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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sex health promoted on Mall

    TAYLOR HOUSE / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Sexual responsibility week on the mall.
    TAYLOR HOUSE / Arizona Daily Wildcat Sexual responsibility week on the mall.

    Free condoms, brochures, T-shirts and a chance to meet Mr. Condom were all part of the kickoff for National Sexual Responsibility Week on the UA Mall yesterday.

    Campus Health Service sponsored the event, part of a national program started by Bacchus/Gamma, a student organization that promotes health and alcohol awareness to provide students with sexual-health-related information and resources, said Lee Ann Hamilton, a health educator and adviser for Campus Health.

    The goal of the week is to decrease unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual assault while promoting healthy relationships, Hamilton said.

    “”The best sex would be when you’re ready, when it’s mutual and when you’re protected,”” she said. “”We’re a resource. We want to provide students with the information and resources that they might need.””

    The weeklong event will continue at Campus Health through Valentine’s Day, and gives students an opportunity to learn how to talk to their partners about sex-related issues. Prizes were offered to those who correctly guessed how many condoms were in a jar, said Sarah Brown, a public health education junior and a Campus Health education intern.

    “”This is important because a lot of people don’t know how to have safer sex, “” she said. “”We’re out here because we can reach out to all different kinds of people.””

    National Sexual Responsibility Week used to be recognized as National Condom Week, but now it’s a much broader event, Hamilton said.

    “”It’s about abstinence, sexual assaults, STDs, condoms, risk reduction, everything that’s related to sex,”” Hamilton said. “”Many students are abstaining, but for those who choose to be sexually active, there are ways to make it safer.””

    Hamilton said it’s important for couples to communicate about what they are looking for in a relationship and about safer sex.

    “”Some students don’t know a lot about birth control; they’re not aware of how to prevent STDs,”” Hamilton said.

    An array of community organizations participated, including members from the Eon Youth Lounge, a “”drop-in empowerment space for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth community and their straight allies,”” said Casey Condit, a health education coordinator for Eon.

    Members were participating in the event to educate people about safer sex, Condit said.

    “”Arizona is an abstinence-only education state, and we feel that it’s not very effective,”” she said. “”It is important to look at it realistically.””

    Condit said the group uses a harm-reduction model to educate people about everything related to sex.

    “”The highest rates of HIV infection are in younger people and in women of color, and the UA has many of each,”” Condit said.

    It’s important for students to have access to comprehensive and accurate information, Condit said.

    “”Information is what helps folks make good decisions about their health,”” Condit said.

    Britni Mollihan, a physiology freshman, said the campaign helps students because they can learn about the harmful consequences of unprotected sex.

    “”I think it’s good to be aware that it’s OK to be safe,”” Mollihan said.

    Mollihan said she’s glad the campaign is scheduled near Valentine’s Day because couples will be thinking about their relationships. And the human-sized walking condom was a good feature, she added.

    “”It makes it humorous, so people are more comfortable being around condoms,”” Mollihan said.

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