on campus.


As a disclaimer, I ought to say that I'm not a medical doctor and nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Also, the following information was correct at the time I did my research. My apologies if anything is outdated.

And now, a listing by province of sexual health clinics where free condoms are distributed:

ALBERTA
Calgary
Jasper
Red Deer

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Vancouver and beyond
Victoria

MANITOBA
Winnipeg *scroll down for a listing of teen clinics

MARITIMES
Halifax, Nova Scotia
PEI
St John's, Newfoundland

ONTARIO
Grey Bruce County (Walkerton, Chesley, Owen Sound)
Guelph *looks like they offer the morning after pill for free as well
Halton (Burlington, Georgetown, Milton, Acton)
Hamilton
Ottawa
Peterborough
Prince Edward and Hastings Counties (Belleville, Trenton, Madoc, Picton, Bancroft) *website specifies "reduced cost contraceptives"
Sudbury
Thunder Bay

Toronto
*I found lots of sexual health clinic here - that's why it's called Toronto the Good ;-)
Immigrant women's health centre
Planned Parenthood
Sexual health centres
More sexual health centres
Women's health matters


QUEBEC
*suivez ce lien pour toute une liste des cliniques au Qu├ębec

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatoon

TERRITORIES
I didn’t have much luck with my research into clinics in Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. I understand that First Nations health centres are operated by the Nations themselves, so that’s a start. Otherwise, here’s a pretty comprehensive listing, though most centres don’t seem to have websites: http://www.sexualityandu.ca/teens/tips-9-12.aspx

Wow! What a list. I hope all my fellow Canadians can find a sexual health centre nearby. Pick up some condoms, get some STI testing done, get informed... Let's all make use of these valuable resources and make the sexual landscape a little bit safer for ourselves and our partners.

Bright Blessings,
Giselle