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This is in response to the article “Middle schools handing out condoms?

As a member of the Palm Beach Youth Leadership Council, I lobbied for the Healthy Adolescents Act with seven other members. This act would mandate that if sex education is taught in schools, it would have to be comprehensive, medically accurate, and age appropriate. There would also be an opt-out options for parents. When youth receives comprehensive sexual health programs they wait a year long to engage in sexual activity compared to students who receive an abstinence based programs. While this act doesn’t include anything about condoms being handed out, maybe it should.

Handing out condoms to middles schoolers — after meeting face to face with a counselor or nurse– would be very much appropriate considering that 10.2% of Palm Beach County middle schoolers have self-reported having sexual intercourse. To assume the counselor or nurse wouldn’t try to sway student from having sex seems like a misleading statement to me. They are most likely suppose to inform their students about the risks that comes along with being sexually active and how to properly protect themselves and let them decide for themselves what is best for them. Students are engaging in sexual activities whether we give them condoms or not. Wouldn’t you want them to be able to properly protect themselves from the risks?

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In a 1 billion dollar market where 40% of the buyers are women, Trojan is at the top gaining 70% of the sales. Sustain is trying  to create a market of their own.


Sustain  is an eco-friendly sexual wellness company that’s marketing to women, encouraging them to be the deciding factor when it comes to their sexual health. By making the packaging  more aesthetically pleasing and ensuring their resources are sustainable, they are giving women and those that seek environmentally friendly options an advantage in purchasing condoms.


The packaging seems like a minor detail when talking  about  a company that’s  both ethically sound and putting  the environment  first, but it makes a huge difference. The subtle packaging appeals to women and men who avoid purchasing condoms  due to their dramatic colors and attention attracting designs, fearing the embarrassment that people  associate with waiting  in line to buy condoms. The design is putting condoms in the hands of people who wouldn’t consider buying condoms, and empowering  those who would usually purchase  with caution.


Sustain pays living wages and pays women an equal wage. They also provide their employees with access to family planning, education, and  reproductive  healthcare. by using sustainable forests to harvest their latex (found in 10% of flowering plants), making their products fair trade, vegan, and non gmo certified, making their products nitrosamine -a carcinogen that’s found in most condoms- free,  and using  factories  that unionize their workers and use solar panels to help power the factory,  Sustain is definitely living up to their name!


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Applications for the Spring 2016 Great American Condom Campaign are open! Apply Today!

We are once again on the quest to find the most bold and visionary college students from around the United States to receive 500 Trojan Brand condoms to distribute on their college campuses.

Each year, GACC members give out over a million Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the United States, educate their peers about sexual health, and organize to improve the policies that affect young people’s health and lives.

What kind of ingenious plans will you come up with to distribute them this time? Condom lollipops? Condom scavenger hunt? Condom raffle tickets? Condom demonstration flash mob? Dress up as a giant chicken/duck/goose/platypus laying plastic eggs filled with condoms, candy and fun facts in strategic areas to welcome the spring? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

The application deadline is December 31st and it only takes about 10 minutes to fill out.
Apply Today!

Do it for your country.

Ariel Cerrud

Senior Manager, Youth Activist Network

Advocates for Youth

P.S. Know three equally awesome people who would make great Safesites? Forward this email to them!

Tweet now!

Apply to be a SafeSite, and get 500 @TrojanBrand #condoms to distribute to your friends! Join the #GACC! http://bit.ly/GACC2016

Facebook share! Want 500 #condoms to distribute to your friends? Don’t wait! Applications to be a Spring Semester Safesite are open through December 31st. Join the #GACC! http://bit.ly/GACC2016

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The use of condoms is the most effective way to prevent HIV and STDs and practice safe sex. Condoms have been around for centuries and have been made from various materials from paper to animal skins. Most condoms available today are made of latex rubber. Condoms reduce the risk of transmitting diseases by blocking the exchange of fluids during sexual activity. When condoms are used correctly, there is only a three percent chance of becoming pregnant and even less than a three percent chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Many couples do not correctly use condoms, and this causes the rate of potential pregnancy to rise to twelve percent, so it is critical to use condoms correctly. Condoms are most commonly available for men but there are also different types available for women, both of which are widely available in places like drug stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and many other locations.

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Many people know about the male condom; but how many people are knowledgeable about the female condom? Some people are unaware that the female condom even exists, even though it is very important that people should be aware of this contraception. In certain schools that teach sexual education when discussing contraception options they tend to leave this one out. Reasons may be because the male condom is more known and used more than the female condom, and also has been around much longer. This is still not fair, since young adults should have the right to learn all their contraception options now and for in the future purposes. Another reason people may not be aware that the female condom even exists is point plank that they just haven’t had any sexual education. I recently asked my mother if she had ever heard of a female condom and she looked at me like I was crazy, this is because when she was a teen her school had no sexual education and still thirty years later she is unaware of this contraception.  Let’s get into what even is the female condom..

The female condom is a lubricated pouch inserted before intercourse that can be inserted into the vagina or anus. This type of contraception is the only contraception (besides the male condom) that prevents both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The condom covers the both the inside and outside of the vagina and/or anus preventing semen from entering the vagina or anus. It has a similar set up compared to a male condom, just slightly differences.

If used correctly the female condom will be most effective just like all birth controls. According to Planned Parenthood’s website when a female condom is used correctly, statistics show 5 out of 100 pregnancies will happen each year. When a female condom is not used correctly studies show 21 out of 100 will become pregnant. There are also varieties of lubricated options, such as latex or water based condoms. Just like male condoms they can be purchased at a reasonable price at supermarkets, drugstores, clinics, or you can go to your local Planned Parenthood and pick them up at no cost.

  Just like every other birth control it has its positives and negatives. Some say it brings more pleasure during intercourse, others say it reduces feeling. Many women like the idea of having responsibility of their own protection; others claim it causes too much irritation. But I believe it’s all about your own personal preference. For more information about the female condom there’s plenty of information on the Planned Parenthood website “plannedparenthood.org”, or you can visit your local Planned Parenthood.

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Okay guys so I am super excited because I just discovered the GACC! But, I can’t seem to apply :'( The page to apply says that is is private. I created an account and it still says the application is private :'( I have a booth on my college campus and I really want to pass these condoms out to my peers!!!

Categories: Condoms
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Here’s a scary fact, since the 1990’s condom use in America has fallen! Even with the advances in condomology, (pretty sure that’s a scientific study.) people are still refusing to wrap up. But why? That magical device helps protect against STD’s, STI’S,HIV and unintended pregnancy’s. Like condoms are the Gandalfs of sexual health. Some people say this is because condoms take away feeling during sex, but this has been proven to be incorrect by The Daily Beast. So what’s their excuse now there isn’t an  excuse to not wear a condom. So please remember to always wrap your Willie.

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I started a sexual health club at my school my freshmen year of college because there wasn’t access to condoms on my campus —  not even a health center to get information. Now, 3 years later, I created a place with access to condoms and information! I was often called the “Condom Lady,” “Condom Queen,” and (my personal favorite) “Condom Fairy” by fellow students. I spent a lot of time emphasizing the importance of condoms and trying to normalize them on campus. I learned to have a variety of condoms that can fit the needs of almost anyone!

The most common kinds of condoms are latex, which is made of rubber, and can be found in any place condoms are sold! You can also go to your local Planned Parenthood or health clinic to pick up free latex condoms. Companies make them in many sizes, textures, colors, and flavors for your enjoyment.

If you are allergic to latex, there are alternatives!

The internal condom (or female condom) can be inserted vaginally or anally. It is made of polyurethane and can be worn hours before sexual intercourse in the vagina. These can be a little harder to find and can cost a bit more. Sometimes you will find health centers giving them out for free.

Companies like Trojan sell lambskin condoms, which are made of sheep intestines can be a little more expensive. These can be found almost anywhere latex condoms are sold.

In more recent years, LifeStyle makes SKYN condoms made of synthetic polyisoprene, a type of synthetic rubber. They claim to be “thinner” and more “natural” feeling than other condoms. They have a standard condom, large, ribbed, extra lubricated. These can also run a little more expensive than latex condoms. Some health centers offer free non-latex condoms.

Looking for something different? There are new types being developed!

In 2013 Origami Condoms were funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a condom that would be more pleasurable than normal condoms in hopes to promote the use of condoms during sex. Instead of unrolling like most condoms, it folds like an accordion, which is suppose to create more sensation during interourse. The two types are the Origami Male Condom and the Origami Internal Condom, both made of a stretchier, more natural alternative material. Some may be available later this year. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also funded a project to create a condom out of the thinnest, strongest material — graphene.

Pro Tip!: Still a little embarrassed about buying condoms or don’t have the cash? Want more variety? Stop by your local Planned Parenthood health center and pick some up for free! Buying condoms online is always an option and some companies give away free samples!

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In honor of Valentine’s Day I did a condom arts and crafts event at my college. Before starting the craft portion, I asked each student to tell me why they think condoms are important, and surprisingly a lot of the students said they didn’t think condoms were important, they weren’t really taught what all condoms do.

I then began to tell them about the organization I’m a part of, Broward County Youth Council and how we work to get medically accurate age appropriate sex education into all Broward County High Schools. From there, they started asking a lot questions like “Does a condom protect you from STI’s?” And “where can I get condoms for free?” Because I was properly taught on this matter, I was able to provide information to everyone’s concerns.

Once the question portion was complete we started the arts and crafts.   Laid out on the tables were condoms still in package, glitter, glue guns, crazy shapes, markers, poster paper, mask, tape, feathers and ribbon.  Everyone was asked to create something out of the supplies provided and it had to incorporate at least two condoms on it. There were so many great pieces done, and I was very happy I was able to educate my peers on a topic that is commonly pushed under the rug because people don’t value the importance.

As a thank you for attending g my workshop/craft event I passed out goodie bags that my organization had previously made.

Being able to pass on knowledge that allows someone to be more conscientious of the decisions they make concerning their sexual health makes me feel really good. From this experience I was given the opportunity to host more events like this at my campus, and I’m very grateful and excited.

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I am a Resident Advisor to about 65 residents at my university. As a youth activist, I can’t help myself but to spread sexual and reproductive health information to my residents. Last week was National Condom Week, and in its honor, I provided both male and female condoms to my residents. My residents came to the program expecting free male condoms and various edible goodies. However, they were also bombarded with a new, unknown-to-them method:

“OH MY GOD! What are those?”

“I stick this WHERE?”

“Why would anyone use those?”

“Wouldn’t this scare a guy away?”

“Who uses those anyways? I’ve never heard of them.”


I’ll admit the first time I ever heard about female condoms I had the same reaction – until I was able to fully understand the power of female condoms. Female condoms are exactly what they sound like they are – but are inserted inside of the vagina (or the rectum). If you’re interested in a visual on how female condoms work, watch this informative video from Planned Parenthood.


As the reactions of my residents suggest, female condoms are not very popular in the United States.  In fact, out of about 50-60 students who stopped by the program, only one knew about female condoms prior to the event – and he was a guy. However, they have proven popular with both men and women all over the globe. In many countries, female condoms have become one of the preferred methods of choice. Their growing popularity in some places have left health departments unable to keep up with demand! There are several reasons why female condoms are a great method and why they have maintained their popularity among those who use them:


#1 – They are the only method that prevent pregnancy, STIs, and HIV/AIDS that a woman can control and initiate herself – and they’re just about as effective as male condoms. Though there is an array of contraceptive methods for women, only male and female condoms can protect against STIs and HIV/AIDS. With male condoms, a woman must depend on a man to agree to use a condom and use it appropriately. With female condoms, a woman can put her health into her own hand and ensure she’s protected from not only pregnancies but STIs and HIV/AIDS as well.


#2 – They are not made with latex, so allergic reactions are not a problem. Unlike the typical male condom, female condoms are made of nitrile, which is non allergenic. Therefore, a woman does not have to worry about herself or her partner having a bad reaction to female condoms.


#3 – They come pre-lubricated. Particularly among women in menopause, vaginal dryness may be an issue that makes sex uncomfortable. Female condoms are lubricated both on the outside and inside, which provide both partners with comfort and pleasure. If more lubricant is required, users of female condoms can opt for either oil- or water-based lubricants.


#4 – Many men do not enjoy wearing male condoms. Female condoms can allow men to forgo wearing condoms while also receiving pleasure from the design of female condoms, particularly from the rings on either end. In addition, male condoms require a man to be erect before putting it on, which can interrupt the heat of the moment. Female condoms can be put in before any sexual activity even begins – up to 8 hours before!


#5 – They empower women. Due to the very nature of inserting female condoms, women must become comfortable with their bodies and understand their anatomy. In addition, commercial sex workers do not have to worry about the possibility of a client refusing to use condoms; she can take her health into her own hand and discreetly use a female condom. Finally, HIV/AIDS is affecting more women than ever – 60% of all new diagnoses in sub-Saharan Africa are women.  Therefore women deserve access to a reliable, effective method that is made especially for them.


Though countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, and Zimbabwe have been effective in promoting the use of female condoms, other countries haven’t been as successful or do not promote them as heavily. To increase the awareness and use of this relatively new and exciting barrier method, we must:

  1. Advocate for the sale and/or placement of female condoms wherever male condoms are available.
  2. Work with manufacturers, private donors, and government ministries of health to make female condoms more affordable.
  3. Include men in the discussion so that they have the the information necessary to have candid conversations about female condoms with their sexual partners.
  4. Educate woman on female condoms in schools, places of worship, hair salons, etc.


To learn more about female condoms, visit femalecondom.org

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I am a GACC Safesite at Grove City College in PA, and I am beginning to realize how hard it is going to be to reach out to students on a christian campus. GCC has some very select rules regarding condoms: Any students found in possession of obscene paraphernalia may have it confiscated  immediately. There is also an old rumor that you can be fined for having condoms on campus.

These rules make being a Safesite very difficult. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for ways to distribute condoms without causing trouble?

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In honor of National Condom Week, we will be going over the basics of how to use a condom (step-by-step found on aboutrelationships.com):

  1. Check the expiration date on the condom.
    If you have a condom without an expiration date, do not use it.
  2. Carefully open the package.
    Watch out for your teeth, sharp nails, rings, or anything you might have on your hands that could damage the condom.
  3. Which side is up?
    Most condoms only roll on the penis one way. Make sure the resevoir tip (the little pointy hat part) is facing away from your penis before you put it on the tip of the penis
  4. Put the rolled-up condom over the tip of your penis.
    You should be able to see or feel the tip, and that there is space for the semen to collect.
  5. Pinch the air out of the tip of the condom.
    Doing this decreases the chances that the condom will break or burst off when you ejaculate.
  6. If you can use both your hands, use them.
    With one hand holding onto the condom at the head of your penis, use your other hand to unroll the condom all the way to the base of the penis. Make sure it is rolled all the way down the shaft.
  7. Have sex!
  8. Hold on before you pull out.
    After ejaculation you should hold onto the condom at the base of your penis as you pull it out, to make sure it doesn’’t slip off.
  9. Be considerate, clean up well.
    Tie a knot in the condom so none of the contents spills out.

All information was found at: http://sexuality.about.com/od/contraception/ht/putoncondom.htm

Categories: Condoms
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This past fall in Mississippi, the MYCouncil members did condom surveys across the state in our local communities. We went into stores to fill out surveys on signs, placement, and product variety. We also recorded reactions from workers when asked the question, “Can you please tell me where the condoms are?” We got varying personal results from these surveys, and these are accounts from each member.



While doing the condom surveys, I kind of came to a realization on why it’s hard for teens, and everyone in general, to buy condoms. In major stores and gas stations, a lot of condoms were behind the counter and you had to ask for them. For some, that’s a daunting task. Personally, I completely understand why. When I asked where the condoms were, I saw one of my fellow shoppers kind of look at me strange. Also, while I performed some surveys, the associates weren’t really helpful. They just pointed me in the direction and I was alone and surrounded by a sea of condoms. I was lost. Speaking for myself, I noticed how expensive condoms were. I started to see why people didn’t go buy them, as crazy as that sounds. These condom surveys were an adventure in themselves. It put things into perspective for me and helped me think of ways to help my peers.


When I first found out about having to do condom surveys, I was really excited. I did not think I would encounter any real negativity; no more than the usual odd glance one gets when perusing condoms in a store. And for the most part, I did not encounter any negativity whatsoever in my hometown of Hattiesburg. Maybe this is because Hattiesburg is a college town, and a young person shopping for condoms is the norm. But whatever the reason, it did not prepare me for stepping outside the comfort of my larger city into the critical eye of a pharmacy technician in a Fred’s in Collins, Mississippi. I did not know what to expect, so I had a friend ride along with me to wait in the car as I did my condom survey. It was night, so I was not really expecting to speak to anyone, but as I circled the aisles looking for any sort of contraceptives, the pharmacy tech decided he was going to see if I needed any assistance. I asked him if he knew where the condoms were, and he made a comment about how I did not appear old enough, and then proceeded to ask me my age. I refused to tell him my age, and he refused to assist me. As a twenty-one year old, I am accustomed to having to verify my age for almost everything, but I should not have to verify my age to buy condoms.


My experience completing the condom surveys have been interesting. Although nobody has been mean or aggressive towards me I am disturbed by the lack of contraceptives available to teens who wish to protect themselves. Large brand name pharmacy stores like Fred’s don’t offer protection of any kind, even though less than three miles from a high school. The stores that do carry contraceptives in my community more often than not are gas stations. Our Mississippi communities need to share more interest in the well-being of its teens and future generations.


Why do adults stare when you go to the condom section? Why are the older workers friendly and smiling until you ask the question, “Can you tell me where the condoms are located?” Boom. A big bomb has just been dropped. Doing the condom survey I always felt like adults were looking at me. They were not eyes of helpfulness but eyes of curiosity and judgment. Although I was not buying any condoms, I still felt awkward just being down the same aisle as the condoms.


My experience with the condom surveys was actually different from what I had expected it to be. I originally thought that the experience would be more on the negative side due to me being a teenager in a small town, but people surprisingly minded to their own business. Even the employees were friendly or at least didn’t have a negative reaction. When I went to the local Wal-Mart in McComb, the employee there was super friendly, using a down-to-earth Southern accent with a smile. A friend of mine who helped me do the surveys also received a positive reaction and little-to-no trouble at our local CVS. Needless to say, the experience was positive in all aspects.

Sarah S.

While going to all of these different stores looking to see how accessible condoms are, I felt one word: shame. Let me make this clear, the project itself was not shameful, I felt empowered actually, but the looks and stares and the “you’re way too young for this, I hope you’re not looking at what I think you’re looking at” comments reduced that empowering feeling and lowered it to much, much shame. I think more young people would actually buy contraceptives if our adults wouldn’t be so harsh and judge us greatly. We ultimately would buy condoms because we do in fact want to be safe but the shame overall will hold many people back from doing such a thing.

Sarah D.

Altogether my experience doing condom surveys was positive. Many of the store workers were wary, but polite when I asked, “Can you please tell me where the condoms are located?” The stores had several different types of contraceptives. Sometimes they were tucked a little out of the way, or even right in front of the pharmacy! Condoms appear to be readily available in Brookhaven.


Shopping for contraceptives in Mississippi is definitely a mixed experience. While most vendors have condoms of some form, they are frequently hidden from view behind checkout counters and locked cases. For me, this was all just information to be cataloged. Over the course of these surveys, however, I became distinctly aware of how embarrassing it would be to be in need of condoms and have to go through the embarrassment of asking for them. Fortunately, this was not the case at all vendors. For those that displayed them openly, they were often displayed next to feminine hygiene products, indicating to me that these vendors view contraceptive buying as a woman’s responsibility.


Some owners of stores knew they would be talking to me about the condom surveys, but the ones that I didn’t warn were my favorite interviews. My overall thought of doing the surveys was positive. Although some employees thought I was joking about doing surveys on condoms, most of their responses were positive. I wasn’t nervous while completing the surveys until I got laughed at by an employee. Another employee even told me to never call her store again. Out of all the surveys I completed, I realized that in Sunflower County most of the stores sell condoms, but they are very pricey.

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Imagine you are walking into a store in your town. How comfortable are you purchasing condoms? Many teens would feel awkward or uncomfortable making that purchase. Our MYCouncil members have been doing surveys for the past few months in stores in our own local communities relating to purchasing condoms. The reactions we have been collectively seeing have been shameful. These reactions make us wonder if other teens in Mississippi receive the same judgmental words and glances from adults. We want to inform young persons that they have a right to purchase condoms in stores and should do so without feeling shamed or embarrassed by adults.


The MYCouncil members have been across the state surveying the sale and accessibility of condoms to young persons.  Sending in data and personal stories, we all could not help notice how all of us had experienced some form of shame or embarrassment when asking for or looking at the condoms. When you walked up to a store employee they, as usual, were eager to help and answer any questions you had, but when asked “Can you tell me where the condoms are?” they made strange looks and made you doubt if you were suppose to ask such a thing. One of our members, after asking the worker where the condoms were, was asked her age because the worker believed she was not old enough to be acquiring condoms. Many stores in our communities had condoms behind the counter, forcing young people to ask for the clerk to retrieve a box. This display method instantly made things awkward for the teen wanting to purchase this method of protection. When the condoms were in the aisles, we received judgemental looks from adults at numerous locations. The question here is, how are teens suppose to protect themselves and their health when they are made to feel awkward and out of place when seeking protection? The shame and embarrassment we teens feel when buying condoms is holding many of us back from being safe.


Understanding that as teens we have the right to purchase condoms can be hard when all the shame we get from adults makes us think otherwise. As teens we get put in many awkward situations, and normally we try to avoid them. A study given in Washington, DC, showed that condoms were behind the counter in 83 percent of all convenience stores and 15 percent of drug stores. We saw the same placement of condoms here in Mississippi.  Having these condoms behind a big counter, forcing us to uncomfortably ask the clerk to retrieve what we want to purchase, is not a situation any teen wants to be in. For the first time many teens, when wanting to purchase condoms, go into stores not knowing where such items would be located. In the same study in Washington, only 33 percent of stores had signs clearly marking where the contraceptives were located. Once again, when surveying the stores we entered, we could not clearly see signs for the location of contraceptives. When teens feel out of place or lost, we often just opt out of the situation and leave. That is a scary concept when the healthiest thing to do is to not leave the store without purchasing proper protection. These particular examples are more shameful situations teens must face when purchasing contraceptives.

So many incidents have occurred showing the judgment adults place on teens in our communities when we want to purchase condoms. We want teens to know that they do have the right to purchase condoms in stores without having to feel ashamed or embarrassed. So, as young people, take a rightful stand next time you go in a store to purchase condoms and do not allow the ridiculing of adults stop you from making healthy decisions for yourself.

Categories: Condoms
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So I asked my twin brother what he wanted for Christmas. He was undecided so joking around I told him I was going to buy him condoms because the world don’t need little hims running around. So agreed and said “If you get that I will love you forever. The first time went purchase condoms the people looked at me like I was disgusting and I felt uncomfortable.” So I was confused as to why he feel uncomfortable if he practicing safe sex. Now he won’t even step foot in CVS because he feel the people will make fun of him. So basically my point is Teens should feel comfortable buying condoms. Someone should come up with techniques to help us teens feel comfortable buying condoms.

Categories: Condoms
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On December 1, each year the World AIDS day is observed to commemorate the 36 million lives claimed by HIV/AIDS across the world; it also highlights that in the fight against HIV there is urgent work that still needs to be done. It has been more than three decades since scientists identified the HIV virus which causes AIDS and the cure for it still evades the doctors. Leading researchers from Australia, Italy and the United States have said that considerable work still needs to be done before they can find a cure for HIV.[i]

The transmission of the HIV virus is tied to specific high-risk behaviors and has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation. It is not uncommon for people to blame gender non-conforming people for increased prevalence rates of HIV in society, but the real culprit is the legalized homophobia  and bigotry which drive them underground. The oppressed are always blamed for their problems by the oppressors. Societal norms, dominant cultural practices and religious beliefs are responsible for driving sexual minority groups underground due to which they are marginalized from HIV/AIDS related prevention efforts and have limited or no access to such programs. Because of this they are at a bigger risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS. No logical person would willingly want to contract HIV and gender non-conforming people are no different. Numerous research studies have proved that reduced stigma and discrimination always leads to a reduction in the infection rates.[ii]

In Pakistan, an estimated 130,000 people are living with HIV.[iii] But this number could be much higher as a lot of people in the country do not have access to screening services and are probably living in ignorance of their HIV status. According to the UNAIDS website for Pakistan adults aged 15 and above are at an increased risk of getting the virus, and in 2013 there were 4000 reported cases of deaths due to AIDS. A report published by the UN last year highlighted that new cases of HIV were on a rise in Pakistan.[iv] Most of the prevention efforts and Public AIDS control programs in the country are targeted at the sex workers in the country and have yet to include the general population who if not more than are at the same level of risk as the sex workers. The HIV/AIDS national surveys and public prevention programs do not include men who have sex with men and transgender people who are universally acknowledged as two high risk populations. And without including the key affected populations into their prevention efforts the national and provincial AIDS control programs cannot halt the spread of HIV in Pakistan.

Extraordinary advances in the field of medicine have made it possible for HIV-positive people to live long and lead healthy lives. But in the absence of a cure each year tens of thousands of new infections occur. Since 2011, the international efforts to highlight HIV/AIDS awareness have been focused on achieving the common goal of, “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination.” [v] But less than adequate funding for HIV programs, ideological restrictions on research efforts, improper prevention techniques and endless stigma and discrimination have proved to be major roadblocks in the achievement of Getting to Zero. A majority of the world’s population exposed to the HIV virus continues to live in either ignorance or shame about their HIV status. Only through leading by example can we improve the lives of those living with HIV. We can get tested to learn our HIV status and show care and support towards those who have already been tested positive.  Together, we can slow the spread of HIV and better care for those affected by it.

[i] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29460198

[ii] http://caps.ucsf.edu/archives/factsheets/stigma

[iii] http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/pakistan

[iv] http://www.dawn.com/news/1059723

[v] http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/world-aids-day/world-aids-day-2011/6

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Sex ans sexual acts are filled with various myths which has been giving some scary and untrue message to the world.this has been responsible for sex related fear and perceptions of the people around the globe. Though myths changes with the place we dwell but each and every part of the world has one or the other myths associated with following.
1. You can tell by looking if you or someone else has an STD / I would know if I had an STD.
2. If I needed to get tested for STDs, my doctor would test me.
3. If I get an STD, including HIV, there’s nothing I can do about it.
4. If he pulls out, I won’t get pregnant or an STD.
5. STD testing is for cheaters & players.
6. Sex in a hot tub / sex standing up / jumping up and down /douching after sex… will prevent STDs, including HIV, and/or pregnancy.
7. Two condoms are better than one.
8.There’s a cure for HIV/AIDS.
9. Oral sex and anal sex are “safe” sex–or not sex at all.
10. If I use birth control, I don’t need to worry about STDs.

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Applications to become a Great American Condom Campaign Fall Semester SafeSite are now open!

GACCThe 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 SafeSites, individual condom distribution points, 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.

In the past academic year, 2,600 SafeSites distributed more than 1,300,000 condoms to students on 1,234 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 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 Fall Semester SafeSite are open through August 15th, 2014. It only takes 10 minutes to fill out an application, so start now!

Do it for your country.

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The Supreme Court’s buffer zone decision has the potential to have adverse affects on the sexual health of youth. American youth already have higher rates of unintended pregnancies-despite the latest decline in rates, growing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and receive misinformation about sexual health all the time (read abstinence only sex education in public schools). 

By not upholding the buffer zones outside of abortion clinics the Supreme Court just unanimously put youth in America at greater sexual health risk. 

The first time I went to a clinic for sexual health information and services was after I had my daughter. I was 16 or so and went to the only place I had hear about, Planned Parenthood. Thankfully I did not encounter protestors however, some of my friends had; they commented that they were afraid to go inside the clinic because of the angry mob outside so they left. 

While they were not there for abortion services the anti choice crowd outside caused so much fear to them that they did not go inside and speak to a sexual health professional about safer sex, free condoms, and or HIV and STI testing. 

They left. 
They knew of no where else to go and unfortunately one of their first attempts to make well informed sexual health decision for themselves was ruined by ill informed, intimidating, and aggressive anti-choicers. While they think they are “stopping” abortions from happening, they are actually stopping youth from making sexual health decisions and establishing healthy and responsible sexual health practices early on in life. 

The Supreme Court let us all down but youth just might be the most vulnerable population to feel and deal with the adverse effects this decision can have on our health.

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Bill O’Reilly believes that Beyonce does not deserve to be on the cover of Time magazine because she causes young women in the black community to have unintended pregnancies…. Seriously, he said that.

As a young black Latina who had her daughter at 15, I don’t even know where to start with his ridiculous claim. I can however promise you that Beyonce and her music were the LAST things that led to my being pregnant at 15 years old. Terrible sexual health education classes in my conservative southern school; poverty; lack of access to  affordable  birth control options; and low self esteem are a few of the things that led to my unintended teenage pregnancy –  but certainly not Beyonce.

While O’Reilly is making ridiculous claims about the black americans and unintended pregnancies being attributable to a very married, committed, and self employed black women, Beyonce, I wonder when he will address the lack ofcomprehensive sex education being taught in public and private schools across America? When will he address the fact that low wages keep many parents out of the home for hours on in, working for wages so low that they can barely afford to pay the rent  – let alone spend real and quality time with their children? I wonder when/ if he will take a look at policies in place that keep access to affordable birth control options to all persons, free of coercion, an option?

It simply doesn’t work or add up to be anti- birth control, anti livable wages, anti Beyonce and paint yourself as the voice of reason for a group of people you know very little about.

This decline seems to coincidentally line up with that fact that Beyonce’s first single album was released in 2003, and since then teenage pregnancy rates have continued to drop.

 If we want to play the game of false equivalencies and correlation being causation, I will take a note out of the Brookings Institute “findings” and say that it is not the show Teen Mom but is in fact Beyonce and her jezebel music you speak of that have led to the decrease in teenage pregnancy.

There you have it folks, Beyonce is the cause of the decline in unintended pregnancies. (see how ridiculous that sounds?)

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Prom season is in full swing! Students across the country are reserving limos, renting tuxes, and posing for those classically awkward photos for their parents. But while we’re enjoying the glamour, let’s not forget safety! It’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #promswag!

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

abstinence #promswag
condoms #promswag
condoms #promswag
patch #promswag
pill #promswag

Show your love for contraception methods, while getting your prom glam on.

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

Keep calm, and Prom on.

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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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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.




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,



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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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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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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. 


@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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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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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:


  • 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.

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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?
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?
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.


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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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sex ed

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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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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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

Categories: Condoms