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Last night was “Sex-A-Palooza” my big event for distributing condoms. I had sex related prizes, we played Sex Jeopardy and Words in A Bucket! When people walked in they were given goody bags with 3 Trojan condoms, 2 $1 off coupons and the instructions for using condoms. There were baked goods, chips and soda. We also had pins that were free, related to safe sex and Trojan! It was a great event and people had a lot of fun!

Categories: Condoms
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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there\’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an \”Advocate\”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
\”A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all\”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an \”Advocate For Youth\”.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an “Advocate”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
“A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an “Advocate For Youth”.

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By: Sarah Bradley ’17

On April 5, I and another freshmen member of Students for Sexual Health attended the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts conference for campus organizers, alongside representatives from UMASS-Amherst, Boston University, Tufts University, Northeastern University, Smith College, and Wellesley College. It was a day of instruction and reflection on how to improve our campus outreach programs, strengthen our campaigns, recruit new members, and facilitate those difficult conversations concerning reproductive social justice. Discussions were encouraged as we exchanged ideas and strategies. Representing Boston College—a school where we as a student group have no support from the administration and literally stand on non-BC property sidewalks to distribute condoms—we represented a unique situation within the group.

It was both frustrating and incredibly exciting to hear what other schools were doing, to hear about their incredibly fun and innovative events and creative campus outreach programs. When we explained our situation as an unrecognized sexual health group at a Catholic college, the other representatives were shocked. They were quick to suggest different ways to rally support and to promote our cause, regardless of our campus situation. And they had some great ideas.

Taking the train home, I found myself wishing I attended a more liberal college where our student group could have more freedom with our outreach programs. Then I realized: as great as it is that these other Massachusetts schools have the ability to rally on campus and receive administrative support, the fact remains that this is not the situation we face at Boston College—at least, not now.

I’m a freshman. That means that I have three more years to continue working with Students for Sexual Health here at BC. If I had attended a more progressive college, maybe sexual health would have just been another cause among the lineup of tables at the club fair. But attending a conservative college, as frustrating as it may be, is an important push that maybe I would not have experienced otherwise. It’s not about sulking over the lack of administrative support; it’s about taking it as a challenge.

Personally, I know that I have three more years ahead of me of standing on the sidewalk passing out condoms, holding events off campus, and doing our best even as an unofficial group to educate our peers. And while it may not happen during my time here as a student, SSH will be an official group someday—but even then, Students for Sexual Health will continue to advocate for our cause and for our right to educate our peers here at BC.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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Sex in general is phenomenon of creation of new life through love and affection. It is a part of life and happiness as it makes two soul one. But sex at present is not a mere system for fomenting a life. This has divided sex into a safer one, hygienic sex and unhygienic sex.
Unhygienic sex has been responsible for permeation of sexually transmitted infection in this world. starting from Gonorrhea, Syphilis many newer infection has been arose in the present world such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV),Chlamydia, Hepatitis, Herpes-Genital, HIV/AIDS, Human Papilloma virus (HPV)
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Infertility, Trichomoniasis etc. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact by means of sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. . Some of these disease lack symptoms as other medical diseases generally have and they are very common.
Safer sex practice is the only major way to prevent oneself form these disease which should also include a care of self genital hygiene. The most effective way to prevent sexual transmission of STIs is to avoid contact of body parts or fluids which can lead to transfer with an infected partner. Proper use of Contraceptives can also help on its prevention to certain level and use of Condoms can also be effective in most of the case. STDs test by both partner and regular health check up can be much better way to get away from STDs

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According to DoSomething.org, “more than 90 percent of parents of junior high and high school students believe that it is somewhat or very important for sex education to be included in the curriculum”. And yet, if a basic question regarding sex is typed into Google, some of the most popular results include webpages such as Yahoo Answers. Many schools across the United States currently push for the abstinence-only, Mean Girls approach (“Don’t’ have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!”) Yet even if these schools are not providing students with information regarding sex education, students will find their own means to understand their questions—often, from unreliable sources such as Internet forums, or word of mouth from other students.

College campuses provide a unique opportunity to learn first-hand what high school sex education programs are like in various states; try asking classmates from different locations what their experience has been in the past. For example, I attended an urban high school in Pennsylvania, where I received an intensive sex education class in ninth grade that covered all methods of contraception, how they are used, and their effectiveness. In contrast, I have a friend from a rural town in Washington whose sex education class was shorter than one semester and consisted of an abstinence-only approach. When I asked him how he pursued the answers to his questions regarding sex education, his answer was simple: the Internet.

You know how teachers are picky about research paper sources, strongly against the use of sites like Wikipedia, but advocating for researched articles? Those Internet forums on informal sex education are like Wikipedia for your body. Young students are getting their own information from complete strangers on Internet forums who claim to know all the answers—answers that may prove unreliable and unsafe. Our generation is at high risk for unplanned pregnancies and contraction of STDs, and the public school system is doing little or nothing to help. Abstinence-only methods are ineffective; if students want to know more, they have endless resources—thank you, Internet—to help them do their own research. Yet these methods are not as reliable and not nearly as trustworthy as a researched curriculum would be to students in the classroom.

Young students have the right to learn about their sexual health. The choices they make outside the classroom are their own. But if every student is provided with an equal level of education in regard to prevention of STDs, unintended pregnancies, and equal understanding of their sexual health, then every student has an equal chance to be healthy in their sexual choices. (And P.S.—the parents agree.)

 

Sarah Bradley ’17

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 WHY I AM A STUDENT FOR SEXUAL HEALTH

By Matt Mazzari

It’s no secret that Catholic-affiliated universities in America struggle with open discussions of sexuality on their campuses.  The fundamental discomfort that religious educational administrations feel regarding issues such as contraception, STI prevention and pre-marital sexual activity in general make it difficult for students at places like my own school, Boston College, to have the oh-so-very important conversations about birth control and sexual health that are oh-so-very relevant to university life.

Of course, acknowledging that these unnecessary taboos exist isn’t to say that progressive conversation isn’t happening anyway.  At BC, students simply find outlets for discussions of sexuality on our own.  Just a few weeks ago, a theatre group of female undergraduates put on three full-house performances of The Vagina Monologues.  Before that, I saw the LGBTQ allies of BC flood an anti-marriage equality lecture on campus with their assertively-tolerant presence.  This semester, I’m taking a course titled “Spirituality and Sexuality” with an openly gay professor wherein my classmates are talking about their own experiences with sex and its relevance (positive and negative) to their religious lives.

Just because certain members of the administration aren’t appreciative of how important these issues are doesn’t mean that the students are going to be silent about them.  The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority (approximately 75%) of U.S. college students are sexually active, and religious institutions like Boston College are not some miraculous exception.

So yes, students here generally recognize the importance of sexual health to at least some extent.  And it makes sense, right?  A constant topic of controversy for BC is the “hook-up culture”, which students and external perspectives alike have described as being especially pervasive on this campus; any statistically literate person can tell you that this social scene in combination with a lack of sexual health awareness programs is a recipe for disaster, particularly when you consider the fact that 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract an STD by the age of 25. In a survey from 2009, about 90% of BC students answered in support of having access to contraceptive resources, i.e. condoms, available on campus.  It’s pretty clear where the student body (pun-intended) stands on this matter of promoting sexual health.

But if we’re basically all in agreement, why is having a group like the Students for Sexual Health so important at BC?

Personally, I became a part of SSH relatively late; I’m a senior now, and I only went to my first meeting last semester.  I’d seen them handing out condoms at the corner of College Road and Hammond Street since I was a freshman living on Upper Campus.  I remember hearing about the “incidents”: the counter-activism from conservative clubs on campus, the frequent harassment they dealt with from the campus police, or that one time they got yelled at by a priest during condom distribution outside of McElroy.  But despite being aware of the problem and the ludicrous knock-back SSH was encountering, it wasn’t really until this year that it dawned on me that progress just doesn’t seem to be coming along fast enough.

Just look at the political sphere!  Backwards opinions on sexual health aren’t exclusive to Catholic university campuses: since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, one of the central controversies has been the coverage of birth control as part of health expenses.  Because, I guess, sexual health isn’t a part of…health?  By last year, nearly a hundred federal lawsuits had been filed specifically in opposition to ACA’s birth control benefits.  The Supreme Court has recently ceded to the demands of several Catholic Organizations regarding this issue.  For instance, the owners of a company named Hobby Lobby, a for-profit Arts and Crafts material-supplier with no open religious affiliation, successfully argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) grants them exemption from providing their employees with birth control insurance based solely on their own religious beliefs.

I’m sorry, but what?!

         How in the name of all that is reasonable does a corporation justify denying its employees federally-guaranteed health care on the basis of the CEO’s personal religion?  So, even though 99% of sexually-active women report having used birth control, that medical expense somehow doesn’t count?  The owners of an Arts and Crafts company just have to say “We think the Pill was invented by Satan” and then they automatically don’t have to provide the women in their company with medical coverage they obviously need?  Should we also take away insurance coverage of blood transfusions if a company owner is part of Jehovah’s Witness?  Should we take away people’s chemo treatment if their manager believes exclusively in faith-healing? The fact that President Obama and Congress are entertaining these demands is extremely unsettling.  Not only does this fly in the face of everything that a national health care plan is supposed to be, it perpetuates an attitude towards young persons’ sexuality (female sexuality in particular) that is incredibly dangerous and wrongheaded, resulting  in the continued high-rates of accidental pregnancies, VD transmission, and general ignorance that have proven to be problematic in the past.

So that’s why I’m a part of this club, SSH.  It’s not because I’m pessimistic about my campus or the students’ attitude here at BC; it’s not because I believe in anything more radical than “everyone should know how to have protected sex”; it’s not even because I want the federal government to provide Americans with anything beyond what it has already agreed to provide.  It’s because the opponents to programs like SSH are still so vocal and powerful, and there is still such a long way to go.  When our country finally reaches the point where it has covered that distance in sexual education and provision of necessary resources, I want to be able to say I was a part of that movement, that I was a Student for Sexual Health.

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For the month of February, besides attending a Jack and Jill health fair in Fort. Lauderdale, I began my ‘Contraception Awareness Campaign.’  This project is an endeavor that will last for about 8 weeks at my attempt to get 200 people on my campus to learn something new about contraception. My goal is to peer educate at least 25 people every week while I table at my college.  (I will provide information like how to get contraception, the proper way to store them, comparative analysis between brands including breaking myths, as well as educating the importance of contraception in preventing pregnancy). In my first week, there were approximately 40-80 people in attendance and we collected 40 sign ups. The focus was ‘How well do you know your STI’s?’ Although many people came up and played our game, it took an engineering major to win the $25 It’s sugar gift card give-away!  Also around Valentine’s Day, I took part in hosting a love Workshop on my campus in order to educate the students on healthy relationships and contraception use. My passion for educating my peers on this controversial topic comes from recognizing the important role contraceptives play in people’s futures.  As an incredible philosopher once said “Neglect of an effective birth control policy is a never-failing source of poverty which, in turn, is the parent of revolution and crime.” —ARISTOTLE, Politics.

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What better way to prepare for Valentine’s Day than to celebrate and promote condom use around the world?

Today, all over the world, volunteers are giving out free condoms and hosting HIV testing events to spread the message of safe sex and love for your partners. Twenty-eight countries take part in this holiday to remind folks of the “simple low-cost prevention method that works.”

Though the International Condom Day events seem fun-filled, it reminds us of the reality of our global fight on HIV/AIDS. Terri Ford, the Senior Director for Global Policy and Advocacy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, says “after 25 years of AIDS, we have largely failed in HIV prevention, and that is something that must change.”

Even though we know condoms are one of the best and most readily available ways to prevent the spread of HIV, people still have problems accessing condoms or simply don’t use them. This day is used to remind all to use a condom, not only to show love to yourself but to your partner as well.

Wanna see a close up of all the condom action going on today? Reuters has a great slideshow of photos from all around the world.

 

Sources:

http://lovecondoms.org/blog/2011/02/11/international-condom-day/

Categories: Condoms
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Cute and easy to hand out!

Hey everyone! So here is the update on what I am doing this far.

Now: Though it was very disappointing to get the email saying that I wouldn’t get the condoms in time for valentines day, I had already pre planned for if this were to occur. I had signed up for tables ahead of time for the day before and the day of valentines day. I had emailed Mabel Wadsworth (a women’s health center near my campus) asking if I could get some condoms for condom awareness week. They gladly responded and wanted to help out. So I will be tabling the day before and the day of valentines day. I have made condom lollipops (putting a round shaped condom on a stick), condom roses (really easy- needs only 3-4 condoms/looks AWESOME) and condom valentines with slogans like “Things are heating up this Valentines Day, Protect yourself”, “You give me a heart on”, “I just had safe sex, and it felt so good!” with a condom inside. There will also be candy at the table (of course- Valentines Day=Sweets) and a bowl of condoms to just grab without any of the creativity added. Even though I couldn’t get the condoms from GACC, I wanted to make sure that people were still able to have safe sex this Valentines Day- which is why I had pre planned in case of a situation like this.

Future: I have already booked a room in the Union (our central building on campus where people go for food, career opportunities, printing, picking up mail, meeting with higher ups, greek life, etc.) and have the room for 2 different days this semester, where I will be planning on doing fun activities about condom awareness. I also will be taking some of the condoms and putting them in a jar in my chapter room for my sorority (and possibly other greek Fraternities and Sororities) to keep in their house or chapter room to promote safe sex on a Greek level.

But there it is, so far so good. I’ve had a lot of fun planning this far and I am so happy to say that I am a GACC Safesite! Can’t wait for the condoms to come in!

Categories: Condoms
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Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Instead of writing statistical facts about HIV/AIDS in the Black community, I will share a personal story of overcoming my fear of getting tested.

I became sexually active during my junior year of college. I read everything I could about sex and contraceptives before my encounter with my first partner. The consequences of possibly getting pregnant, contracting an STI or HIV was a risk I definitely reduced by using condoms and birth control.

So why was I so fearful of getting tested for HIV several months later?

At this point, I was heavily involved in sexual health groups on campus and was a member of the great Young Women of Color Leadership Council (shameless plug). I was an educator, and an advocate for sexual health, but I couldn’t bring it to myself to commit to getting tested.

I felt like a hypocrite.

While promoting National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on campus three years ago, I told myself to stop living in fear and to get tested. I was nervous all day. I sat in class thinking all about my sexual health and history. Sure, I had been tested for STI’s like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis at my school’s health center, but I felt so sure that I couldn’t possibly be HIV positive…

And that’s where the issue lies. The idea that I was so sure, so confident, so affirming of my status, that I had delayed getting tested. In reality, I had no clue. I made myself believe that being HIV positive couldn’t happen to me!

Later that evening, I walked into the testing site and performed a rapid HIV test. Although it said rapid, it felt like forever to hear the results. The man I sat with was extremely consoling and helpful. We chatted about sexual health and the work we do in our communities. His passion and support helped me through the wait.

At last, I got my results. I was negative. A lot of things ran through my mind: relief, happiness, tears of joy, but also guilt.

I felt guilty that someone might go in there and not hear the same results I did. I also felt guilty that I spoke on such a mighty pedestal and pressured my peers to get tested for HIV when I was afraid myself.

The day I got tested was a learning lesson for me. As young people, we often feel that we are invincible. Regardless of my knowledge about sexual health, it’s my duty first to make sure that I know my status. I felt like I couldn’t get HIV, but in reality, it was a possibility.

Be confident in knowing your status through getting tested every 6 months. Do not hesitate to ask your partner if they’ve been tested either. DO NOT allow anyone to make you feel bad about questioning their sexual health history. Include condom use along with other forms of contraceptives.

I can confidently share this advice because I am following it myself.

It’s time for us to stop living in the unknown.

Peace and love,

Bree

 

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Thank you to everyone who applied to be a spring 2014 SafeSite! Safesite applications are currently closed! Check back in August for the Fall 2014 semester applications!

This semester’s SafeSites have been selected and should be receiving their box soon – hopefully in time for V-Day – taking into account mother nature’s winter weather plans. Don’t forget to share your awesome activities with us here on Amplify and on Facebook!

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This month I planned my Passion Project which I will be focusing on for the first half of 2014. It is centered on providing people with information on contraceptive access, and bringing awareness to my campus about ways the students can protect themselves.  I plan to table on campus weekly for two consecutive months in order to reach a minimum of 200 people. During these tabling events I will have one on one peer education sessions, a question box, interactive training, and giveaways. Most excitingly, I will be gaining more support for the Healthy Teens Campaign. February and March are going to be productive months, and I most look forward to seeing the positive impact that educated youth will have on our communities.

 

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You don’t have to admit that the title scares you away a little bit (I still turn up my face a little at the thought), but this topic is interesting to me because it shows that no matter the age, people are always interested in sex.  No one wants to imagine their parents having sex, let alone their grandparents. It brought up an interesting conversation, however.

Younger people tend to think that as they age or begin to date more long term, they do not need a form of birth control. While hormonal birth control may not be used among the older adults – I’m talking post menopausal women age – condoms are still very important to prevent transmission of STDs and HIV. Age doesn’t mean you get a disinterest in sex. It also does not mean that you do not have to use birth control. You should always use some form of birth control – whether that be hormonal, barrier or both. While getting pregnant may not always be a worry, contracting an STD or HIV should be.

I could go on forever, but I don’t want to bore you. So as the title indicates, sex can still be an interesting activity at any age, but one must always remember to protect themselves each and every time!!.For more information on sexual and reproductive health topics, text “sext” to 74574.

Categories: Condoms
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(reposted from USAToday, David Jackson, click for original and full post – Image of President Obama: Charles Dharapak – AP)

President Obama has put out his annual statement on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, praising the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-abortion laws.

“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” Obama said in a statement.

The president said he also wants to re-affirm commitments to “reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”

 

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Hi everyone! I just found out that I am a GACC SafeSite this semester and I am so excited to be raising awareness to safe sex and using protection. I am a student at the University of Maine and work in the women’s resource center. I was assigned to plan tabling and handing out condoms for condom awareness week (the week of valentines day- go figure!) and decided to take a step above what I was assigned and make this project a bit more important than it would have been just handing out condoms here and there. I wanted to be able to give information and have fun with students as they learn more about what they are at risk for, and lead them to a healthier and safer future. I have had so many ideas for what I could do to raise awareness, one of my favorites is going to be on Valentines day/week (hopefully the condoms are delivered by then). I want to add lollipop sticks to condoms to make them look like lollipops and give them in candy bags (“How sweet it is to be STD free!”) Kind of catchy and cute I think. I also plan on hosting a game event to learn about STDs and win prizes while giving out condoms (if all goes well-this should go very well). I am a member of Greek life on my campus, and want to spread the word across campus, but to the Greek community as well- that “safe sex is great sex, always wear a latex”. I hope that my events this year will raise awareness and help lead the light to a healthier future, while having fun!

Categories: Condoms
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I just found out the other day that I was selected to be a GACC SafeSite! I’m very excited for this opportunity. At this time, I’m trying to plan the best ways to follow through with my obligations as a new SafeSite. Any and all advice will be appreciated!

Categories: Condoms
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While I was a part of YWOCLC, our program manager Trina Scott, in addition to all the other wonderful things she taught us, always made sure that we knew the basic rules for condom use, and were always carrying some, if not for ourselves, then for others that might need them.

Here’s a handy graphic to help remember the basics. If you’re an RA, you could print this out and put it up on your door. This works great for clinics too and other places where people can pick up condoms.

 

Image courtesy of Isabella Rotman

Categories: Condoms
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condomologyinfographic

Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

Check it out, watch the videos, and share the infographic!

Categories: Condoms
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image

 

I am a pretty big fan of sitting at home with food and shows to binge on.  And East Los High caught my full and undivided attention.  I’m not normally into soapy teen dramas, but the problems teens face everyday, especially teens of color in neighborhoods like East Los, were real.

While many find sex and the details of it to still be taboo to discuss, teens are left without the rights and respect to get the knowledge they need to better protect themselves.  I found it so refreshing to find a series that is easily relatable, stimulating, and educational.  Oh, and guess what?  Characters in the show can actually say the word “abortion.”  There wasn’t a Voldemort treatment of an actual medical procedure that one out of three women in the United States will experience in their lifetime.  Even better, several choices and paths that follow unprotected sex are explored and tidbits of helpful sexual health facts and info are casually placed into the dialogue.  There’s even brief but impactful conversations on masculinity and gender roles in regards to safe sex throughout the show.

I had a Hulu Plus account and was fortunately able to view the “Hulu exclusive” series, but anyone can watch the full episodes on the East Los High website.  It’s a good and fairly accessible teen drama with lots of examples and lessons to share.    There are little whispers about a second season to appear, and I am excitedly waiting.  Not everyone shared my enthusiasm for the show though.  An online “news” article from Life Site News expressed an opinion:

Planned Parenthood’s has its guns aimed squarely at Hispanic teens, as it continues its latest foray into eugenic targeting via an unbelievably salacious novella featuring an all-Latino/Latina cast…

What kind of public service is done by the airing of this trashy novella directed to Hispanic teens? And just what is the “moral” of Episode 1? Finish the dance with your boyfriend before dashing to the car to have sex with someone else? Watch out when you have sex in a car because someone may be videotaping you? Being voted Winter Queen will make you extremely popular on the hookup circuit?

How can anyone even use the word “moral” in connection with this series?

There are some other significant things that this writer neglects to mention besides the awesome sexual health info and examples found throughout the series.  East Los High is the first English language show with an all Latino cast.  And what is even better is that the cast defies the mainstream roles that Latino people are often forced into.  For something like this to be left out in this diatribe is quite telling of the kind of perspective the writer has, especially with the condescending and twisted but very nonexistent link between the show and fictitious eugenic attempts.

Miriam Perez, a past contributor on Racialicious, Feministing, and RHRealityCheck, has written on this topic of anti-choice movements making it seem like they care about women of color.  Her post was originally found on RHRealityCheck, but I pulled it off Racialicious.  From the succinct and eloquent post Worried About Women of Color? Thanks, But No Thanks, Anti-Choicers. We’ve Got It Covered:

At first glance, it’s nice to see the anti-choice community pretending to care about communities of color. But within a few minutes, the skepticism sets in. What’s really behind these tactics, coming from a group that is majority white, middle-class and Christian? In the end, we know this isn’t actually about women of color and their well-being. It’s a sensationalist attempt to pit women of color against the reproductive rights movement. Classic divide and conquer…

We’ve fought back against governmental policies like welfare family caps and limits on access to certain types of contraception over others. We’ve fought with the reproductive rights community to get them to care about these issues and how they affect our communities—and we’ve won.

We’re fighting for access to contraception, to abortion, to options for childbirth and parenting. And now we’ll fight the racist and paternalistic logic behind the eugenics arguments being made by anti-choicers.

Life Site News has urged concerned citizens to call  Hulu’s corporate headquarters at 310-571-4700 to remove the series and to make sure a second season contract cannot be extended.  Please use the number to the opposite.

(This has also been posted on my blogs FanTalk and STFU, Pro-Lifers.)

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Did you know that December 1st was World Aids awareness day? If not, you weren’t the only one. About 75%-80% of the people I spoke directly to this month had no idea about this fact either. That is why I recently had the pleasure to have small peer education sessions with over 30 people and not only fill them in on this relevant information, but also to pass out goody bags filled with candy, condoms, and other small pamphlets. What I enjoyed most about my small direct sessions with the students on my campus was the way we were able to engage in this somewhat intimidating topic. I had the fear at first that people would want to shy away from the discussion and not give me the chance to explain, but instead many welcomed the information and were in fact interested in the topic.

“Broward County is #1 in new HIV infection rates, what!?”

“I never even know there was a texting line for those embarrassing sex-related questions!”

My absolute favorite had to be when it was all over and they would look at me and say “Thank you, I learned something new today!” And as great as that felt, I can admit that what I did wasn’t anything anyone else couldn’t do.  I gave about 40 minutes to share my knowledge with those around me. As we bask in the wonders of the Holiday Season, I believe it’s important to remember that more often than not it’s not about the price of the gift, it’s about its impact.

Happy Holidays!

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Here’s a great holiday present for the sexual health nerd in your life: The Scientific Case for Condoms

This slideshow gives the complete rundown on how condoms work, their effectiveness, and what that means for STD and pregnancy prevention. Check it out and share widely!

Unfamiliar with Condomology? You should get familiar! Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

Categories: Condoms
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Exciting news!  Applications to join our Great American Condom Campaign are now open!

The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led grassroots movement to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by normalizing condom use on college and university campuses.  Students from across the country apply to become individual condom distribution points–AKA SafeSites– and upon selection receive a box of 500 Trojan condoms to distribute to their peers.  SafeSites are also tasked with educating their peers about safer sex and advocating on campus and within their community for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

This past fall, 1,400 SafeSites distributed more than 700,000 condoms to students on 946 campuses.  SafeSites were established in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Sound like fun? Apply for the GACC NOW!

We receive way more  applications than we can accept, so make sure your application stands out! Be clear about how you will distribute condoms and why you want to be part of the GACC.  To learn more about the GACC and the awesome work of previous SafeSites, go to the GACC Facebook page.

Applications to be a Spring Semester SafeSite are open through December 31st, 2013. It only takes 10 minutes to fill out an application, so start now!

Do it for your country.

 

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Walk into just about any grocery store, pharmacy, corner store, or health center, and you’ll find a multitude of condom choices: ultrathin, ribbed, warming sensation, twisted, large, colorful, flavored, etc. Most of these shops will have just about any condom you can imagine — except for the female condom.This World AIDS Day, it’s time to demand better access to female condoms.

Female condoms, also known as “receptive-partner condoms” or “internal condoms,” fill an important niche in contraception. As the only receptive-partner initiated contraceptive method that offers protection against STIs and HIV, many women consider the female condom a tool of empowerment. In some cases, women have been able to negotiate use of female condoms in cases where male condoms were unacceptable to one or both partners.

Even the mere fact that the female condom is another contraceptive option is a positive thing for sexual health. Research has fairly consistently shown that having more choices of contraceptive methods increases the number of protected sex acts. One study in particular found that offering female condoms along with male condoms also increased the total number of protected sex acts compared with offering male condoms alone.

Of course, a “protected sex act” is only as useful as the method itself, so it helps that female condoms are just about as effective as male condoms. The failure rate for perfect use of male condoms is 2%, and the failure rate for perfect use of female condoms is 5%.[1] Several small studies have shown that female condoms are at least as effective as male condoms at preventing the transmission of STIs. Female condoms also reduce the probability of HIV transmission by 97% per act. Unlike male condoms, female condoms also protect some of the external skin, possibly offering even greater protection against certain STIs transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

Beyond the clinical benefits, female condoms outshine male condoms in a few ways. Female condoms can be inserted a few hours before sex and don’t require an erection to put on, so they make for a sexual experience with less interruption. Even the materials themselves offer some advantages. The FC2, the only FDA approved female condom, is made with nitrile, which quickly warms to body temperature, providing a more natural sensation. It is lubricated with silicone, which is longer lasting and less sticky than water-based lubricant. Some people even report that the outer ring increases stimulation!

Despite being safe, effective, and pleasant to use, female condoms still only make up about 3.4% of condoms distributed worldwide.

It would be easy to assume that female condoms aren’t as common as male condoms because people don’t like them as much as male condoms, but that’s an oversimplification of a complicated problem. There are many barriers to increased use and availability of female condoms in the United States, including negative impressions of the first generation of female condoms, a self-perpetuating cycle of low use and lack of investment, and cumbersome FDA approval processes.[2]

The first generation female condom (FC1) was made out of polyurethane and had a very low acceptance rate. This was partially due to a lack of implementation planning, but users also complained about the texture, smell, noisiness, and uncomfortable outer ring of the FC1. However, these complaints do not translate to the FC2. People who used both generations found that the FC2 was better because “it was soft, not noisy, not painful, and did not have a bad smell.” Unfortunately, most of the available data about acceptability of female condoms focuses on FC1, and the reputation is lagging behind the improvements.

Regrettably, it’s difficult to increase the number of FDA approved female condom types due to the burdensome approval process. Male condoms get a pass because of a wonky FDA classification system.

This combination of forces makes it difficult for female condoms to gain traction. However, FC2 is faring far better than its predecessor thanks to a handful of citywide female condom education and distribution programs, improved training for health care providers, and wider marketing. Still, there are ways that you can help make female condoms more accessible.

What YOU can do 

  • Ask your pharmacy to stock female condoms. Hand your pharmacist this stock request card, and, if you want, include a personal message about why you think female condoms are important.
  • Talk about female condoms. Spread the word about why they matter, and kick misinformation to the curb.
  • Be an advocate. If you don’t live in a city with a female condom distribution program,[3] you can learn how to advocate for one by getting in touch with the National Female Condom Coalition. 

When it comes to safer sex, we should leave no method behind. Stand up for female condoms and help bring more attention to this effective and empowering contraception.

Learn more about FC2 and hear from real users at http://bedsider.org/methods/female_condom#how_to_tab


[1] Most of the available data for female condom failure rates focuses on the first generation female condom, but data provided to the FDA showed that the failure rate of the FC2 was equivalent to the first generation female condom.

[2] The problems are different in countries where more than one type of female condom is approved, but this post will focus on the United States.

[3] Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and D.C.

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The Trojan™ Sexual Health Report Card is an annual ranking of the sexual health resources and information available to students on campuses nationwide. These schools include students representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Check it out on the Condomology website!

Unfamiliar with Condomology? You should get familiar! Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

They’ve also got a great toolkit from Trojan on helping to improve sexual health on your campus.

Check it out, watch the videos, and share the infographic!

Categories: Condoms
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(original image by The Stigma Project)

About them:

We are a grassroots organization that aims to lower the HIV infection rate and neutralize the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS through education and awareness via social media and advertising. The Stigma Project seeks to create an HIV neutral world, free of judgement and fear by working with both positive and negative individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or background.

Social media has rapidly become one of today’s largest mediums of news, culture, and education. We hope to embrace that with effective campaigns each season that bring awareness to the current state of HIV. Please, whether you’re HIV-positive, negative, or you don’t know (and should), we need your help. Ask your friends to join us in starting a revolution: an “HIV Neutral” revolution. Like us, Share us, Re-tweet us. The more people we reach, the more effective our project. The more successful our mission. YOU can make a difference.

Their mission:

The Stigma Project seeks to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS on a global scale, through awareness, art, provocation, education and by inspiring a spirit of living “HIV Neutral.”

Their vision:

The Stigma Project seeks to create an “HIV Neutral” world, free of judgment, fear, discrimination and alienation by educating both positive and negative individuals from all walks of life about the constantly evolving state of the epidemic. We seek to reduce the HIV infection rate through knowledge, awareness, and effective marketing and advertising. Ultimately we see a future where the world is free of HIV/AIDS.

I’ve already posted this image before but without credit to the original poster, so here it is!  I’ve also added information about this organization!

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The female condom is still a fascinating thing for some of us. We cannot imagine using something that big, nevertheless putting it into our bodies.

Female condoms can be a great method however, despite initially scaring you away with its size. They are made with polyurethane rather than latex so for those who are allergic to latex this is a great option. They can also be inserted up to 8 hours in advance. Many of us young people do not plan sex but in the case that we do, you can prepare. They also cover the outer lips of the vagina as well the inside, providing full coverage and protection. Lastly, female condoms can be used for anal sex. The inner ring can be removed and insertion can be easy because female condoms are very lubricated.

This may not convince you to jump up and down to the idea of female condom use, but it may make you a little less uneasy. \”You can\’t knock the idea until you try it\” is what I always say and you may find that this birth control method works great for you.

Whatever method you choose, make sure you use it consistently and correctly because safe sex is the best sex so protect yourself!

Categories: Condoms
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GACC AmberName: Amber

School:  California State University Long Beach

Year in School: Senior

Have you been a GACC SafeSite Before: Yes, I was a SafeSite in the 2012-2013 school year.

“We know that barrier-free access to sexual health information and resources are critical to the sexual health of all people, but especially young people” says Amber in response to why she decided to apply and participate in the Great American Condom Campaign.

A member of her local Choice USA chapter, Amber tells us that it was her goal to make sure students had access to all the resources they needed.  “On our own campus, few students know where to go to get affordable condoms, or students that do know that they can get them free at the Health Resource Center are limited to the number that they can get there. We wanted to eliminate some of these barriers by making condoms easily accessible on campus.”

For Amber and her team, being able to start conversations has had an important impact. By removing “barriers to access, like price and availability, we are also able to work on another huge barrier: social stigma about who has sex, when is sex appropriate, who is responsible for pregnancy &/or STI prevention.GACC Long Beach

Even though Amber and her Choice USA chapter have been very vocal about their advocacy work, they recognize that not everyone is as comfortable talking about sex or sexual health as they are. “To lessen the stigma or embarrassment for people taking condoms from us, we often hand them out along with fliers or candy, something that will be more inviting for people to take,” she says.

When asked if she had any fun or funny stories to share about the campaign, Amber said this— “We found funny the very gendered ways that people react to our presence. Women tend to be more shy and reluctantly take a condom when offered, while men typically walk up to our table because they see the condoms there and gladly take handfuls of them.”

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As a part of the efforts to change the mentality about contraception and spread more information on sexual health, I have been working on these condom goodie bags to give out with two other Broward County Youth Council #BCYC  members. We are going to have a table set up in the breezeway at FAU’s Boca Raton campus and will be distributing information on the health services offered on campus, and about the Real Education For Healthy Youth Act, in hopes of getting signatures. Overall I’m  pretty excited. This past Halloween plenty of college students in costumes picked up #GACC condoms from my dorm. Although I’m still relatively new to advocacy work I’m diving right and feeling productive. Pictures of table event coming soon!!

Categories: Condoms
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This week, the makers of Trojan condoms released their 8th annual Sexual Health Report Card, ranking the best and worst college and universities in the country with sexual health resources and information.

What are you doing to help your school ranking around sexual health? Upload a photo to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and show us how you distribute condoms. Make sure to use the hashtag #GACC

Through the Great American Condom Campaign, we know there are hundreds of campuses working towards improving condom access & information on sexual health. Yet, we know may campuses still have bad policies and regulations in place that limit the access of young people. Is your school one of those?

From November 7th-14th, raise your voice and tweet to your school (or via Facebook), and asked them to support policies that improve young people’s health & lives. 

 Examples:

@BostonCollege What are you doing to improve #condom access on campus? http://prn.to/1hNQx7X #GACC

@ChicagoState Why are we last on this list? Let’s improve #condom access #GACC http://prn.to/1hNQx7X

By using the hashtag #GACC and tweeting to your school (or via Facebook), you can start a conversation on your campus about the policies needed to support young people on campus.

Let’s ensure that young people have the tools needed to lead healthy sexual lives.

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Last weekend I decided to put together an event that promoted safe sex. Given the fact that it was the weekend before Halloween it was a great opportunity to dress up and have some fun. I planned a bar crawl where I would travel to different bars and hand out condom necklaces and comprehensive sex information. My sister and I dressed up in our tutus as “Condom Fairies” handed out over 700 condoms on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. If was loads of fun and we met tons of new people. The most rewarding aspect was when individuals would commend us on our efforts to promoted safe sex. A lot of people we met thought what we were doing and encouraged us to keep it up.

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Seeing a pregnant teenager makes many people uncomfortable. The discomfort is rooted in facing the reality that the comforting lies these people tell themselves about youth not being sexual beings, don’t have questions about sex, and aren’t having sex are wrong.
By finding comfort and silence in their disillusions they too play a role in the high rate of unintended pregnancies experienced by teenagers and young adults everyday.
I remember being a pregnant 15 year old and complete strangers glaring at me, stopping me to lecture me on what a mistake I have made and how terrible I make the world, and telling me how dumb I was for not just saying no and keeping my legs closed.
After having my daughter some of these things subsided because I was no longer a pregnant teen they felt inclined to harass instead the disillusions took on a new form. When people would see me with my daughter they told themselves I was the baby sitter, older sister, nanny, cousin, anything BUT the mother.
The few rude brave ones would approach me and ask me if I was her mother. “YES!” I would proudly answer with the new mother glow only to be scoffed at, looked up and down, and walked away from.
Teenagers become pregnant for a variety of reasons: inadequate sex education, lack of access to affordable contraceptives, no one to talk to about sex and relationships, poverty, boredom, sexual assault, planning a pregnancy, all types of reasons. However, the overwhelming consensus is elders are failing to help youth navigate the world of relationships and sexuality in a healthy way so teens are figuring it out on their own.
Don’t like it? Change it by changing the way YOU (read adults) address and deal with approaching the topic. It isLet’s Talk Month… maybe you should start listening and stop comforting yourself with lies.

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Please take 15 minutes to share YOUR STORIES with us!

Now in its 5th year, the Great American Condom Campaign (GACC) has distributed well over 5 million condoms to young people in college campuses across the entire country.

Over the years, we’ve made some headlines. We’ve changed policies that affected young people’s health and lives. We’ve educated and empowered young people to make the U.S. a sexually healthy nation—all thanks to YOUR efforts!

This fall, we want to highlight some of your amazing campaign stories and spotlight YOU. You might just become the next star on our Facebook page or on Amplify.

Why did you decide to participate in the campaign? What do you think your impact on campus has been? Any fun stories to tell?

All it takes is 15 minutes! Come on, tell us…. As an incentive, SafeSites that share the best stories and pictures will receive their very own GACC T-shirt and a surprise gift.

Please take 15 minutes to share your GACC stories.

We know the stories are out there! Go ahead, tell us

 

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Hey everyone!

 

This is Brandon at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, NC and I am checking in about my condom distribution thus far.  I am having a lot of success with my campaign.  This week is our homecoming and I have been in the student union distributing condoms to those who want/need them.  I have put them in little baggies of three along with the required information.

 

I have also been having people take pictures with their condoms [as seen above].  I thought it would be nice to have them do it to promote safer sex.  These are only a few of the pictures that I have collected.  I will post more later, which will be after our sexual health awareness program in a few weeks.

 

Happy Distributing,

 

B. Hawkins

Categories: Condoms
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October is “Let’s Talk Month.” For those of you who do not know Let’s Talk Month happens every year and is a month long event which seeks to create a healthy environment where youth and adults can have open and honest conversations about sexuality.

 

Too often the voices of youth are left out of these extremely important conversations and or over shadowed by adults and some organizations that although mean well can sometimes co-opt the voices of youth too. Even parents who mean well can mistakenly cut their children off from ever wanting to speak to them about their sexuality by responding to one question in a less than perfect way.
Thankfully Advocates for Youth great resources they’ve compiled to help ensure this does not happen and that everyone gets a fair chance to ask questions, speak, answer questions, and be heard.
This year I noticed that HuffPost Teen has done something AMAZING through their already wonderful platform. They have given youth from all over America the chance to talk about sex, relationships, and sexuality through their series Teen Sex: It’s Complicated.
This series is a offers a griping first hand account about how America’s youth view sexuality. From Carly speaking honestly about losing her virginity to Paige feeling isolated and alone because there is no one to talk to sex about to the reality that many teens don’t know about sex but just act like it to seem popular by Garrison. These stories are real, honest, and-to me- asking for a culture shift when it comes to broaching the topic of sexuality
Talking to youth about sex does not make them want to have sex-and if it did who cares so long as it’s safe and healthy- it makes talking about sex and the act of sex normal. When sexuality is less of a mystery less people will go out and “figure it out on their own” or feel pressured into having sex.
The reality is that most people develop their attitudes towards sexuality in their teens and when they are young adults. If they aren’t learning healthy, responsible, and safe was to explore their sexuality they maintain these potentially unsafe and unhealthy attitudes well into adulthood.
The one thing all people need the most regardless of age is a strong and healthy attitude towards sexuality and sex that begins EARLY in life.

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Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Check out their great videos:

A How-To Guide for Getting It On
How Latex Condoms Are Made
A History of Condoms

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

Check it out, watch the videos, and share the infographic!

Categories: Condoms
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(Image reposted from Amplify Facebook – click here for more)

Urban Retreat 2013 was truly an experience beyond any tier.  Never have I ever been surrounded by so many like-minded individuals–as much of an oxymoron as that might sound.  We were all individuals because we all had our own story to share.  We came from many different walks of life and parts of the world.  All of us had to overcome some type of unique trauma and oppression that we were facing in our own separate lives.  But we celebrated our diversity.  And we were all there in unison trying to contribute to the vision we shared for the world.

I might have been a tiny bit apprehensive about making the trip to Washington, D.C. at first.  I wasn’t really enthusiastic about being away from my girlfriend.  It was a place I had never been to on my own.  I would be surrounded by strangers.  But these strangers quickly became my friends.  And these friends were all activists and advocates for social progress in their own communities from all over the world, so I had a lot to learn from them.  And I found, to my surprise, that I had things I could share with them as well.  Together we received training to become more effective activists and leaders.  And after the inspiring trainings and workshops, we headed to Capitol Hill together to share our stories and insight with our representatives.  It was a self-affirming and inspiring experience.

I even got to meet Janet Mock!  We talked and had dinner.  She even tweeted me and followed me on Twitter!

It’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained new tools, resources, and concepts that would empower me and inspire me to be more involved in activism and advocacy for social justice.  And it’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained a new family with YouthResource.  Today I woke up this morning and found myself in my own bed in Michigan.  I wasn’t in Washington, D.C. with my fellow advocates anymore.  The realization was bittersweet.  But I know I’ll see these faces soon enough with stories to share.

 

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Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

Check it out, watch the videos, and share the infographic!

Categories: Condoms
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GACC Sites will be notified in early October! Stay posted to see if you got accepted to be a SafeSite!

Categories: Condoms, Safer Sex
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You have read how to put on a condom and clearly you know how to use it, but what happens when the fun is over, how and where do you dispose of the condom? First thought would be to slide it off and throw it in the toilet and flush. However, this is the wrong way of disposing of a condom. Firstly, the correct way of taking off a condom is to firmly grip the base of the condom and pull it off slowly. This prevents the leakage of semen and reduces the risk of pregnancy. After you have done this, check to see if the condom has any leak holes by holding the condom at the base away from you. If there is a leak hole then you should take the necessary steps such seeing a doctor. Following this, tie the base of the condom and dispose of it in the trash, flushing condoms down the toilet may cause serious blockage issues and should be avoided. So now you know how to dispose of a condom properly, GRIP, TEST, TIE and DISPOSE!

 

Categories: Condoms
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Buying condoms is something many people don’t feel comfortable doing. why is this? Well, I’ve personally heard stories of  both good and bad experiences, and they all have one thing in common, the comments made by who ever is at the register. A friend told me a story of how he went to buy condoms early one morning before class, and the person at the register made a comment in a joking manner, “Getting an early start? You have all day.” My friend found this to be a very awkward situation, but it made him feel a little more comfortable because the employee was lightly making a joke and not criticizing him. I on the other hand have experienced something a little different. I bought condoms at a local CVS and the comment from the woman at the register was, “You guys are starting younger and younger.” I found this to be very inappropriate and found it to be very uncomfortable. Many people take things different ways, the question still stands at, does making comments in a joking manner make things more comfortable for a person because they feel it’s accepted, or a normal thing? Or should employees not make any comments at all being that some are very inappropriate? 

Categories: Condoms
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August 2013 is the beginning of my second year as a Broward County Youth Council member. This year will be bitter sweet for  me because I am aging out. I am extremely excited for what this year has to bring. All of the hard work we did last year is slowly coming to fruition. I am excited to see how everything falls into place regarding comprehensive sex ed in the Broward County school system. This year we have a few new members and I am anxious to work with them on our upcoming projects. This year will be EPIC for me. I plan on having a blast. Urban Retreat is s quickly approaching and I am ready to learn new techniques and tools that will help me be a better advocate. This year will definitely be a memorable one.

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Just yesterday on a Friday afternoon, I posted the petition to make The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act a reality on my reproductive justice blog.  It’s not much, but it’s already gained a little less than 900 notes on Tumblr.  Popular blogs like ST*U, Sexists and F*ck Yeah, Sex Education just gave the petition a signal boost and I’ve seen a lot of #vision4sexed hashtags on Twitter, so we’ll be sure to see more feedback before September 10.  And the youth activists have been out and about getting physical signatures, which is something I’m doing once school is back in session.  Some people are reblogging it with their own commentary to emphasize the importance of it, and sometimes it’s all in caps so you know it’s a pretty big deal.  Especially with our current culture’s views on sexuality and education.  No one should have to suffer another abstinence only class in which our youth, especially girls, are compared to used up candy wrappers and dirty pieces of tape if they’re sexually active.  If you haven’t already and you support comprehensive sex education, definitely sign the petition and share it!

The petition page lets you know exactly what you’re saying when you’re leaving behind a signature:

I support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a sex education vision that outlines what young people truly need. The bill not only authorizes funding for comprehensive sex education directed towards adolescents and college students, but also prioritizes teacher training so that our nation’s educators have the tools they need to be effective in the classroom.

Let’s work to realize our vision of young people receiving the sex education they need in order to lead healthy lives and have healthy relationships. We owe it to them to provide them honest sexual health education. With the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act we can start bringing our vision for sex ed to life!

My vision for sex education includes letting our youth know that it’s never okay to shame others for being sexually active or abstinent by choice.  My vision for sex education also includes teaching our youth the signs of an abusive relationship, whether it’s emotional, physical, or both.  I’d love for there to be discussions that include the LGBTQ community because often they are erased from the topic, leaving many without resources.  I find it to be very dangerous to let our youth go through life without the tools they need to have healthy lives.  Comprehensive sex education just makes perfect sense to me.  What’s your vision for sex ed?

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New York City’s Health Department understands that you have to meet youth where they’re at and today youth are almost always on their phones.
Knowing this NYC’s Department of Health has released two apps, Find Condoms NYC and Teens in NYC Protection+ that help youth locate sexual health services as well as LGTQ counseling centers in their immediate locations through the “near me” or “current location” options or through typing in an address.
Both apps are extremely user friendly and are available through the app store for free! In addition these apps help youth locate FREE condoms!
While some individuals are trying to lessen the amount and or access to medically accurate sexual health and mental health consoling for youth, I applaud New York Cities Department of Health for releasing these apps which are literally at any youth’s fingertips who have a smart phone.
One of the things I would like both apps to have is a set by set guide or video on how to properly place both a female and male condom because although many people know what a condom is many have no idea how to properly use one. Thankfully fellow Amplify contributor has outlined the 12 Steps, yes there are 12, to using a male condom properly.
I hope more cities that lack comprehensive sex ed are taking similar strides to providing youth and young adults in their cities the information they need and want by developing sexual health apps for smart phone users.

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The piece explains how residents in this particular Bronx zip code have at least two of the following STD’s:HIV hepatitis B, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and tuberculosis?”
 
This got me thinking about what major campaigns or sex education curriculums have arguably lesser known STD’s as prominent as HIV/ AIDS. Sex education usually stresses HIV/ AIDS so much that other STD’s are seen as less serious, less likely to be contracted, and in some cases completely forgotten about. 
 
The immediate comments following the article were:
 
“I knew it would be The Bronx. Lotz of dope users.” Actually the title says it in big bold letters above.
 
“What do you expect when most residents of 10457 can’t even spell STD?”
 
And the eloquent: “We are the ones paying for these creatures aids treatments, at  40-80K for the rest of their lives.” SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS.
 
HOLD ON! 10457 is my zip code!
I can tell you first hand that finding a condom in my neighborhood is damn near impossible. I remember sitting down one day and wondering where I could go and get a condom for free if I needed one and not being able to come up with anywhere that was within walking distance from my home. 
The comments go on to talk about how terrible myself and my neighbors are. 
 
However, not one of the comments I read, and I had to soon stop because it appears the Daily News has captured the most ignorant and judgmental audience in New York City, stopped to think about the lack of access, affordability, and social problems that factor into these findings. 
 
While the Upper West Side and Upper East Side richer neighborhoods have more access, information, and actually teach a more comprehensive sex education curriculum in their schools. The reality is The Bronx and specifically 10457 is way behind with all of the above. 
 
As a resident I’m racking my brain about the initiatives I can start to change my neighborhood from “Disease Alley” to “Accurate Sex Education Condom Alley.” 

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GACC

Want a chance to win this t-shirt? Then apply to the Great American Condom Campaign (GACC) today!

This year, we’re going big. 1,000 campuses across the country will have the chance to become a GACC SafeSite, and distribute 500 condoms on their campus. That’s 500,000 condoms going to your fellow students and friends that will protect their health, and start making condoms normal.

Take a moment to apply and be part of the GACC movement!

We are looking for young people, just like you, who have exciting ideas to distribute condoms and safer sex information on your campuses. Do you have what it takes? Sound like fun?

Then apply here.

Applications to be a Fall Semester SafeSite are open through August 31st, 2013. It only takes 10 minutes to fill out an application, so start now! To sweeten the deal, 5 lucky applicants will win a GACC t-shirt.

To learn more about the GACC and the awesome work of previous SafeSites, go to www.amplifyyourvoice.org/gacc.

Do it for your country.

P.S. Make sure to tell your friends about the GACC! Find us on Facebook!

 

Tweet now!Apply 2 @AdvocatesTweets #GACC & help distribute 500,000 #Trojan #condoms on your #college campus! http://bit.ly/12G8Xmr

 

tweet-now-toutAre you ready to join the Great American Condom Campaign? Apply today and Advocates for Youth and Trojan will send you 500 condoms to hand out on your college campus to promote sexual health! Do it for your country! http://bit.ly/12G8Xmr

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Recently, I stumbled upon a supposedly “award winning” Durex condom commercial. The commercial highlights a montage of misery as men’s hot-dogs get burned, yards and houses are unkempt, and ends with the painful viewing experience of watching a man get kneed directly in his groin… all because of children.

The commercial ends by stating “protect yourself,” use a condom. It is absolutely true that condoms are extremely effective at preventing both the transmission of STIs and HIV as well as unplanned pregnancy. In fact, when used perfectly, condoms are about 98% effective. Condoms are also extremely useful due to their low cost and the fact that they can be used for vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

However, the messaging that kids will ruin a man’s life is unacceptable.

Personally, I absolutely want to have children. I want my partner to want children just as much as I do. Whoever this partner may be, I hope he will be nothing like the fathers portrayed in the commercial.

But, I want to have children in the future. As a 22 year old college graduate without a job, I know that I am not in the right place in my life to adequately provide for my child. Therefore, I opt to use protection such as condoms when I have sex.

As much as I may not want children right now, many people my age are at a stage in their lives and make a conscious choice to have children. This Durex commercial, and the many other condom commercials like it, perpetuate stigma and shame around parenting, particularly for young parents.

It is time to stop shaming people regardless of their reproductive health choices. Using condoms is a great option for many people, but should not be portrayed as the only option that make men happy and lets them live a life free from misery.

This condom commercial is a low-blow (literally) to my peers who make an informed decision to be parents. Instead of highlighting the positives of using a condom, they chose use fear and stereotypes to carry their message. Durex missed the mark this time around.

Categories: Condoms
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GDPA

Start the school year off right: apply to become a Great American Condom Campaign SafeSite and receive 500 Trojan condoms to help finally make condoms normal on your college campus.

The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led, grassroots movement that will make the U.S. a sexually healthy nation one campus at a time. Each year, GACC members give out one million Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the country to educate their peers about sexual health, and organize to improve the policies that affect young people’s health and lives.

In the words of one of the SafeSites:

I HEART:

  • being a SAFESITE
  • being a source of condoms
  • informing my peers about safe sex
  • talking openly about sex & sexual health
  • getting random late night calls for condoms
  • changing the world!!

Applications for Fall semester close August 31st at Midnight. It takes just 10 minutes to fill out an application, so start right now!

Do it for your country.

Tweet now!Apply 2 the Great American Condom Campaign & @AdvocatesTweets & #Trojan will send u 500 condoms 2 handout on campus! http://bit.ly/12G8Xmr

 

tweet-now-toutAre you ready to join the Great American Condom Campaign? Apply today and Advocates for Youth and Trojan will send you 500 condoms to hand out on your campus so we can FINALLY get over our hang-ups about condoms. Do it for your country! http://bit.ly/12G8Xmr

Categories: Condoms
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When we hear about politicians making unqualified and uneducated statements about abortion and reproductive/sexual health, we just shake our heads, asking ourselves and our peers, “How does someone like that get into office?”

Not to diminish your faith in humanity, but less than a couple weeks ago, Brian Nieves, a Republican state senator of Missouri, commented in a Facebook argument to a pro-choice priest, “‘Life of the Mother?’ Your own argument proves it is a matter of convenience!”  State senator Brian Nieves later denied that he said this.  But the denial wouldn’t do him any good since his comments have been screencapped and the comment is still on the Facebook page.

There are people who treat this like it’s an isolated incident.  Like it’s nothing to worry about, but you’d have to imagine the kind of culture it takes to condition people to be able to say these things.  You don’t even have to imagine because that’s the culture we’re living in.  It’s not just one old, white male politician.  It’s several.  And they’re not necessarily always white men.

Brace yourself.  This is pretty triggering.

“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”

— Florida Rep. Allen West expresses a clear understanding of how oppression and privilege works.

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”

— Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, discussing why there shouldn’t be a rape or incest exception in bills restricting reproductive health care because clearly she understands how health care works.

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”  —Richard Mourdock, an Indiana state senator candidate who fortunately did not win.

“Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception.”

—Joe Walsh, former Illinois congressman revealing just how “pro-life” he really is.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

—Missouri Representative Todd Akin basically sharing how much he doesn’t know about a female body in one terrible sentence.

“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

—former North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge using imaginary doctors as his sources.

“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

—Clayton Williams regarding rape, he was a former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender and a past fundraiser for John McCain.

This is one of the many reasons why I’m in total support of Advocates for Youth.  The politicians I’ve listed are the kind of people who have been supporting legislation that not only hurts people who need abortions, but rape victims and teens in desperate need of comprehensive sex education.  It hurts people who need access to contraception, affordable health care, and everything else a person would need to live a quality life.  And it’s not going to stop until we change the culture and institutions that allows it to happen.  So, we advocate for the youth.  We have a responsibility to them to ensure that they have their rights and are to be respected.

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Young sexual and reproductive rights advocates continue to push for the full integration of a rights-based approach in relation to advancing population and development goals. That was the overarching message of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where activists representing over 40 international organizations gathered and developed a Call to Action, ensuring young people sexual and reproductive rights continue to be integrated in development agendas.

The summit brought together a diverse group of 40 young people from Eastern Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel (EECARO region), to discuss and develop priority goals. During the summit, we organized ourselves into three sessions based on interest and expertise

  1. Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development,
  2. Families, Sexual and Reproductive Health over the Life Course,
  3. Inequalities, Social Inclusion and Rights.

After lengthy conversations, each group came up with a number of recommendations to share with the entire forum for us all to debate and finalize. The culmination of our work was translated into a solid document that represents what the youth from the EECARO region want elected officials and  leaders to take into consideration. You can access the full document here.

The outcome of the summit embodied the youth vision and development priorities for the region over the next decade and was presented at the Regional Conference in Geneva. Fifteen delegates from our group (bearing in mind equal representation) attended the Geneva Conference and shared our declaration (Youth Call to Action). The speech, delivered by Grace Wilentz from YouAct (European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights) and Jakub Skrzypczyk from Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights can be found here.

On a personal note, I had a great time interacting with all the youth participants at the Regional Youth Forum and learning more about the EECARO region. It became clearer to me that the same sexual and reproductive health and rights issues we are advocating for in the US are found in other parts of the world. I was happy to discover that we are not alone in this battle. Young people from all over the world are rising up to the challenge, demanding greater youth representation in world affairs and better human rights conditions for all.

 

 

About United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA)

Tasked with the mission of delivering “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” UNFPA is a UN organization whose efforts are guided by two main frameworks, 1) the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and 2) the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which are eight targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.

With the date for achieving these goals fast approaching, UNFPA and its partners, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have been working together to ramp up their efforts. UNFPA and UNECE have been involved in the Beyond 2014 Review, an effort to engage world leaders from governments and civil society in drafting a new global commitment to create a more equal and more sustainable world.

The ICPD Operational Review has been taking place as part of the Beyond 2014 Review, and UNFPA and UNECE have been facilitating this process. Within this process, UNFPA and UNECE organized three thematic meetings on the following topics:

  1. “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development”,
  2. “Reducing Inequities, Fostering Social Inclusion” and
  3. “Life Course, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Families”.

As a culminating event, the agencies planned for a two-day Regional Conference entitled “Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century,” which was just held in Geneva (1-2 July), gathering leaders from all over the EECARO region (Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel).

Young people are at the core of the UNFPA’s mandate, offering an essential voice to help shape the future development agenda. Therefore, young people have participated in the operational review at the country level and in all the thematic meetings mentioned above. In order to continue their involvement, UNFPA EECARO has organized the Regional Youth Forum in Istanbul (30-31 May) and in which I participated, representing Advocates for Youth and the US at large.

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California’s teen pregnancy rate has dropped nearly 60 percent as a result of expanded sex education programs, according to a report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Wednesday.

The report –- which was based on data collected until 2011 — revealed that the California teen pregnancy rate reached a 20-year low that year. While in 1991, there were 70.9 births for every 1,000 teens aged 15-19, in 2011 this number decreased to 28 births per 1,000 teens.

Teen pregnancy rates fell across all ethnic groups, according to the report. The Hispanic teen birth rate dropped from 73.6 in 2001 to 42.7 in 2011 –- although Hispanics continue to be the group with the highest teen birth rate. Teen pregnancy rates for African-Americans, Whites and Asian-Americans also decreased significantly.

Several factors contributed to the falling pregnancy rates, the department said in a press release. One factor was the state’s school sex education program, which law requires to be comprehensive and medically accurate. The report also credits community-based education programs that provide sexual health information to teens and their parents.

“We do believe that our programs are behind these numbers,” Karen Ramstrom, the chief of the program standards branch at the California Department of Public Health’s maternal child and adolescent health division, told the Los Angeles Times.

“California’s innovative strategies and community partnerships aimed at lowering teen pregnancy are helping young women and men make responsible choices,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH, said in a press release. “We must not be complacent; we must continue to promote teen pregnancy prevention programs and strategies in all communities.”

As Think Progress noted, California’s teen birth rate decreases are part of a national trend. The national teen birth rate dropped nearly 50 percent between 1991 and 2011, NBC’s Today Health reported.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/california-teen-pregnancy-rates-drop_n_3625090.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

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All too often our stories are told for us. Last week, I had the honor of presenting to members of congress, their staff and other people in the reproductive health and rights field during a congressional briefing with Black Women’s Health Imperative. I took this opportunity to use my voice as an African American young person to tell anyone listening that we Millennials are not only invested in creating change but we are committed to making sure our generation can lead healthy lives. Read what I had to say! 

As a member of Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, I have been organizing and advocating around the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people for the last 5 years. I am dedicated to this work not only because I believe that young people like me deserve the right to lead healthy, self-determined lives, but also because I know first-hand what it is like to navigate this world without access to accurate and honest education and services.

At 23 I can say that I never received any type of formal sexual education from any educational institution I attended. The first time I was tested for HIV happened completely by accident. One day during my junior year in high school I wandered into a mobile testing unit in hopes of receiving a free metrocard. That would be the first day I would find out about HIV and other STIs. The woman conducting my test asked me if I was nervous and I proceeded to tell her no and then asked her would I have a reason to be. She began to explain sexually transmitted infections and diseases to me. Thus giving my first “sex education class” in the back of a mobile testing unit. Although my results that day revealed that I was not HIV positive, I remember feeling like someone had robbed me. I felt cheated. Lied to. I could not fathom at that time how learning about preventing diseases that could potentially make you sick and claim your life were not as important as math and science. The even more depressing part is that even when I went to college many of my peers were still uneducated about their sexual health, and how prevent HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies. I began wondering whether we all needed to wander aimlessly into a mobile testing truck to learn about saving our lives.

As leader of a campus organization that provided sexual health information specifically geared toward Black and Latino students at Syracuse, it became more and more clear to me that I was not the only person who had been robbed. Some of our campus events attracted over 200 young people interested in learning about what they could do to lead sexually healthy lives. Many of these young people expressed that they felt that this is something that should be taught in school, by the administration. They were not alone.

Not only do African American Millennials believe that comprehensive sexuality education should be available to young people in high school, overwhelming majority, over 90% believe that it should include information about preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDS, unplanned pregnancy prevention, and abstinence. Over 80% also believe that comprehensive sex education programs in high school should cover information about pregnancy options including abortion.

Many of the young people I worked with in college constantly spoke about the barriers, many financial, to accessing contraception and abortion services. Research shows that over 90% of African American Millennials believe that contraception needs to be available and affordable to help young people stay healthy. 75% of African American Millennials believe that regardless of how they feel personally, abortion should remain legal and that women should be able to get safe abortions.

There is still much to be done to ensure that young people like myself have access to medically accurate and culturally competent information regarding their sexual health, and we young people across the country are working diligently and organizing to make it happen.. While the media and other people are committed to portraying my generation as apathetic and removed from this type of work, I can insure you that those statements are indeed false. In fact, according to research conducted by the Reproductive Justice Communications Group and Advocates for Youth, over 7 in 10 of African American millennials say they are interested in improving young people’s access to sexual health services such as contraception and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 7 in 10 expressed interest in getting personally involved in promoting honest and accurate sex education programs in their communities. Another 6 in 10 are personally interested in making sure that safe abortion is available and accessible in their community. We African American Millennials are interested and committed to helping our friends, our families and our communities access services and information to live healthy, autonomous lives.

Here’s video of my remarks at the briefing!

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Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.

I can not tell you how often I have been asked in interviews or casual conversation if I support teenage pregnancy prevention. Somehow to some people that fact that I advocate for respect and a fair chance at creating the future I and so many other teenage parents want or wanted translates to I do not agree with teenage pregnancy prevention. I do.
The next question is usually what do you think would have worked on you or needs to happen to reduce the rate of teenage pregnany.
My answers are and will always be-but not limited to:
  • Parents need to talk to their children about sex and relationships early.
  • Schools need to teach comprehensive sex Ed.
  • When asked a question about sex or relationships by a youth answer them and more importantly answer honestly.
  • Stop pretending like kids and teens aren’t thinking or talking about sex.
In a nutshell the response is: those answers are too taboo. What about ads? You know ads like nyc hra’s recent ones or ones a like? Aren’t those good?
No. 
Well surely they would’ve worked on you if say them.
 I did and they didn’t. 
End of conversation or follow up with more questions.
People! Stop thinking a PSA is going to be the end all be all of teenage pregnancy and more importantly stop asking me questions you don’t like the answers to.
Stop asking youth and young adults what they think if you won’t listen.
Because I’m tired of speaking and having no one listen

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Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.

I can not tell you how often I have been asked in interviews or casual conversation if I support teenage pregnancy prevention. Somehow to some people that fact that I advocate for respect and a fair chance at creating the future I and so many other teenage parents want or wanted translates to I do not agree with teenage pregnancy prevention. I do.
The next question is usually what do you think would have worked on you or needs to happen to reduce the rate of teenage pregnany.
My answers are and will always be-but not limited to:
  • Parents need to talk to their children about sex and relationships early.
  • Schools need to teach comprehensive sex Ed.
  • When asked a question about sex or relationships by a youth answer them and more importantly answer honestly.
  • Stop pretending like kids and teens aren’t thinking or talking about sex.
In a nutshell the response is: those answers are too taboo. What about ads? You know ads like nyc hra’s recent ones or ones a like? Aren’t those good?
No. 
Well surely they would’ve worked on you if say them.
 I didn’t and they didn’t. 
End of conversation or follow up with more questions.
People!  stop thinking a PSA is going to be the end all be all of teenage pregnancy and more importantly stop asking me questions you don’t like the answers to.
Stop asking youth and young adults what they think if you won’t listen. Because I’m tired of speaking and having no one listen

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Recently, I have noticed a lot of discussion in the news and among friends about the importance and appropriateness of condoms in relationships, committed or otherwise. With recent stories about Michael Douglas coming out and claiming that his throat cancer is the result of HPV contracted during oral sex, many long held ideas in our discourse about condoms becomes questionable and up in the air.

 

In many studies, condom usage during vaginal intercourse is iffy at best. In a recent article by Salon, statistics were quoted that said less than ¼ of American adults in a relationship used condoms while it only went up to ⅓ for single Americans. In a survey of an unmarried group between the ages of 15-44, 68.3% of American men and 71.6% of American women said they “never” used condoms, and this is for penetrative intercourse that is understood as the more “risky” form of sex.

 

With these new allegations from Michael Douglas and reports of super-resistant forms of gonorrhea that specifically live in the throat and mouth area, it raises the question again of when condoms become appropriate. With numbers being so high for penetrative sex, they jump even higher when it comes to oral sex. Hopefully, with these new understandings of STI’s coming to light, organizations like ours and others will be able to have a more specific conversation about oral sex and condom usage to better protect ourselves and the rest of the general population from unnecessary disease.

Categories: Condoms
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Texas Lawmaker Says Sex Ed Makes Teens ‘Hot and Bothered’ Leads to Sex and Babies

The Texas house recently passed an extreme bill that could force most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. Many of the debates over the bill were heated, but one of the more interesting ones started last Tuesday night after a house committee vote was over and three members of the committee had a conversation that was audio-taped by a reporter for theHouston Chronicle. In that conversation, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) pointed out to two of her Republican colleagues, Reps. Steve Toth (The Woodlands) and Bill Zedler (Arlington), that sex education that includes information about contraception can help prevent unintended pregnancies, and therefore can reduce the number of abortions that are performed. Toth was quick to disagree about the merits of sex education.

READ MORE HERE.

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When I mention the term taboo I DO mean the game in which you guess the word someone on your team is explaining. I mean taboo as in  is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment as explained by Wikipedia(you know you refer to that site).  Parents today are just not taking the initiative to  teach their kids or even answer questions.Everything starts at  home.  The schools does not enforce sexual education like they should hence why advocates does the work they do.  I hearing all kinds of things that are just plain crazy and I have to correct the young people and send to different resource. If different organizations are providing the resources then parents should back the kids it’s only right.  I want education for all dispite the topic. If only I can educate the world.Sex shouldn’t be taboo instead it’s should be talked about.  I am positive parents don’t want students learning from the wrong person.

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So lately I have been on a health kick. I partake in so many things to try to get to my goal weight. Green smoothies, juicing, exercise, detoxes, weight loss challenges, you name it. This health binge that I’m on is basically like a whole new lifestyle. Today while I was in the gym I noticed there were many other dedicated individuals who were working hard towards what ever goal they wished to achieve. As I sweat bullets on the elliptical I though to myself that if people where as concerned about their sexual health as they were with their physical health there would be a significant change in the number of sexually transmitted diseases. There are individuals who dedicate hours in the gym each day, eliminate carbohydrates from their diet, and even refrain from eating meat to be “healthier” but do not even know their HIV status. Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere. Your sexual health is just as, if not more, important as your physical health. We need to focus on the body as a whole and not only the outer part. Let’s start working out and getting our sexual health in shape. Knowing is half of the battle. Know your status, get tested, use protection, and spread the knowledge.

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condomologyinfographic

Whether you need info about condoms yourself or are a peer educator and/or activist looking to get the facts to a friend, Condomology is the place to start.

Condomology is a new initiative from the American Sexual Health Association aimed at ensuring that people have fact-based information in plain, understandable speak that we can all use and share. You’ll find videos, slideshows, charts and other information covering the “ins and outs” of condoms and sexual health.

Check it out, watch the videos, and share the infographic!

Categories: Condoms
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“CPCs have a long history of engaging in deceptive advertising. For example, some CPCs intentionally choose their name to mislead women into believing that they offer a wide range of services, including family planning and abortion care. The Family Research Council investigated what names would be most likely to appeal to women, particularly pro-choice women, in a 1998 report. Women’s Resource Center, which gives the impression of a full range of services, was deemed to have the most strategic value in reaching women “at risk for abortion.” The report also showed that women faced with an unplanned pregnancy were most likely to look in the Yellow Pages under the words “Pregnancy,” “Medical,” “Women’s Centers” and “Clinics.” Accordingly, CPCs often are advertised under these categories, as well as “Abortion Alternatives,” and “Women’s Organizations.” CPCs also advertise through posters, signs, and billboards that contain messages like, “Free Pregnancy Test,” or “Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help! Call 1-800 #.” Women report, however, that when they call these numbers the CPC representatives evade questions about whether they provide abortions, and urge the women to make an appointment to meet with a ‘counselor’ to talk in person.”

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: An Affront to Choice

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The Candies foundation has done a great job at repackaging anti-teenage pregnancy messages in a way that youth and celebrities alike pay attention to. However, it has greatly failed at addressing or highlighting the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy and how to avoid an unintended  pregnancy.

Factors like poverty, which has been found to lead to teenage pregnancy and defy the notion that teenage pregnancy leads to poverty. Lack of comprehensive sex education which has been found to delay the on-set of sexual intercourse, lack of access to preventative services like birth control and condoms.

 

Some argue the ads aren’t bad and work. Let me take this chance to tell you I saw these ads and many like them BEFORE becoming pregnant at 15. Didn’t work for me and they don’t for the other 750,000 teens that become pregnant each year.

 

If more anti-teenage pregnancy organizations addressed and amplified the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy their messaging would be less offensive to teenage families and more effective in reducing teenage pregnancy and STD/STI infections in youth.

It’s important to realize that people can and are offensive without intending to or realizing they are but this is no reason to continue with offensive messaging.

 

Public service announcements and public and private campaigns which paint portraits of a desolate life for teenage families not only perpetuate stereotypes born out of ignorance, they can also lead to discouraging teenage families from seeking help and services that may be available to them while simultaneously discourage adults from helping teenage families for fear of being viewed as “encouraging teenage pregnancy.”

 

As a teen mom I call on all anti-teenage pregnany firms and organizations to use their platforms and budgets to really combat unintended pregnancy by advocating for easier and wider access to contraceptives, comprehensive sex education, and teenage parent support not disrespectful, biased, fear driven campaigns.

 

It’s time to stop ignoring the fact that social problems such as poverty, educational disparities and a lack of access to sexual health services and information  play a huge role in unintended teenage pregnancy and the high rates of STI/STD infections in youth.

 

Learn more about this campaign and how you can support young parents   http://strongfamiliesmovement.org/young-parents

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In an attempt to lower teen pregnancy rates, Chicago has implemented a thought provoking ad campaign. All over the city people are encountering billboards picturing pregnant young men.  While the images are powerful, I am uneasy about their message and effectiveness.

As seen above, the uniting message of these ads is, “Unexpected? Most teen pregnancies are. Avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms. Or wait.” While I applaud the Chicago Department of Health for not  promoting abstinence and safe sex practices, by imploring “use condoms” instead of “use protection” the message is a bit limited. Perhaps this campaign is solely targeted at males, in which condoms are the most effective form of protection. I know ads must cleverly summarize their message into a line or two, but this subject deserves a bit more expanding. Where’s the mention of how you must use condoms properly each time for them to work? Even just adding “every time” after “use condoms” would have gone a long way and perhaps subliminally started to engrain the consistency condom use requires. The ads lists the website www.beyoubehealthy.org which also only provides basic information on condoms, and no mention of other forms of birth control and sti-protection. A thorough, responsible education campaign should offer knowledge on all options.

I have always been a believer of the tenet that “scare tactics” do not work. Yes, they often provoke meaningful conversations, but their effectiveness has failed to be proven. Supporters claim similar ads resulted in a 10% drop in teen pregnancy in Milwaukee, however, it is difficult to isolate causality. I would love to see a campaign that sparks conversations about how to have safer sex without shaming teens in the process.

The Milwaukee campaign had nearly identical ads. I’m sure they were well-intentioned, but attached quite a bit of stigma to teen pregnancy in order to get their message across. Below, one of the ads claims that teen pregnancy is “disturbing”.

Attaching such charged words to teen pregnancy gives it a negative connotation, further shaming young parents or those debating what to do with their current pregnancy.  In addition, while I acknowledge this trend is decreasing, some young adults still do choose to have children and we should not push those people to the fringes of society.

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When being sexually active you may run into a couple of problems such as the condom breaks. If this happens, don’t panic and take responsibility. There are many options that are available to help prevent from pregnancy in the very instance, and precautions to use for the future to prevent to preit fromhappening again. One option for future condom breaks can be to double up by using a hormonal contraceptive AND a barrier method such as female condom oryour partner wearing a condom, this term is better known as “double dutch” or “Double C’s”. You may also go to the store within the first 72 hours topurchase and use EC (emergency contraception) also known as the Plan B or Next Choice pills. These brand of emergencycontraceptive pills are available in local stores such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens. So the next time you or someone you know find themselves in a “tizzy” don’t Panic and take charge!!!!

To read more about EC visit www.morningafterinfo.org or text SEXT to 74574.

 

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Most people think that it’s only suitable for a man to carry condoms around, but really this is 2013 people and it is perfectly okay AND responsible for women to carry them also. Itincreases the chance for safe sex and it also allows for you to have a clear mind for yourself when engaging in sexual intercourse that you are practicing prevention also. So don’t hesitate, when packing your purse with goodies go ahead and pack a condom also, maybe even a female condom as well! You may hear often from the guy “I don’t have a condom or I ran out, but it will be okay”. Come on ladies there is no true prevention in the “Pull ‘n Pray” option, BE SURE! With your own condoms, you can be the one to say “Don’t worry, I have protection right here!” and not only will you both be happy, but you both will be preventing pregnancy and STDs. Condoms are fashionable to wear and to carry! J For info on free condoms in your area, text SEXT to 74574!

Categories: Condoms
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Hello World :),

Ok Honestly… seriously.. Am I the only one who even when reaching grade 7 .. just entering high school, used to still snicker when the teacher mentioned the word “Sex”. Call me sheltered, call me over-protected, but I can still recall that students in my grade were still pretty immature as it relates to sex upon reaching high school (or maybe they were sheltered too you may argue).

 

On the flip side, we have majority of our boys in Jamaica being sexually initiated before the age of 15 years old.

So where do we join the line. How can we impart sexual knowledge in a way that :1. Does not send a separate message from what is being preached in the house hold (for example, some parents preach abstinence at home, yet this is counter productive when condoms are issued at school), 2. Works to the advantage of those who are sexually engaged .. and require protection to prevent unwanted pregnancies while not inducing those who are not engaged in sexual activities to begin such and 3. keeps into consideration the fact that the age of consent is 16.

 

I don’t know about you but this seems like a very complexed procedure. In totality, Youth SHRH issues are always very.. touchy.

When some adults think of distributing condoms in school, I think they picture an air plane flying over the schools and throwing condoms out in the air with streamers saying “free condoms” lol. But in fact this condom in school thing could practically work If all they stakeholders would put their “organizational stances” behind them and look at it logically”. I am theorizing that condoms can be allowed in a manner that tackles my questions above in the following ways:

1.) Through Guidance Counsellors. After all.. they are being paid to do stuff like this.

2.) Through SRHR sessions held for students between for example 4th-6th form. These could be held on special days for example world aids day or Boys day and Girls Day.

We should ensure however that the presence of these condoms ensures access- meaning students should not be afraid.. or hesitant to obtain these condoms in the event that they are in need of it.

But frankly though… I do not believe the condom message should be preached and the abstinence message be neglected. Students should feel they have a choice to pursue either option. Students should be objectively educated on the pro’s and con’s of each means of contraception  and should be empowered with the resources to pursue either option.

That is all

<3 kevz

Categories: Condoms
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I have seen worse and witnessed poor humans dragged in the mud due to ill mannered understanding and vague mindedness… Lots of young girls and ladies including boys have misused the concept of being safe and keeping cleare from unwanted issues.. Most of us do NOT set the path for this, it\’s either we were forced to be in it, or due to the kind of friends we work with.. Due to this effect we have made mistakes and this mistakes continuously destroys our lives ..

Abortion in my country :Nigeria, is way beyond careful , because we have people here who are not looking out for the harm this act may cause but the satisfaction from it.. Recently a friend of mine had an abortion, Damaging her internal tissues, this made her unable to bear children.. She didn\’t do it because she had no choice , but because of the stigma and what others laid ON ground…

We become more vulnerable not because we cannot stand and fight , but because the ones we hoped for and look on to dont fit in with the standards of a good heart…
Many of us today has been left aside , left to wallow in shame and mystery. Guys dont feel there\’s need for a condom and the ladies dont want it anymore: they SAY it doesn\’t provide ultimate satisfaction…

All of these happen not because it started anew with them , but it has been laid before they were even born… All they need is knowledge for advancement, knowledge for a better understanding of what these act means, and not the othe way round :.. They need you and ME to make the difference…
They need us..

Categories: Abortion, Condoms, Safer Sex
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Colorado Youth Testify in Support of HB 1081

I strictly assumed that by this time period humans would not be arguing over equality, inclusion, and sexual health. Apparently, some Americans don’t want their children learning about “the gays”, “the lesbians”, “the immigrants” or “cultures.”  Some are even outraged because “white heterosexuals” are “no longer represented.” These are authentic words spoken from citizens present in the committee for HB 1081 or “The Sex Ed Bill”, on Thursday February 7th. I went into committee humming “I’m just a Bill” to ease the nerves, because I had no idea what to expect for my first committee hearing.  I was not prepared to speak, but after listening to the opposition’s arguments that were no more than racist and discriminative, I wanted my voice heard. I was “the gay” that they rejected, and the “immigrant” that disgusted them, and the “culture” that they were opposed too.

My turn came to speak. Hesitant I got up from my chair, stepped slow and cautious to the stand while I felt judgment from the many eyes in the room. I thought repeatedly in my head what I wanted to say, but as soon as my mouth said the first word, everything seemed to vanish from my brain. What was a high school student to say? Hell, why was he even here? I sat down. My voice shook as I said my name, but I remembered the woman who didn’t want “the gays” and the “immigrants” in her white heterosexual culture and said “I am here representing the Latino community who cannot be here today because they do not speak English, or have the resources to be here.” Yes, I said Latino with an accent because in that very moment, I had never been more proud to be a person of color. I then stated “I would like to begin by saying that I identify as gay.” Never had a said “I identify as gay” openly, in public. I knew however that this was the time to truly express myself as an advocate.

I testified for HB 1081 in a way I never thought I would. I not only came out to the 12 legislators in the room, but I came out to the priest in the back who probably damned me to hell ten times over, the woman who drove from Colorado Springs to attack communities I am a part of, and the many allies in that room which gave me the boost of confidence I much needed. I didn’t have a clear understanding of why I do the work I do. I knew I had a passion for the education of individuals, the equality of humans, and empowerment of the mind, but it took that one woman saying “the gays” and “the immigrants” to accurately put this into perspective.  Not only was I advocating for Comprehensive Sexual Health Education, but I was making a stand for everything that is included in Comp Sex Ed; The inclusion of culture, ability, gender, age, sexual orientation, size, and ethnicity. Comprehensive Sexual Health addresses the respect for others and respect for yourself, which is why I was able to testify, and confront the opposition: Learning about my body, my actions and reactions, and my rights as a young person has allowed me to gain self assurance and confidence.  The experience of testifying for committee was electrifying, intimidating, but mostly rewarding and reflective, and I can only hope that I was remembered among the citizens who don’t want the “the gays”, “the lesbians”, or “the immigrants” in their culture, these pitiful underprivileged people: Where are they represented?

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The Ministry of Educations says “No to condom in Schools.” I beg to differ. Yes to Condoms in Schools…..

By now we must all be aware of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) and National HIV/STI merger to form the national authority for sexual and reproductive health. While it is a good move to have the merger, we are now faced with the question, will these two entities — now made one — make more success in its endeavour, and what about the rights component associated with sexual reproductive health?

One of the issues that this authority needs to examine is the debate on whether condoms should be distributed in schools or not. In order to tackle this correctly, the first step that must be taken is for us to scrutinise the readiness of individuals at this age to be engaging in sexual encounters.

There needs to be greater transparency in the age at which one can start engaging in sex and the age at which one can access sexual reproductive services. At present, it is 16 years old and 18 years old respectively. This is contradictory, but the sad reality is, it is our law, so we have to abide by it or else we know the result will be jail time or be fined large sums of money when brought before the courts. There have been several consultations over the years with the relevant authorities involved; however, we are yet to see any real change with regards to having consistency in light of this discrepancy.

Let us examine the pros and cons of distributing contraceptives in schools moreso condoms. Many argue that if this is done we are sending a strong message to children that they should be engaging in sexual activities at their young age, even though they are not emotionally ready for this act. How many of the children in schools are married? Well, we have to take into consideration the moral standing of most of the country being Christians, and we all know that it is a sinful act to be engaging in sex before marriage.

When last did you stop to check the statistics as it relates to teenage pregnancy? The last time I did, it still showed Jamaica having one of the highest in the region. What about that for HIV and other STIs? The 14-24 age groups have the highest rates in the total population. This should not be the case, but it is a reality that these unwanted diseases and pregnancies are occurring among our young people. How else can we deal with this in our society but to distribute condoms to students to rid the society of these unwanted actions? This should always be a last resort, but if the family was playing its role and educating children from within the home from an early age about sex, then the school wouldn’t have to be faced with this burden.

At the end of the day, we should also be advocating for comprehensive sex education in schools. Not only should we teach about abstinence — which is the greatest prevention strategy — but for those who are involved already there needs to be intervention strategy, and this can come in the form of condom distribution to protect these students against unwanted pregnancies and diseases. There should also be a supportive component which can come through counselling and effective referral services where needed. Students have the ability to make informed decisions and should be trusted in taking on this role at times.

Jason Madden

IYSO Council Member

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When talking about safe sex isn’t enough, why not rap about it? Here’s a safe sex rap done by a student at South Carolina State University for their very first Condom Fashion Show.

Will Power: A Safe Sex Rap

 

Categories: Condoms
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I think comdoms are wonderful they protect you from many many STI’s

they come in a lot of colours and flavours for sexual intercourse i couldn’t find any better creation ever

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Jamaica has done it again. In an effort to turn the volume up against the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country, renowned vocalist and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph was introduced as the newest ambassador to help in this venture.  

The Ministry of Health was instrumental in inviting the Jamaican born now Hollywood star to get on board and had a launch on Tuesday April 23, 2013. This reception saw several stakeholders attending to welcome the CEO of Diva Foundation – Lee Ralph. 

The Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson was very keen in his greetings and stated that “The disease was seen as a death sentence, no longer today as we have ART and support from Global fund, World Bank and PEPFAR. We now need to see how we can sustain these improvements with HIV/AIDS. Jamaica is amongst the first country to be looking at sustainable study in regards to HIV/AIDS.” He further went on to say that there is unity with the political parties, civil society and private sector and therefore nothing can stop us now. “HIV/AIDS as a developmental issue must now be treated in that way.”

Ms. Denise Herbol, Mission Director of USAID uttered firm words and reinforced that Partnership amongst all sectors will help us to achieve an AIDS free generation.

The JaBCHA Foundation was one of the key partners’ at this event and its Managing Director, Mr. Earl Moore beckoned that stigma still exists, especially amongst church people. “Private sector is not doing enough and again I will emphasize the churches are not doing enough and it is embarrassing.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation was in attendance as well and its Southern Bureau Chief, Mr. Michael Kahane brought greetings from his organization. “This country is blessed with the willingness to accept new ideas. As the largest HIV/AIDS organization in the world we are happy to be on board with Jamaica.”

Ms Sheryl Lee Ralph with her melodic singing began her presentation “I am an endangered spices  … I am a woman, I am an artist and I know where my voice belongs.”  “Jamaica now is the time, you saw us light that fire earlier, you should take action and start talking about sex. We are going to love our children more by talking to them about sex and inform them about abstinence. We can and must do better when it comes to HIV/AIDS, it is everyone’s problem. Get involve, get inform, get proper information. I talk about condoms too, use them! I know you are saying it doesn’t feel good, well HIV doesn’t either. The number one reason most persons don’t talk about their status is because they don’t know their status. “Get tested!” 15-49 age groups are carrying the burden of this disease. “Get tested!” “I love you, God does not make mistakes.”  

Ashe ensemble did performance from beating of drums, singing and dancing and had those in attendances wowed by the high energy that they end on and showed that young people are indeed creative and can make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.   

This is truly a step in the right direction for Jamaica as it increases awareness on HIV/AIDS. People should become inform and stay in the know. There should be no more stigma and discrimination towards people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

 

Jason Madden

IYSO Council Member  

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Transgender women are the fastest growing population of the HIV-positive.  The National Institutes of Health came out with a report, noting that almost a third of transgender Americans have HIV.  Trans women of color specifically are at a greater risk than their white sisters.  Through a survey, it was found that 56% of black trans women have HIV.  The 2009 study from NIH also noted that many transgender women may not even know their HIV status.  With an alarming statistic like this, we have to wonder what’s causing it.

When individuals are thrown into social injustice, it can be difficult to escape from.  Trans women are profiled and disproportionately targeted and arrested by the law enforcement.    The police will try to use condoms as evidence of sex work, so trans women face the “choice” of keeping themselves and their partners safe or getting arrested.  When they’re forced into jail, trans women are often housed with male inmates or they are put into solitary confinement, as if either path is any better.  Sex workers are generally more likely to be HIV-positive than those who are not engaged in sex work, but because of the disproportionate targeting of trans women, trans women sex workers’ risk for HIV is four times greater.

While sex work is a valid way of meeting financial needs, some trans women turn to it as an option because of discrimination in employment.  In most of the United States, it’s completely legal to turn down or dismiss a person based on gender identity and sexual orientation.  People can even be denied housing or become evicted because of their gender identity and orientation.  This leaves a dangerously negative and significant impact on their economic well-being and safety.  It also makes it difficult for trans women especially to keep up with their hormonal therapy, since it’s often not covered by insurance, if they can even pay for that insurance with what the circumstances are.  With lack of access to basic health care, many incompetent doctors, clinics, social stigma, and overall institutions that discriminate against trans women, especially those of color– it’s all a very nasty formula expressing why trans women are hit so hard with HIV.

So, what can we do to help?  Trans people are often absent from public campaigns for sexual health and safety.  We can start by including them into that, and into many of our discussions and campaigns of social justice as well.  We could get trans-specific in our literature in safer sex guides.  We could also set up community centers as a safe space for trans people and create some peer groups, which would be strong social networks and a good use of peer outreach for safer sex and HIV testing.  And of course we could and should create social support and do our part to de-stigmatize our trans brothers and sisters.  Look up a local or national activist organization today.

 

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« KO! KO! KO! », shouted the crowd .Mind you, they weren’t participating in a boxing match, neither were they at a musical concert, they shouted KO! in response to the health officials that took turns in sensitizing the crowd of more than 5000 that gathered at the Douala Place du Gouvernement to participate in the 9KM sensitization Walk that was organized by the Cameroon’s Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and better known by its French acronym CCATSIDA, Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health, and other stakeholders (local and international) in the fight against Malaria this Saturday 20th April 2013.

Being a participant, I could not help but be marveled at how engaged fellow participants were as we criss-crossed the streets of Cameroon’s most populated town. Young and old, and from diverse horizons, one thing united this people; that Malaria be kicked Out of Cameroon.

This passion and demonstrated in the endurance of the participants all through the alertness of their  footsteps and the smile on their faces, could not however stop me from asking myself fundamental questions around the strategy for the fight against Malaria in my country. Thus, when  one of the thousands of spectators that had  amassed  at  streets corners shouted, “Where are condoms?”, there was  an outburst of laughter from the crowd, I began asking myself  what might have prompted this spectator to ask the question he did. As I thought about this, my eyes fell on the logo of the Cameroonian Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and on the T-Shirt of the participant ahead of me, my answer was here. The words AIDS on this coalitions logo prompted the question from this spectator.

AIDS and its prevention methods are better known in Cameroon than Malaria and its means of protection.  This is paradoxical given that Malaria kills in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa than HIV/AIDS. Mind you, I am in no way saying that resources (human and material) should be shifted from the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is causing havoc in Cameroon especially amongst youths, to the fight against Malaria. The point I am trying to make is that the fight against Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis has for long been done as though they were isolated.

It is true that a person that has Malaria  or Tuberculosis is not automatically an HIV/AIDS patient, but  most often people suffering from HIV/AIDS in Cameroon are  victims of the  Malaria and tuberculosis given the milieu in which they live and  the little means they have to survive on.

I have for long being convinced that an effective fight against Malaria cannot be done in an isolated manner but must be inclusive; taking into consideration the vectors of the disease in various communities in Cameroon. A dirty environment provides good breeding grounds for Mosquitoes especially the female Anopheles mosquito, through which Malaria is spread, the fight against Malaria must start from there. If a clean environment is achieved through mechanism through efficient urban development and poverty reduction strategies, Malaria will be made history. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that prevention is better than Cure?

In Cameroon and I guess is the case elsewhere in the world, a change from a dirty and crowded environment to a cleaner environment is the main indicator that a person has emerged from poverty. This is so because people who could barely afford 3 meals a day will have little time to think about the environments in which they live talk less of women in this bracket going for prenatal consultation or even having time to take their infants to the hospital when they are sick. Thus, despite the bed-nets distribution campaigns that  have been organized all over Cameroon and despite the fact that  Malaria treatment is free for  children and pregnant women  in Cameroon, Malaria killed more than 3000 people most of whom children.

Without an efficient attack on poverty, which is fertile ground for poor living conditions, I am afraid our walk and much talk on the fight against Malaria will be in vain. For Malaria to be kicked out of this country, we must not only walk on occasions like those organized  to mark the World day for the fight against Malaria, we must truly walk the talk on the fight against Malaria daily, by  launching an immediate assault and poverty. Because Malaria is the consequence of a dirty environment which is its self a glaring consequence of poverty.

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Social justice and environmental justice have a very direct
correlation. The environmental movement and the feminist movement both
advocate for the health of humanity, but in different ways. There are
many subject matters that exemplify this intersectionality.
For example, the way people use and abuse nature can easily be
compared to how society uses and abuses women.
Toxic Chemicals. We clearly need to do something about how easy it is
for major companies to slowly pollute our bodies and our earth. There
are over 84,000 chemicals in popular consumer products and only 200
have been tested. When chemicals even are tested it is primarily on
men, so these companies clearly do not care about the effect they are
having on women’s bodies. Some of these chemicals are made from toxins
that pollute our water and air. Many of these chemicals have been
shown to cause infertility, low sperm counts, sexual dysfunction,
miscarriage, and different types of cancer.  Not to mention women use
personal care products far more often than men and are therefore more
negatively affected. Here at ETSU we’re celebrating Earth Day with a
festival and a young man best summarized it when he said “unnatural
chemicals don’t make natural beauty.”
Not everyone can afford ridiculously expensive so-called “natural
organic” personal care products to keep themselves and their children
healthy. In addition, toxic waste dumps are disproportionately located
near minority communities. Women of color are targeted by systematic
racist beauty standards convincing them to buy hair relaxers and skin
lightening creams with chemicals that have severe damage potential.
For example, the chemicals found in common African-American hair
products are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are
linked to a range of reproductive health issues, like premature
puberty, gynecologic cancer, and birth defects. Look at who is hurting
the most by toxic chemicals. This is clearly a social justice issue
activists need to rise up against.
Quick Fact: 80% of federal transportation funds go to highways while
only 20% goes to mass transit. Not only does this hurt inner city
communities, but it’s a contributing factor to global warming.
Reproductive Justice. You know what’s really hurting our resources?
Overpopulation. People are using up far more than they need to and it
is growing out of control. If reproductive health options were more
readily available this would alleviate a great deal of that
environmental strain.
Here is a quick review on what the Toxic Substances Control Act is and
why we need it to be updated. This site also helps teach you on how
you can help.http://www.saferchemicals.org/resources/opinion.html
Find out what is in your cosmetics:
http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?list=type&type=33
Wake up to the threat of toxic chemicals!
www.rhtp.org/fertility/ToxicZombie.asp (Many resources used in the
writing of this blog were obtained from this site.)
“Toxic Combination: Fact Sheet on Toxic Chemicals and Reproductive
Health”—Center for American Progress:
http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2010/04/pdf/toxic_combination.pdf
“Women of Color are at Greater Risk for Toxic Chemical
Exposure”—Women’s Voices for the Earth:
http://www.womensvoices.org/about/why-a-womens-organization/

 

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text GetHipDC to 74574

text GetHipDC to 74574The GetHip DC line is a resource for you to find information about sexual health. It’s free and available 24/7.
You can get info about STDs and birth control, as well as where to go locally for help. Just text GetHipDC to 74574

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I created a little story flyer to hang up around the residence halls at my campus. Thought I’d share it with everyone. :)

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Today is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day. This  disease has been robbing our generation of precious young people for many years and now is the time to take a stand and fight for our generation back. I am happy to support this day and I have hopes that it will evolve into a mass movement amongst the young people of this generation. Knowledge is power! By raising awareness and promoting prevention young people will have the power to fight HIV and AIDS.

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While Boston College is against adult students at the college using and having access to condoms my college LOVED when the student government gave out condom flowers on Condom Day.

I am one part of my college’s Undergrad Student Governments Health Programming Board. Our campus has a health clinic like many other college campuses however, a lot of students do not know about it. In an effort to get more of my peers to know about the clinic and to be more mindful of the sexual health I decided to make condom flowers for Valentine’s Day and give them away to students.

Condom flowers are cute, creative, and lets face it super practical. Luckily for me they’re even easy to make. I set out making the flowers the day before and after hours of tape, condoms, and pipe cleaners  I called it quits at 140 flowers.
Unfortunately, I had class at the time of giving them away however when I went downstairs between classes my friends h
ad told me that the condom flowers were a huge hit!
Even the Dean of Student Affairs came out to them and thanked them for doing “this it’s really nee
ded.”
While I was with them I watched as some people would pull their hands back as if they were reaching into fire when they noticed they were condoms. Why?
Why is it that condoms are “icky,” “gross,” “embarrassing and unprotected sex isn’t? Why are adults in college still afraid and blush at the sight of a condom? The other day the Center for Disease Control confirmed the United States is one of the most infectious developed countries in the world.
Perhaps if we learned, familiarized, and taught ourselves about sex safe we would actually have safe sex. Imagine that.

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STIGMA

A few weeks back  I listened attentively to ‘SOS Doctor’, one of the best health programs that be on Radio in Cameroon. As I listened, I got very happy at the great job that Dr. Dion Grace, a member of the National AIDS Control Committee of Cameroon was doing to educate Cameroonians on anti-retroviral drugs. She eloquently and insightfully answered every one of the questions that were posed to her by listeners who called-in and am sure her intervention in the program was a timely one. Everything was fine until when a listener called-in to ask what is it that could be done to reduce stigma on people who are on anti-retroviral drugs. Dr. Dion as usual gave a very insightful answer to this question going as far as citing the example of Ivory Coast where the drugs are put in anonymous packages so that they can be taken by patients without fear of stigma by the people around them. She went ahead to cite cases where some special containers of various doses is been used in some countries to reduce stigma. This was quiet interesting to know, but when she started advising people on anti-retroviral that they could tell people around them that they are taking vitamins or pills in order to avoid stigmatization I grumbled the following to myself: Do I have to be so ashamed of my status that I have to lie to others?

I have no statistics on this but I can assure you that having to lie on your HIV status is the order of the day in Cameroon especially amongst young people to avoid stigma and discrimination.  Well, this to an extend is understandable given that People Living With  HIV/AIDS(PLWHA)  are considered as being punished by God for either their sisns or those committed by their family. But when telling a lie to avoid stigma is a behaviour that is reinforced health professionals, I have reservations and clearly doubt how efficient this approach could be.

I am utterly convinced that a problem can only be solved if its root cause(s) is/are carefully tackled. As a young person living in a society where most PLWHA are young persons, I compare telling a lie on your HIV/AIDS status to survive to deliberately refusing to tackle the problem from it’s source and launching an attack on its leaves instead.

To reduce stigma in the most sustainable way possible, education rather than lies is required.Young  People, their families, and the communities in which People on anti-retroviral drugs have to be educated on the dangers of stigma and on the importance of accepting PLWHA. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations’ Secretary-General,  vividly spelt out society’s responsibility to PLWHA when he declared that,  “We can fight stigma. Enlightened laws and policies are key. But it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Schools should teach respect and understanding. Religious leaders should preach tolerance. The media should condemn prejudice and use its influence to advance social change, from securing legal protections to ensuring access to health care.”

Lies do nothing but contribute in amplifying the myth around HIV/AIDS in the Cameroonian society. People on anti-retroviral drugs do not need to lie on their status to survive stigma, they need to accept themselves as they are and deserve the care and protection that every other human being is due by the society in which they live.They deserve to live a real life and not a life of lies.

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Video From NAW 2013!!!

Thanks to Advocates For Youth, I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s National Advocacy Weekend for 5 days this past March. As I packed my bags and boarded the plane that would take me from Ithaca, NY to Washington DC, I had no clue as to the intense intellectual, emotional, and passionate environment I was about to step into.

This year’s Advocacy Weekend was focused on the inclusion of immigrant women’s health care in immigration reform. Immigration policy directly affects an immigrant woman’s access to health care. According to the NLIRH website, the majority of female immigrants do not have healthcare coverage. State legislatures continue to introduce legislation that would restrict non-citizens’ access to basic public health programs, including prenatal care. Immigrant women are less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care, including cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, accurate sex education and culturally and linguistically competent services.

Reproductive Justice tells us that these services are essential for women to have the basic human rights to dignity and self determination. It was under this belief that over 50 activists from across the country joined together. We represented the full spectrum of american latina identity- some of us were undocumented, others were second and third generation citizens. Our command of English and Spanish differed, but we were united in our conviction, and most of all in our support of one another.

Yo te apoyo. This is one of NLIRH’s campaign slogans, and it was this sentiment that was most felt throughout the weekend. As we learned about the intricacies of immigration reform and of it’s intersections with Reproductive Justice, we were free to voice our personal experiences and frustrations. People spoke of very personal obstacles- young motherhood, the pain of familial disruption by deportation, the inability to be seen by a doctor for a cyst in the breast- openly and honestly, and were always received with respect and the assurance that they had in their power the ability to create change.

At the rally for Immigrant Women on Sunday, speakers shouted, “We are on the right side of history!” to a church full of applause. I clapped and shouted right along.  It was only later that I questioned the assurance I felt that this is true. I suppose I feel that I am “on the right side of history” when I am working with people who sound least like a history textbook.. People who choose not to simplify and sterilize an issue, because they are not afraid to admit to and confront the complexity and diversity of it. People who gain collective power through their willingness to admit to vulnerability, to the need to support and be supported in their struggle.

 

For more information about the issue of Immigrant women’s access to healthcare, and how it is affected by immigration policy, check out:

Our Issues: Immigrant Rights

The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants

 

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In this midst of an ongoing conversation with a classmate of mine, they asked me “Hey Crystal, how can you tell if a person has an STD?”. Once I noticed that this question had caught more attention than either of us had planned on, I politely answered “You can’t”. All at once I became bombarded with questions, with the main idea being, “How do I protect myself?”. I went on to say that people who have STDs or who are HIV positive obviously aren’t just walking around with badges on that read “Hi, my name is _______, and I have Chlamydia.” You can’t tell what a person has been infected with, and honestly in most cases, they may not even know themselves that they are infected. Nevertheless,I am positive that the best way to protect yourself is to practice safe sex. Condoms aren’t just something cool to collect, or put on your key chain, or even to wear on a stylish bag (although we absolutely love these swag items)… condoms are like mini soldiers that protect you from the dangers that may come along with being sexually active. Wear your soldiers with pride and always wrap it up! For more info on sexual health, text SEXT to 74574.

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My word, my word… what to blog about now. This blogging mentality has just taken root in me as of this month (if only people would read them… that would give me a real push :) )

My recent affiliation (or rather increased interest) with the National Family planning board has prompted me to post something worthwhile and informative… instead of the sometimes  personal social observations I find myself posting. Enjoy :)

The 10 Most Effective Types of Contraception
1. Abstinence
Continuous abstinence, or abstaining from sexual intercourse, is the only form of
contraception that is 100 percent effective.
2. Condoms
Condoms are arguably the least expensive form of contraception and the easiest to obtain. They also protect couples from sharing some sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are sheaths of thin latex or plastic worn on the erect penis during intercourse. Of 100 women whose partners use condoms, about 15 will become pregnant with typical use (use that is usually but not always correct). Only two will become pregnant with perfect use. Condoms are widely available at drug and grocery stores, family planning clinics, as well as bathroom vending machines. They are free at most campus health centers and Planned Parenthood health centers.
3. Birth Control Combination Pill, Patch or Ring
These more effective reversible methods of birth control protect 92 of 100 women from becoming pregnant with typical use (use that is usually, but not always correct) Only one or two will become pregnant with perfect use. Pills must be taken every day at the same time, patches are switched weekly and rings are changed monthly. The combination products prevent a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation) and thicken the
cervical mucus to keep sperm from finding the egg. Commonly used pills include Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Loestrin, Seasonale, Yasmin and Orth-Cept.
4. Progestin-Only Pills
There are two basic types of pills; those that contain both estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills. The progestin-only pills usually work by thickening the cervical mucus and preventing some ovulation. Women who cannot take estrogen use these pills including those who breastfeed, who smoke and are over 35, who are at risk for cardiovascular disease or who have had blood clots.
5. Depo Provera Shot
Depo Provera, also known as “the shot”, is an injectable progestin-only prescription birth control. It contains no estrogen, and only requires an appointment every three months.
With the shot, there is no need to remember a daily pill. The shot is one of the most effective types of reversible contraception, with only three out of every 1,000 women getting pregnant with correct use. The protection is immediate if the shot is taken within
the first seven days of your period. The shot prevents ovulation and/or thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from meeting the egg. Since it is estrogen-free, it can be used while breastfeeding, by women over 35 who smoke and by women who have had blood clots.
6. Implanon
Implanon is a small, thin, progestin-only method that is effective for up to three years. A capsule the size of a match is placed under the skin on the upper arm. Implanon prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus. When inserted correctly, Implanon is as effective as sterilization with less than one woman becoming pregnant per 100.

7. Intrauterine Device (IUD).
An IUD, is a small, T-shaped contraceptive made of flexible plastic. It is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. A string is attached that ends in the vagina allowing rapid removal once the woman wishes to conceive. Two types are currently available in the United States; the copper ParaGuard, which provides reversible sterilization for 12 years, and Mirena, which releases a small amount of progestin for five years. They both work
by killing sperm in the uterus and prevent fertilization in the fallopian tube. Female physicians in the U.S. and much of the world’s women choose to use the IUD. Less than
one in 100 women will become pregnant with an IUD. ParaGuard can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex.
8. Diaphragm
The diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup with a flexible rim. It fits securely in the vagina to cover the cervix, blocking sperm from entering the uterus. For added protection, spermicide is put in the bowl of the diaphragm before insertion. 15 out of 100
women will become pregnant with typical use before starting their families and 25 of 100. will become pregnant who have already had at least one child through vaginal delivery.
9. Emergency Contraception (EC)
Emergency contraception, or “the morning after pill” prevents pregnancy up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. “Morning after” is actually a misnomer– the pills can be taken immediately after sex or up to five days later. The only packaged EC in the United States is called “Plan B” and is available to women over 18 without a prescription. The pill contains progestin that prevents ovulation and/or fertilization. The sooner the better, but if taken within 72 hours, it reduces a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by 85%. EC will not cause an abortion or interrupt an existing pregnancy.
10. Essure
The Essure procedure is a new form of permanent birth control without an incision. It is an excellent alternative to a tubal ligation. With Essure, a woman can avoid the hospital, recover by the next day and still enjoy the benefit of permanent birth control that is over 99% effective. The doctor uses a miniature camera device to insert two spring-like coils through the cervix into the fallopian tubes. Over the next three months, the body forms an
irreversible tissue barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. A confirmation test is then done to ensure that the tubes are completely blocked, and then all other forms of
contraception can be discontinued permanently.

Taken from http://www.ppsev.org/media/documents/Top10BestFormsofContraception.pdf

 

In my next blog I’ll post why I still believe abstinence is still the most effective method of contraception.

<3 kevz

Categories: Condoms
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Boston College Students for Sexual Health (BCSSH) is a group of students that has been acting as an independent organization since 2009.  The dedicated students that are a part of this group work solely through grants and volunteerism, as they are not officially recognized by the university.

 

BCSSH operates to distribute materials, resources, and information regarding sexual health to the Boston College community.  Apart from their sexual health trivia nights, condom distributions on city property, and other efforts, they pride themselves in the management of Safe Sites.  These Safe Sites are dorms across campus that contain male and female condoms, lubricant, and information on sexual health and wellness.  Any student in need of these materials can visit a Safe Site and receive these resources, no questions asked.

 

Recently, students whose rooms were designated as Safe Sites received emails from the Dean of Students Paul Chebator and the Director of Residential Life George Arey, along with other university officials.  The email threatened the students to cease distributing resources from their dooms or they would “be referred to the student conduct office for disciplinary action by the university.”

 

BCSSH has responded with a media frenzy, garnering support from organizations like Advocates For Youth, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and has received attention from media outlets ranging from BC newspapers to The Boston Globe and CNN.

 

The group has even received legal counsel from the ACLU, with their representatives saying that Boston College is infringing upon the student’s rights with their threats.

 

BCSSH has started a petition for students, faculty, and relatives to sign in support of sexual health resources on campus.
In addition, they have a solidarity statement for individuals outside of the BC Community to sign in order to show their support.

 

I have had the incredible opportunity to work with this awe-inspiring group of people for some time now and have been incredibly moved by their activism.  On behalf of the cause for Sexual Health, please consider signing the solidarity statement and writing a letter of support.  Any and all questions or letters can be sent to lennoxchelsea@gmail.com.

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I have seen this post circulate on Facebook and loved its message. I apologizing for not crediting it since I am not sure who put it together. There is absolutely no way to sugar coat the rape stories that are happening today and we should keep doing our great work loud and proud until we no longer hear about these savage crimes happening in our world. It is about time we teach our fellow humans NOT TO RAPE. Full Stop.

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I had the pleasure of being approached by a group of men who had, after a few discussions, decided it was time to take charge of not only their own sexual health, but that of their partners.

I use this post as a time to encourage and motivate the other youth workers in Jamaica. Don’t stop. Keep pushing, keep talking, keep working. Your work isn’t in vain, and your advice isn’t falling on deaf ears.

Sometimes, all it takes is someone to encourage young men (and women) to be the change, and make the change. Your health is your responsibility. Jamaica’s health is OUR responsibility. Youth have the responsibility to build the Jamaica we want to live in.

In closing, I’ll draw back for a theme that we had here at amplify a few years ago:

“Every generation has a chance to change the world: It’s OUR TURN!”

Categories: Condoms, Sexual Health
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  • A woman directed a fake Durex commercial and we all wish it was really a TV spot. Move over raunchy subtlety and sexy safety, functionality is here. The commercial basically says, “Condoms are for protection, and they’re very much up to the task.” We need more of this kind of advertising.
  • New Zealand campaign “Who Are You?” video highlights importance of bystander intervention to prevent rape. The viewer is taken through a young woman’s night out with a roommate and some friends. Throughout the night, there are 5 situations where people could have stepped up and prevented her rape (which occurred in the alternate ending without intervention). This campaign shows how easy it is to prevent some of these situations. One doesn’t even have to be a super close friend. You could be a total stranger who is concerned.
  • Melissa Harris-Perry wants you to know that the s0-called “Harlem Shake” phenomenon is cultural appropriation. She talks about how the original Harlem Shake spawned by P.Diddy (is that still what he calls himself?) is embedded deep in black cultural history. Disregarding the artistic boundaries by applying the name to a different kind of dance is kiiiinda disrespectful. There are already comments under the video dismissing her opinion. One of them is by someone who considers him/herself the voice of the black masses, and has ordained that since it is not personally offensive, it shouldn’t offend anyone else. “Everybody seriously just needs to chill”. Comments like these are the reason why micro aggressions run unchecked.

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Hey Safesites!





Show the world that young people are determined to end HIV & AIDS. Hold an event for National Youth HIV and AIDS Day (April 10).



Every month 1000 young people ages 13-24 acquire HIV. We can stop this. On National Youth HIV and AIDS Day (NYHAAD), let’s acknowledge young people’s great work fighting this epidemic, and hold our leaders accountable to prioritizing young people in ending AIDS.



NYHAAD is a great time to put your campus on the map! Literally. You can table, host a poetry reading, show a movie, encourage students to get tested and more. Then register your event so it can be added to the NYHAAD map and seen with the multitude of events young people are holding all over the country for NYHAAD!



PS – Help us share the news about National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day by liking us on Facebook. And tell your friends!





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Always pratice safe sex!

Categories: Condoms
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“To be clear, reproductive justice is not a label—it’s a mission. It describes our collective vision: a world where all people have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about gender, bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and families for themselves and their communities. And it provides an inclusive, intersectional framework for bringing that dream into being. Reproductive justice is visionary, it’s complex, it doesn’t fit neatly on a bumper sticker, and it has a lot to teach us about how to be successful in a changed and changing world.”

— Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson, Beyond Choice: How We Learned to Stop Labeling and Love Reproductive Justice

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We have all heard the common phrase “Sex sales” and we have even witnessed this idea in popular media through music, movies and even TV commercials. One of the most remembered commercials during the Superbowl involved a very attractive young lady sharing a very convincing kiss with a “nerd”. To be honest, I don’t even remember the score of the football game but I still remember that kiss. Now as we enter the fight to promote safe sex, we have some help in selling the appeal of safe sex to our target audience. Our weapon of choice is the remix to Gangham Style by Psi. The song is called “Condom style” by Cassidy. It is a pretty catchy song which has a very positive message. When you get some time, check it out!

Categories: Condoms