This guideline covers condom distribution schemes. The aim is to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In addition, these schemes can provide a good introduction to broader sexual and reproductive health services, especially for younger people, and help prevent unplanned pregnancies.

NICE has also produced guidelines on contraceptive services for under 25s and on the physical health of people in prison.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Local authority commissioners of services for those most at risk of STIs
  • Providers of condom distribution schemes
  • Practitioners working in specialist and general services for groups at high risk of an STI
  • People who use or are considering using condom distribution schemes, their families and carers, and the general public

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline was produced as a result of the review of NICE guideline PH3 (February 2007).

NICE worked with Public Health England to develop this guidance.

Next review: April 2021

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • Public Health England
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)