After several years of providing students with condoms, the Student Activities Center has decided to do away with the service.
As prevention coordinator, Rachel Pope heads the team of peer health educators, who, from Feb. to March of 2019, surveyed 1,104 students about their sexual activity in order to collect data for the International Collegiate Health Assessment. The survey found that 53% of students at GC use contraceptives while having sex; however, 47% of students checked the boxes not applicable, don’t know or no.
“We want students to have good sex, and good sex is safe and consensual,” said GC prevention coordinator Rachel Pope.
For several years condoms were available at the Student Activities Center. Students were allotted a pack of 12 Trojan condoms per semester, which was kept track of by writing down students’ names when they came to receive condoms.
“The reason we took down their name is so that one student couldn’t come in and get a ton of condoms,” Pope said.
However, due to the lack of student involvement, the center didn’t see it as cost effective to continue providing this service.
“We fully support both sides.” said Pope. “We fully support abstinence and if you are sexually active. We don’t care what you are doing; we just want you to be protected while you are doing it.”
Condoms are now available at The Women’s Center (The HUB). Peer health educators also provide condoms once a month at tables in the library, at sexual health classes at residence halls and at after-hours events. Community Advisors (CAs) are also given condoms in bulk at each residence hall.
“We definitely want to promote safe sex practices,” said Jennifer Graham, director of the Women’s Center. “Condoms being readily available practices decreasing the spread of STDs on campus and decreasing unwanted pregnancies.”
Mambwe Mutiti, a public health major, is an international student from.
“I am sitting in all these classes and hearing how their sex ed isn’t mandatory,” Mutiti said. “It baffles me coming from a country where we have so little resources and coming to a country with endless resources. You can walk into any drug store here and get condoms, whereas in my country people had to walk miles.”
The top three methods of contraception on GC campus, according to the International Collegiate Health Assessment, are birth control pills at 66%, condoms at 60% and withdrawal, or “pulling out,” at 45%.
“Pulling out is dangerous because of two reasons, one being pre-ejaculation and two being the exposure to STIs because of skin to skin, fluid to fluid contact,” Pope said.
Students can go to the Wellness Center to talk to a medical professional about what birth control is right for them, and emergency contraceptives such as Plan B is stocked by most drug stores.
Birth control is also available through mobile apps such as Nurx, which allows patients to communicate with medical professionals through an app.
Photo by Alex Bradley | Staff Photographer