#NationalCondomMonth launch event creates a dialogue
The Health Promotion & Wellness unit held their first #NationalCondomMonth launch event at Malcolm X Plaza on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The condom themed event included interactive activities for students like a condom dispenser scavenger hunt, condom community art piece, spin the condom trivia wheel, safe sex materials and resource tables.
“This is the first year we’re doing it. It’s in alignment with #NationalCondomMonth. This is about accessing letting people know that these resources are available, for anybody to fit their needs,” said Julie Gardner, an educator for the Health Promotion & Wellness Sexual Health unit.
The Health Promotion & Wellness unit installed a free condom dispenser at the Cesar Chavez Student Center in the lower conference level. The condom dispenser scavenger hunt was intended to make the learning fun.
“I think it’s really cool that they organize such things,” said Shivani Boer, an SF State international student and journalism major. “I don’t think everyone’s as open minded. It’s cool that they have games to talk about having sex.”
Education Referral for Sexuality (EROS) was one of the additional resources at the event. They provide educational information through their library and DVD sections, hold workshops and discussions. A key aspect of EROS is the judgement-free peer education it facilitates. They nurture natural curiosity and help students explore alternative types of sexuality.
EROS has collaborated with Health Promotion & Wellness to create the Condom Caboose. The Condom Caboose is a mobile contraceptive cart that visits different parts of campus, for two hours a week, offering free contraceptives and three minute modules on a variety of sexual health related products’ as stated on the EROS website.
“We have a referral database in case we don’t have a resource that a student needs, so we can refer them to it,” said Lucya Alvarado, assistant director of EROS. Their next event, Kink 101, will be held on campus, Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Rosa Park Conference Rooms.
The #YESmeansTEST booth, a collaboration between Hologic (Diagnostic Solutions) and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), encourages young people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases because half of all new STD cases in the U.S. are in people between the ages of 15-24. The booth will be returning to SF State in April for STD Awareness Month.
“We’re trying to get the taboo of getting tested and what that means,” said Amy Jones, Hologic Diagnostic sales specialist. “You can go to YESmeansTEST.org and type in your zip code to find a local clinic.”
The Connection, a health and social space for Asian & Pacific Islander queer men, was there promoting sexual health.
“In Asian populations, it’s a taboo subject. It’s ok to talk about it,” said Rowland Mendoza, The Connection program specialist.
According to Mochi Mag, Asian Americans have a different experience with sexual education, or rather lack thereof. In popular American culture, sex is everywhere. It’s in our movies, TV shows, songs and on the cover of magazines. However, many Asian cultures continue to have traditional viewpoints on sex. They believe sex should be reserved strictly for marriage, therefore discouraging the dialogue among Asian American families.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on their website that Asians make up for five percent of the American population and two percent of HIV infection diagnosis. In comparison to other minority groups, Asian Americans have one of the lowest HIV infection rates, but they also have one of the lowest testing rates. The Asian population has grown by 11 percent and simultaneously so has the number of HIV diagnoses within the community. Gay and bisexual men are the ones most affected by HIV within the Asian community.
The importance of commencing an open discussion was a sentiment expressed by all those at the launch event and will continue to be expressed all month long.
For those who did not make it to the event, there is more to come. These events are intended to create an open dialogue among young people about sex and its complexities.
“Our condom fairies will be handing out free safe sex materials,” said Luciana Mosqueda, Health Promotion & Wellness Health intern. “The ambassadors will dress up, have baskets and they will go around campus and hand out stuff for free,” she said.
The next event of the month is a Condom Shop on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Students can stop by and curate their personal box of safe sex supplies or make one for their partners or friends.
“It’s good to have safe sex. You should come here to get materials to have safe sex,” said Stephanie Huong, an SF State pre-nursing student, about the events.