Category > Contraceptive Access
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Dec 7, 2013
This week I had the opportunity to conduct an educational training on pregnancy prevention for local high school students in my community. The teen summit had over 400 students in attendance. I co-facilitated the presentation with an educator from Planned Parenthood. I was extremely nervous at the first session while I presented. A million thoughts went through my head; were they listening, was I saying it right, did they understand, etc. This was my first experience at peer educating so I wanted to be perfect. There were three sessions in total. By the second session I felt more relaxed and comfortable. It was a great feeling to see the students interact and yearn for more information. I felt accomplished when a few students stayed after the presentation to ask more questions. This experience has shown me that peer education is something I’d like to continue doing.
Dec 5, 2013
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.
Dec 4, 2013
via RH Reality Check
Nov 29, 2013
Nov 27, 2013
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%. 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.
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, 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
 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.
 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.
 Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and D.C.
Nov 13, 2013
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.
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.”
Nov 8, 2013
My favorite time of the year is Autumn- hence my love for all things Halloween! As the Events Coordinator for an LGBTQA Youth Organization in South Florida, my largest gratification comes when I produce a fabulous and successful event.
Two weeks ago was our annual LGBTQA-Inclusive Halloween Dance with the theme of “Voodoo in the Bayou” – stemming from my obsession with being a Southern Belle and the legendary, magical city of New Orleans. The decorations for the evening consisted of grand and elaborate foliage, life-size skeletons and even a Royal Jester greeting guests at the door.
The event was hosted by the grand diva, Miss Andii Viveros- of course. The evening consisted of an AWESOME D.J., endless food and performances to LIVE for! Whenever you have 75+ LGBTQA youth in attendance, two things are a must: #1- Great Food and #2- An endless supply of condoms!
Around the room, there were tables with food, beverages and desserts. There were also seperate tables dedicated to just buckets filled with candy and cauldrons filled to the top with all types of contraception! There were condoms of all varieties, female condoms, dental dams, flavored condoms and lubricant!
It was a memorable evening had by all- from a Beyonce performance by professional dancers, to a sickening Toni Braxton ballad executed by Miss Andii. At the end of the evening, all youth who attended the dance received a goody bag to take home filled with candy, condoms, lubrication and information for our local sex-ed text line and other youth support services!
Being involved the Broward County Youth C0uncil and Advocates for Youth has made me open my eyes to all of the opportunities there are for outreach to be made in regards to contraceptive access and sex-ed information to be provided!
Nov 6, 2013
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.
Nov 1, 2013
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.
Oct 31, 2013
Oct 27, 2013
I made a quick list of films about abortion and reproductive/sexual justice issues and posted it on STFU, Pro-Lifers.
Oct 11, 2013
Malala Yousafzai, along with her father, are education activists in Pakistan striving to end educational inequality despite the institutional oppressions put in place. When the story of Malala’s assassination attempt by the Taliban made news about a year ago, this was the next the shot heard around the world. Hundreds of journalists and bloggers wrote about her involvement in girl’s education and the role of the Taliban. Fundraisers and sponsorships emerged for South Asian education development for girls, making this a prime example of consumer capitalism on a structural issue of educational inequality in Pakistan (1). Fortunately, this girl survived and made a steady recovery. She has wowed the world with her resilience, and for that, I am honored, especially from the lens of another South Asian Muslim woman.
However, her success doesn’t come with scrutiny. I’m not surprised that she gained so much fame as a result of a vicious attack by Pakistani Muslim extremist men. I’m no stranger to the way the media covered the story and perceptions of Pakistani Muslim men in general, and nothing will be the same post 9/11 for Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Muslim (AMEMSA) men (2). They are always deemed as “barbaric, savage, and backwards,” words frequently used to describe them and other men of color and the atrocities they do without a mention of the harm inflicted on women of color bodies by white men via imperialism, colonialism, and sexual violence (3, 4).
Yet, my hope for Malala is that the Western gaze will not impede her goals with their “peaceful” interventions or continue to deem the Global South as a hindrance to gender equality. I hope she can overcome the oppressions instilled in these countries by the Western world and current policies affecting women of color bodies (3, 5). As Malala said on the Today Show with Jon Stewart, “we don’t understand the importance of anything unless it’s snatched from our hands.” (6) Now is the time to understand the complexities of social oppression and its influences on the security of women of color everywhere.
Oct 11, 2013
Hi everyone! This is a brief post, just with a question (or two) for my fellow Ohioans.
1.) How old does one need to be to have a birth control implant from Planned Parenthood?
2.) Are schools legally able to provide condoms or emergency contraceptives?
Oct 7, 2013
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.
Sep 25, 2013
Sep 4, 2013
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.
Sep 1, 2013
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?
Aug 30, 2013
Aug 23, 2013
Aug 19, 2013
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.
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?
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!
Are 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
Jul 31, 2013
After over a decade of pointless restrictions and politics taking priority over science, emergency contraception (EC) is finally on store shelves where it belongs! Regardless of age, anyone can now buy Plan B One-Step® as easily as they stock up on ibuprofen—no need to show identification or get a pharmacist involved. This is especially important for young people, who no longer need to get prescriptions or show ID they may not have. At last, we’re trusted to make responsible decisions about our bodies and lives.
Want to join in on the celebration? There’s a fun and simple way to show your support—here’s how:
1. Go to rhtp.org/ECotcGraphic.asp and print out a Healthcare in Your Hands graphic. Fill in your name and location.
2. Take a trip to your local pharmacy and find EC in the family planning aisle, near the condoms and pregnancy tests.
3. Either pose for a picture with your graphic and EC in the store or buy some and take your picture at home. (Remember, EC is always good to have around!)
4. Submit your picture to ecotc.tumblr.com/submit and tell us about your experience finding EC or why you’re excited that it’s finally on store shelves.
It’s that easy to join the party and show how many people can finally take their healthcare into their own hands! Check out ecotc.tumblr.com for more helpful information about the new rules for purchasing generic emergency contraception and what to do if a pharmacist denies you access.
Jul 31, 2013
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.
Jul 23, 2013
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
- Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development,
- Families, Sexual and Reproductive Health over the Life Course,
- 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:
- “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development”,
- “Reducing Inequities, Fostering Social Inclusion” and
- “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.
Jul 22, 2013
Jul 22, 2013
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.
Jul 22, 2013
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!
Jul 19, 2013
Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.
- 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.
Jul 19, 2013
Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.
- 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.
Jul 15, 2013
Flea markets are a one-stop place where people can get every-day necessities, often at a low price or second-hand. Among clothing, food, and furniture a Texas women can also find pills that induce miscarriage, an evocative sign of the role of family planning in everyday life. The pills, known by their brand name, Cytotec, were designed to prevent stomach ulcers, but are being taken without a prescription by many Texan women and causing complications such as extended bleeding and incomplete abortions.
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a region along the southeastern border of Mexico, these pills are reportedly popular. One of the states and nation’s most low-income areas, women of the Valley have already had difficulty accessing reproductive health care after the state cut funding for birth control in 2011.
HB 2, the Texas abortion bill that is awaiting Governor Rick Perry’s signature will further restrict access to family planning and reproductive health clinics across the state. Unless clinics meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical center standards within a year, these locations will be forced to close, pushing women to seek risky alternatives. The two clinics currently in the Lower Rio Grande Valley do not meet the requirement of the bill. If these centers close down, women will have to travel hours across that state to receive care and will have additional costs such as transportation, hotel, food, missed work, and childcare.
Erlinda Dasquez, a 29 year-old mother of four who has used the pills, sees the widespread desire for these pills an economic issue. She described how for $40 she received four pills, a sum much less than the $550 pharmaceutical abortion cost at the closest legal provider. Many women and families like Dasquez seek illegal and unsafe forms of abortion due to the staggering costs of abortion which are typically not covered or subsidized by insurance companies or the state. Many undocumented women are also taking Cytotec and similar drugs. These women cannot utilize traditional health care outlets for fear of being reported.
The clinics that are being threatened do not solely provide abortion services. Many of these facilities are a source of free or inexpensive birth control for families, a valuable resource. Without assistance, many low-income people cannot justify paying the amount for contraceptives among other economic priorities. When interviewed, Alma Saldana said, “If I had $100 to pay for birth control or pay the bill for lights, I’d pay the lights”. Saldana stopped taking birth control after two nearby clinics closed and the remaining clinic charged more than she could afford.
Jul 12, 2013
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.
Jul 8, 2013
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.
Jun 29, 2013
The South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign is now accepting applications for youth and young adults (ages 16-29) to serve as Youth Activists working on sexual and reproductive health issues in the Greenville area!
We seek to create a team of highly qualified and motivated youth and young adults to work with us on our New Media Campaign program.
Please pass this information and application on to all youth and young adults who would be great advocates for sexual and reproductive health, and most qualified for the job. And please share and post the flyer – get it here in black and white or here in color.
Thank you for your interest/assistance in the recruitment process. And remember, space is limited so apply quickly!
Program Associate, South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign
Jun 29, 2013
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.
Jun 26, 2013
I came across an interesting article; Parents of Teen Girls More Accepting of Birth Control Pills Than Other Contraceptive Methods, Study Finds. A study was conducted at UC San Francisco and the researchers asked parents if they were ok with their teen’s doctor providing various methods of contraceptives upon finding out that they are sexually active. The results were staggering. Birth control pills came in first, followed closely by condoms. However, ranked at the end of the list of contraceptive methods, came implants and IUDs (the MOST effective contraception). Interestingly as well, results even found that parents who regularly attended religious services had a lower acceptance of emergency contraception. Even though there is a little ray of hope due to the fact that the parents didn’t shut down the whole list of contraceptive options, results from this study still show that more education needs to take place. I tried to wrap my mind around why parents wouldn’t even highly favor condom usage, -due to it being less invasive- and after remembering conversations I had with my mom, it started to make perfect sense. Now all these theories are subjective, but since they coincide with results, maybe some of you guys can relate.
Parents do not like the idea of their child having sex. This shouldn’t come as a shocker, but it’s a great foundation statement to gain some understanding. If parents don’t like the idea of their child having sex then they won’t approve of condoms, injectable contraception, emergency contraception, patches, and most definitely implants or IUDs. The reason birth control pills manage to get a pass is because it allows for an ignorance-is-bliss mind frame. “Oh my daughter isn’t having sex, she takes the pill to regulate her periods.” The last little additional piece of the results that talked about parents with high religiosity and the correlation to emergency contraceptive was interesting.. For some strange reason emergency contraceptive is often mistaken as a form of abortion. Abortion is very taboo among a lot of religious communities.
Upon viewing all of this the results make sense, but it’s disheartening. Parents are missing out on playing a pivotal role in helping their daughters hone their autonomy with their sexual health. Not only would it build a closer relationship but the teen would be able to make better decisions in the future about what’s best for them concerning their health. Parents need to realize that they would not be condoning promiscuity if their teen uses various methods of contraception. They would be simply helping their teen transition better to adulthood. Education is not solely for youth, there is a wealth of information for parents to know as well. For more information on parent communication when it comes to sexual health, you can visit www.advocatesforyouth.org.
Jun 21, 2013
“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.”
Jun 19, 2013
May is observed throughout the nation as many things but one of the most important things that is observed in May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Teen pregnancy is a big problem in the US as we have some of the highest rates in the world among our peer nations. This is for a variety of reasons including a societal taboo in discussing sex among teens, a de-emphasis on healthy relationships being portrayed in media and an insistence on keeping abstinence only sex education in our schools. I also think that not starting sex education early enough contributes. If I had a magic wand, I would make all these reasons go away, but I cannot. All we can do is work to change society’s minds to further improve the health of our teens.
In the meanwhile, it becomes important during the month of May that raise awareness to practice safe sex!
To raise awareness on safe sex practice, here are a few tips:
- Do your research on birth control options and decide on the best choice for you
- Don’t have sex with a partner who doesn’t respect your right to request the use of condoms or other birth control methods,
- Look out for friends who may be unaware of the risks involved in certain actions
South Carolina still has some of the highest teen birth rates in the country, and we have the ability to change this! For more information on pregnancy in SC, visit www.southcarolinasafersex.org!
Jun 19, 2013
I have spoken with people about the various birth control options that are available, as well as discussed reasons for not using a method, and some of the reasons I heard for not using a birth control option has really just been myths regarding their possible side effects. There will be side effects for any type of medication we use, but just because a side effect is listed on the medication DOES NOT mean that that side effect will occur for you.
It is important to do research of a method you may be interested in and weigh all of the pros and cons. Even if one method does not work, try another one and SWITCH IT UP! There is nothing against or wrong with trying more than one method to find one that works for you. It is also important to switch it up if need be, especially because one method that works horribly for “Suzie” may work perfect for you and vice versa. Ask around to get personal experiences, but don’t limit your options based on that or other myths you have heard. Check in with your health care provider if you are thinking about “switchin’ it up!” And remember, SAFE SEX is the BEST SEX and you should always be protected!
For more information on your birth control options and to find a healthcare provider in your area, text SEXT to 74574!
Jun 18, 2013
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.
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.
Jun 11, 2013
On Monday, June 10, the Justice Department announced it would no longer pursue attempts to block over-the-counter availability for Plan B One-Step and generic one-pill emergency contraceptives.
The Justice Department invited Teva, the maker of Plan B, to submit an application for over-the-counter status, and said it would approve the application “promptly” (though we do not know when the product will actually move to pharmacy shelves).
This is a great step forward for helping young women prevent teen pregnancy. Once emergency contraception has been cleared for over-the-counter status, young women of all ages who have experienced contraceptive failure, or been sexually assaulted, can simply buy it from drugstore shelves – without the age and ID restrictions that disproportionately affect young people of color, those who are undocumented, and those of lower socioeconomic status.
Research has shown that young women can use Plan B safely. Advocates for Youth welcomes the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case and take politics out of decisions about health and safety.
May 31, 2013
I used to consider myself “transiently pro-choice,” mainly because I didn’t know enough about the issue to restrict anyone’s rights, but I certainly wasn’t comfortable with abortion.
Then things started to change as I came to college and, through my studies, came to some startling realizations about women’s health.
I felt that way before I developed a greater understanding of healthcare in America, particularly the fact that millions are uninsured and underinsured. Not only that, but also that it is easier in this country to get insurance for Viagra than for birth control.
It was before I understood sex and how much easier it is to be sexually irresponsible than responsible. It is not easy to take one pill at the same time every day, especially when your insurance plan does not cover contraceptives. I was “transiently pro-choice” before I had ever taken Plan B, placed that second pill on my tongue and realized that to some I was now a “murderer.”
Most importantly, it was before I understood the meaning of choice. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” If Dumbledore said it, then it must be true. However, there are no identical choices, and not everyone has the same opportunities or resources, not everyone has bootstraps or even boots with which to pull themselves up.
But most of all, it was before I delved into the field of Global Health.
Internationally, 222 million women have an unmet need for family planning. For those who pretend that statistics about women’s issues are in some way fabricated or exaggerated, women with an “unmet need” are those who are sexually active, and are not using any method of contraception, but either do not want to become pregnant or want to delay their next pregnancy.
Over 40 million women have abortions annually. 40 million. And nearly half of them are unsafe. 47,000 women die from complications due to unsafe abortion every year. 47,000. Not to mention the 8.5 million others who suffer serious medical complications from unsafe abortions. 13 percent of maternal deaths are attributable to unsafe abortions. Women drink turpentine or bleach, insert haphazard herbal mixtures into their vaginas, penetrate themselves with hangers or chicken bones, and jump from roofs or fling themselves down stairs because they don’t have access to abortion services.
This is what is known as a preventable cause of death. This is on us. We can’t ascribe these deaths to the long Latin names of communicable diseases. These women do not die of natural causes. These women die because of us, namely bad governance and worse laws. These women die because lawmakers ignore science and statistics, and they ignore history. Policymakers are more concerned with the life of a fetus than the life of its mother.
These policies cannot be categorized as “third world problems.” Less than two weeks after Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) claimed that in abortion “there is no such exception as life of the mother [...] with advances in science and technology,” Savita Halappanavar became a martyr to the cause, dying because despite pregnancy complications and her inevitable miscarriage, she was denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital.
Criminalizing abortion is not a tradeoff. Save some fetuses, lose some women; there are no winners. Rather than decreasing abortion rates, it merely decreases the proportion that are performed in a safe, sanitary manner. Western European countries, home to some of the most liberal abortion laws, have the lowest abortion rates globally, with an estimated 12 per 1,000 women of childbearing age annually. Whereas regions with highly restrictive abortion laws have rates two to three times that, at 29 per 1,000 and 32 per 1,000 in Africa and Latin America, respectively.
How one can call oneself “pro-life” while striving to criminalize abortion is one of the greatest health paradoxes known to humankind. If pro-lifers want to save lives they should take a leaf out of South Africa’s book. The country has the lowest abortion rates in the continent due to the liberalization of its laws in 1997, which led to a decrease in abortion-related deaths by 91 percent in the first five years.
Another way to save lives is to financially support mothers and women of childbearing age, which decreases abortion rates even in developed countries.
However, the most direct way to prevent abortion-related deaths, both those of the mothers and those of the fetuses, is to make modern contraceptive methods affordable and accessible. Approximately 80 percent of unintended pregnancies in developing countries can be attributed to unmet need for contraceptives. Even here, we have much to gain from improving access to contraceptives. A recent study performed in St. Louis, surveying over 9,000 women, showed that providing a variety of free contraceptives decreased teen pregnancy rates from 34 to 6.3 per 1,000 women, and abortion rates dropped from between 13.4-17 to between 4.4-7.5 per 1,000 women.
Contraceptives, not restrictive abortion laws, save lives.
May 28, 2013
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.
May 27, 2013
May 18, 2013
I strictly assumed that by this time period humans would not be arguing over equality, inclusion, and sexual health. Apparently, some Americans don’t want their children learning about “the gays”, “the lesbians”, “the immigrants” or “cultures.” Some are even outraged because “white heterosexuals” are “no longer represented.” These are authentic words spoken from citizens present in the committee for HB 1081 or “The Sex Ed Bill”, on Thursday February 7th. I went into committee humming “I’m just a Bill” to ease the nerves, because I had no idea what to expect for my first committee hearing. I was not prepared to speak, but after listening to the opposition’s arguments that were no more than racist and discriminative, I wanted my voice heard. I was “the gay” that they rejected, and the “immigrant” that disgusted them, and the “culture” that they were opposed too.
My turn came to speak. Hesitant I got up from my chair, stepped slow and cautious to the stand while I felt judgment from the many eyes in the room. I thought repeatedly in my head what I wanted to say, but as soon as my mouth said the first word, everything seemed to vanish from my brain. What was a high school student to say? Hell, why was he even here? I sat down. My voice shook as I said my name, but I remembered the woman who didn’t want “the gays” and the “immigrants” in her white heterosexual culture and said “I am here representing the Latino community who cannot be here today because they do not speak English, or have the resources to be here.” Yes, I said Latino with an accent because in that very moment, I had never been more proud to be a person of color. I then stated “I would like to begin by saying that I identify as gay.” Never had a said “I identify as gay” openly, in public. I knew however that this was the time to truly express myself as an advocate.
I testified for HB 1081 in a way I never thought I would. I not only came out to the 12 legislators in the room, but I came out to the priest in the back who probably damned me to hell ten times over, the woman who drove from Colorado Springs to attack communities I am a part of, and the many allies in that room which gave me the boost of confidence I much needed. I didn’t have a clear understanding of why I do the work I do. I knew I had a passion for the education of individuals, the equality of humans, and empowerment of the mind, but it took that one woman saying “the gays” and “the immigrants” to accurately put this into perspective. Not only was I advocating for Comprehensive Sexual Health Education, but I was making a stand for everything that is included in Comp Sex Ed; The inclusion of culture, ability, gender, age, sexual orientation, size, and ethnicity. Comprehensive Sexual Health addresses the respect for others and respect for yourself, which is why I was able to testify, and confront the opposition: Learning about my body, my actions and reactions, and my rights as a young person has allowed me to gain self assurance and confidence. The experience of testifying for committee was electrifying, intimidating, but mostly rewarding and reflective, and I can only hope that I was remembered among the citizens who don’t want the “the gays”, “the lesbians”, or “the immigrants” in their culture, these pitiful underprivileged people: Where are they represented?
May 17, 2013
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.
IYSO Council Member
May 17, 2013
May 13, 2013
May 8, 2013
TODAY, the North Carolina House of Representatives will be debating a bill (HB 693) that would require teenagers notarized parental consent form in order to access STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention or care, or substance abuse treatment. Teenagers without a parent or guardian would be required to stand before a judge and request a judicial bypass in order to obtain those health services.
Let’s do a quick before and after:
RIGHT NOW, a young person in North Carolina can see a doctor for STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention and care, or substance abuse treatment WITHOUT parental consent.
IF THIS LAW PASSES: A young person would need NOTARIZED parental permission to see a doctor for any and all of these services (including abortion).*
Obvious problematic scenarios arise: For example, a young woman who may be sexually active may decide to forgo birth control because she is not willing to speak with their parents. There’s also the question of how often signatures are required? Is it every time you get a pap test or every time you pick up monthly contraception or antidepressant prescriptions? Does this include OTC contraception? Would young people need notarized parental permission to buy condoms?
The bill is so vague that it offers more questions than answers and the answers we do have are problematic and dangerous for young people’s health and safety.
If this law passes, North Carolina would be the ONLY state in the U.S. to amend that parental consent requirements include STD testing and treatment and mental health counseling.
It’s also worth noting that even though every state has some type of parental consent law in some form or fashion, NO state has ever required notarization. That extra step will undoubtedly make it harder for young people in North Carolina to access the services they need to lead healthy lives.
The bill is going to the House today. I hope the House leadership feels embarrassed about how far this bill goes and does the right thing for young people in their state. Crossing my fingers that House leadership doesn’t allow this crazy to go any further!
If you live in North Carolina, I recommend contacting Republican members of the House to let them know why you’re concerned about this bill. They need to hear your perspective as a young person, parent, or professional to know about how truly outrageous this effort is for our young people’s safety and health.
*However, Title X clinics, meaning any clinic which receives federal funding under Title X and including all Planned Parenthood clinics, must still by law offer confidential STI testing and treatment, and contraception, regardless of any state law.
May 7, 2013
This past March I became a Public Affairs Fellow with Planned Parenthood here in Columbia. In April, we launched our Prevention First Campaign. The campaign consists of various tabling events throughout the summer and canvassing in the Columbia area. The goal of the campaign is to urge our lawmakers to put prevention first by promoting more comprehensive sex ed for youth. Canvassers are still needed for the project, if interested please email email@example.com. Each canvasser will receive a stipend for each completed canvassing shift. For additional information on this project, please visit the website at http://www.ppaction.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=22046.0
May 3, 2013
There are so many rumors and theories about Plan B and other emergency contraception that it can become very difficult to differentiate fact from fiction, and unfortunately, many people believe the falsified rumors over what EC actually does. Emergency contraception is NOT an abortion pill and it will NOT terminate a pregnancy if you are already pregnant. Emergency contraception just prevents you from becoming pregnant just like any other birth control. In fact, EC is just a higher dosage of the pill you take every day.
That is why this new decision to finally remove the arbitrary and harmful age restriction on emergency contraception is so vital. Sometimes it can seem easier to believe that youth under a certain age are not having sex and, therefore, are not in need of condoms or birth control, but we cannot ignore the facts. The fact that the US has some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world, for instance. Other nations view sexual and reproductive health including for youth to be a matter of public health and public policy. It becomes the entire nation’s duty and cause to look out for their youth in all areas of their life- including the ones we don’t want to talk about. The US is slowly on its way to realizing this truth and hopefully it will bring many more changes like this one along with it. For more information on emergency contraception, you can visit our website at www.morningafterinfo.org or text SEXT to 74574.
May 2, 2013
Last week, governments from around the world met at the United Nations for the 46th Commission on Population and Development (CPD). Throughout the week-long deliberations, governments, UN agencies, demographers, and NGOs debated the topic of migration and its relationship to the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action—a groundbreaking declaration which signaled a major shift in population policy from one based on population control to one based on human rights, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
What’s migration got to do with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), you ask? Well, just about everything.
Today, more women are migrating than ever before, representing nearly half of the total international migrant population, and in some countries, as much as 70 to 80 percent. And young migrants under the age of 29 make up half of all global migrants. During the process of migration, women and girls tend to be more vulnerable to human rights violations, particularly SRHR violations, including violence, exploitation, and sexual coercion. Moreover, migrant women and young people are also at increased risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections due to inadequate access to health services, including SRH services. As a result, ensuring access to SRHR information and services and protection of women’s and young people’s rights was our number one goal at the CPD.
So, how’d we do? Well, this year’s CPD proved interesting, to say the least. Traditionally progressive countries that fight every year to advance SRHR found themselves in a bit of a pickle given their countries’ rather regressive migration policies. Against the backdrop of comprehensive immigration reform playing out on Capitol Hill, the US delegation—typically a stalwart champion of young people’s SRHR and LGBT rights—sought to include language restricting access to non-emergency services to only those migrants who are documented or in legal status. The same was true for other Global North countries like the UK, Canada, Denmark, and the EU. At the same time, conservative countries with strong religious views (think Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, Honduras, Malta, and Poland) joined forces with the Holy See (aka, the Vatican) to denounce any inclusion of SRHR or sexual orientation and gender identity. Discussions grew more and more tense by the day, resulting in an eventual breakdown of the negotiations and a final “take it or leave it” declaration drafted by the chair of the commission.
From a youth SRHR perspective, the declaration is just so-so. Here’s my take on it.
- Recognizes that human rights are universal and must be promoted and protected regardless of migration status
- Mentions SRH/SRHR five times, with specific attention paid to the prevention of and response to sexual violence, including the provision of emergency contraception and safe abortion services where permitted by law
- Calls for gender sensitive migration policies and actions that empower women and prevent and eliminate all forms of violence, coercion, discrimination, trafficking, and exploitation and abuse of women and girls, including protections for women migrant domestic workers
- Urges special attention (albeit only in a preambular paragraph) to young people’s vulnerability to HIV due to social and economic inequities, stigma, discrimination, gender-based and sexual violence, gender inequality, and lack of access to information on HIV prevention as well as access to sexual and reproductive health services
- Encourages governments to eliminate any remaining HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence
- Includes language in two places which restricts access to services based on migration or legal status, as well as an entire paragraph reaffirming the sovereign right of each country to implement recommendations in accordance with national laws, “with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people”—in essence rendering everything in the resolution optional if countries disagree with its tenets
- Neglects young people, who are only mentioned twice, both of which are in the preambular paragraphs which carry less significance than the operational paragraphs; adolescents do get a minor mention in OP30 which calls for services to be provided to women and adolescents that are sensitive to their needs, with particular attention to sexual violence survivors
And the Ugly:
- Rejected language suggestions from several countries that would recognize the rights of young people, including access to SRH services and information, including comprehensive sexuality education
- Eliminated the only operational paragraph solely addressing the specific rights, needs, and vulnerabilities of young migrants
- Refused to include a single mention of sexual orientation and gender identity, despite three attempts to do so
After a groundbreaking resolution on adolescents and young people at last year’s CPD, we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us to ensure young people’s rights are front and center in the 20-year review of the ICPD in 2014 and in the post-2015 development agenda. We simply cannot afford to go backwards; we need forward progress if we are ever to see the full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.
Apr 29, 2013
Being able to attend the 46th Untied Nation Commission on Population and Development during the 22nd and 26th of April was definitely a great experience for me. While entering the UN not as a tourist excited me since my dream since childhood is to be able to work for the UN, attending the sessions enabled me to have a deeper understanding of the political debate of sexual and reproductive health and rights at an international level.
This year’s CPD focused on “demographic changes and new trends in migration”. Although the meeting started somewhat like a statistical presentation, the debate over the resolution quickly started around numbers of red-lights issues.
The first, without any doubt, was around the sexual and reproductive health and rights. Although I definitely understood the cultural differences among countries and their reasons for arguing against SRHR, at some point, the debate became too frustrated for me to continue engaging since the oppositions started to become irrational. The misunderstanding of SRHR was huge. The major argument of oppositions was SRHR=abortion without realizing all other great things that SRHR promoted—for example, maternal health, empowering women, and in fact, with proper use of contraception method, abortion, especial unsafe abortion, could be avoid. However, they argued one-sidely about abortion. But, as a matter of fact, they themselves also argued for better health of mothers as well as economic opportunity for migrants—which was ironic because to achieve all of these goals, promoting SRHR is necessary.
The second red-light issue that received a lot focuses was the argument of national sovereignty and migrants’ equal access to services. This debate was actually heart-breaking for me to observe. Apparently, while conservative countries remained in opposition, countries which had a tradition of supporting universal human rights turned against migrants’ rights majorly with the consideration of national sovereignty and the fear of undocumented migrants’ usage of social welfare. As a politician put in his words—“I don’t care the human rights of migrants, because they are in my country, they need to play by my rules.”
Rules, or as a delegation stated during the plenary—“legal status and regulation”, separated migrants’ rights from universal human rights and turned the discussion during the 46th UN CPD into a debated of “us” and “them”. While migrants should be considered as natural human beings, their manmade titles such as “undocumented” make them subject to structural violence—defined by Johan Galtung as a form of violence where some social structure or social institution purportedly harms people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs—created by legal systems which are intended to protect universal human rights but become institutions only for “us”, not “them”.
Consequentially, this legal barrier makes migrants, especially those undocumented migrants, more vulnerable to ill health. On the one hand, administrative hurdle and legal status, sometimes couple with other social risk factors such as poverty, stigma, and social exclusion, lead to the lack of social security and protection for migrants which cause the exacerbation of health conditions may due to migrants’ suffering of human trafficking, sexual violence, and exploitation, on the other hand, legal status also blocks migrants’ access to services. As a result, migrants face a health disparity that sometimes even cannot be voiced due to legal barriers. For example, migrant women frequently endure sexual coercion and abuse, without the ability to report these crimes to a local authority; young migrants are often afraid to access health services for fear of discrimination, detention or deportation because of their migratory status. In fact, I have a much deeper understanding of this fear. On the one hand, during my spring trip to Immokalee, Florida with the George Washington University Alternative Spring Break program, I heard lots of stories from undocumented migrant workers there about their inability to use healthcare services. One young lady said she had to turn to unsafe abortion method because she entered the country illegally and was afraid hospitals would report her to the government. On the other hand, as an international student with legal status, I still cannot fully utilize health services like an American citizen. As a result, I urge countries to ensure migrants’ equal access to basic health services regardless their legal status and their ability to pay. I also hope to call for international society’s recognition of migrants’ rights as human rights.
The last thing I learnt from CPD was the importance of NGOs. Imaging the one-week debate among politicians will determine people’s lives around the world made me somewhat cannot accept. Although I totally understood each nation’s position and the obligations for its own politicians to stand for the position, I also felt there lack a representation of the real people in the country. While the nation may argue from a religious point of view to against SRHR, it was the people who were suffering from this decision. As a result, NGOs are very important because they are the channels of the real voices and demands of people. I am very proud of myself can be part of this channel for young people’s voice to be heard.
Apr 27, 2013
« KO! KO! KO! », shouted the crowd .Mind you, they weren’t participating in a boxing match, neither were they at a musical concert, they shouted KO! in response to the health officials that took turns in sensitizing the crowd of more than 5000 that gathered at the Douala Place du Gouvernement to participate in the 9KM sensitization Walk that was organized by the Cameroon’s Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and better known by its French acronym CCATSIDA, Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health, and other stakeholders (local and international) in the fight against Malaria this Saturday 20th April 2013.
Being a participant, I could not help but be marveled at how engaged fellow participants were as we criss-crossed the streets of Cameroon’s most populated town. Young and old, and from diverse horizons, one thing united this people; that Malaria be kicked Out of Cameroon.
This passion and demonstrated in the endurance of the participants all through the alertness of their footsteps and the smile on their faces, could not however stop me from asking myself fundamental questions around the strategy for the fight against Malaria in my country. Thus, when one of the thousands of spectators that had amassed at streets corners shouted, “Where are condoms?”, there was an outburst of laughter from the crowd, I began asking myself what might have prompted this spectator to ask the question he did. As I thought about this, my eyes fell on the logo of the Cameroonian Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and on the T-Shirt of the participant ahead of me, my answer was here. The words AIDS on this coalitions logo prompted the question from this spectator.
AIDS and its prevention methods are better known in Cameroon than Malaria and its means of protection. This is paradoxical given that Malaria kills in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa than HIV/AIDS. Mind you, I am in no way saying that resources (human and material) should be shifted from the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is causing havoc in Cameroon especially amongst youths, to the fight against Malaria. The point I am trying to make is that the fight against Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis has for long been done as though they were isolated.
It is true that a person that has Malaria or Tuberculosis is not automatically an HIV/AIDS patient, but most often people suffering from HIV/AIDS in Cameroon are victims of the Malaria and tuberculosis given the milieu in which they live and the little means they have to survive on.
I have for long being convinced that an effective fight against Malaria cannot be done in an isolated manner but must be inclusive; taking into consideration the vectors of the disease in various communities in Cameroon. A dirty environment provides good breeding grounds for Mosquitoes especially the female Anopheles mosquito, through which Malaria is spread, the fight against Malaria must start from there. If a clean environment is achieved through mechanism through efficient urban development and poverty reduction strategies, Malaria will be made history. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that prevention is better than Cure?
In Cameroon and I guess is the case elsewhere in the world, a change from a dirty and crowded environment to a cleaner environment is the main indicator that a person has emerged from poverty. This is so because people who could barely afford 3 meals a day will have little time to think about the environments in which they live talk less of women in this bracket going for prenatal consultation or even having time to take their infants to the hospital when they are sick. Thus, despite the bed-nets distribution campaigns that have been organized all over Cameroon and despite the fact that Malaria treatment is free for children and pregnant women in Cameroon, Malaria killed more than 3000 people most of whom children.
Without an efficient attack on poverty, which is fertile ground for poor living conditions, I am afraid our walk and much talk on the fight against Malaria will be in vain. For Malaria to be kicked out of this country, we must not only walk on occasions like those organized to mark the World day for the fight against Malaria, we must truly walk the talk on the fight against Malaria daily, by launching an immediate assault and poverty. Because Malaria is the consequence of a dirty environment which is its self a glaring consequence of poverty.
Apr 22, 2013
Social justice and environmental justice have a very direct
correlation. The environmental movement and the feminist movement both
advocate for the health of humanity, but in different ways. There are
many subject matters that exemplify this intersectionality.
For example, the way people use and abuse nature can easily be
compared to how society uses and abuses women.
Toxic Chemicals. We clearly need to do something about how easy it is
for major companies to slowly pollute our bodies and our earth. There
are over 84,000 chemicals in popular consumer products and only 200
have been tested. When chemicals even are tested it is primarily on
men, so these companies clearly do not care about the effect they are
having on women’s bodies. Some of these chemicals are made from toxins
that pollute our water and air. Many of these chemicals have been
shown to cause infertility, low sperm counts, sexual dysfunction,
miscarriage, and different types of cancer. Not to mention women use
personal care products far more often than men and are therefore more
negatively affected. Here at ETSU we’re celebrating Earth Day with a
festival and a young man best summarized it when he said “unnatural
chemicals don’t make natural beauty.”
Not everyone can afford ridiculously expensive so-called “natural
organic” personal care products to keep themselves and their children
healthy. In addition, toxic waste dumps are disproportionately located
near minority communities. Women of color are targeted by systematic
racist beauty standards convincing them to buy hair relaxers and skin
lightening creams with chemicals that have severe damage potential.
For example, the chemicals found in common African-American hair
products are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are
linked to a range of reproductive health issues, like premature
puberty, gynecologic cancer, and birth defects. Look at who is hurting
the most by toxic chemicals. This is clearly a social justice issue
activists need to rise up against.
Quick Fact: 80% of federal transportation funds go to highways while
only 20% goes to mass transit. Not only does this hurt inner city
communities, but it’s a contributing factor to global warming.
Reproductive Justice. You know what’s really hurting our resources?
Overpopulation. People are using up far more than they need to and it
is growing out of control. If reproductive health options were more
readily available this would alleviate a great deal of that
Here is a quick review on what the Toxic Substances Control Act is and
why we need it to be updated. This site also helps teach you on how
you can help.http://www.saferchemicals.org/resources/opinion.html
Find out what is in your cosmetics:
Wake up to the threat of toxic chemicals!
www.rhtp.org/fertility/ToxicZombie.asp (Many resources used in the
writing of this blog were obtained from this site.)
“Toxic Combination: Fact Sheet on Toxic Chemicals and Reproductive
Health”—Center for American Progress:
“Women of Color are at Greater Risk for Toxic Chemical
Exposure”—Women’s Voices for the Earth:
Apr 17, 2013
The GetHip DC line is a resource for you to find information about sexual health. It’s free and available 24/7.
You can get info about STDs and birth control, as well as where to go locally for help. Just text GetHipDC to 74574
Apr 15, 2013
Today while at work i saw several women who were with-child and a thought popped in my head, “why are these women getting pregnant and the economy is so unstable?” this came to mind because these women were not in the best of jobs, they were the lunch lady and several janitorial staff members i began to think to myself “how will they provide for their new child? how are they going to manage? i make good money and i can barely manage!” it may seem weird but its a genuine thought which led me to google and i searched for some statistics in jamaica for womens access to contraceptives and how pregnancy intertwines with poverty.
The information below was taken from the Jamaica National Family Planning Board;
Jamaica, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, adolescent pregnancy presents a serious social and health problem ( McNeil, 1983 ). Before the age of 20, 40 % of Jamaican women have been pregnant at least once, and 85 % of these pregnancies are unplanned. Sexual activity begins at an early age for many Jamaicans, in the early teens and even pre-teen years. Among 15 year olds, the youngest age group surveyed in the 1993 Contraceptive Prevalence Survey, 35 % of females and 43 % of males reported having had sexual intercourse. The younger adolescents begin sexual activity, the less likely they are to use contraception, thus increasing their risk of pregnancy (Morris et al, 1995).
Early childbearing often ends a young woman’s education, limiting her future job prospects, and thus her own and her child’s economic well-being. Among Jamaican women ages 15 – 24 who have ever been pregnant, almost 1/ 3 became pregnant while in school, and almost 60 % of these pregnancies occurred before the fourth year of secondary school. Among adolescent females who became pregnant before the fourth year of school, only 14 % of those returned to school after the birth of their child. Among adolescents who became pregnant while in primary school, 20 % returned to school ( Morris et al, 1995 ).
Adolescent sexual activity and pregnancy in Jamaica have been associated with such factors as poverty, absence of male role models in the home, and a social context of conservative sexual ideals coexisting with tacit approval of early childbearing. Jamaica’s education system may also contribute to early sexual activity and unintended pregnancy. Children who do not gain admittance to a traditional, college preparatory high school after elementary school are viewed as failures by parents, teachers, and society. Smith (1993 ) found that students who attended “all-age” and “new secondary” schools are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, a trait that may be related to early sexual activity and pregnancy. In general, the type of school attended is associated with social class, with children from the lower socioeconomic strata more likely to attend the all-age and new secondary schools that generally do not prepare their students for university education.
% of Young Adult Women Aged 15 – 24 Who Before The Age of Menarche Received Information From Parents / Guardians on Menstruation And How Pregnancy Occurs
And Who Before Initiating Sexual Relations Received Information On How Pregnancy Occurs By Selected Characteristics
|Before Menarche Had info. on menstruation (%)||Before Menarche Had info. on pregnancy (%)||Before 1st sex Had info. on pregnancy (%)|
|13 or more years||75.3||69.4||67.5|
1997 Reproductive Health Survey ( RHS )
Slightly more than 1/3 of women reported receiving no information from their parents or guardians on menstruation before their first menstrual period; corresponding % were similar for pregnancy information before menarche and before first sex. Also, as might be expected, parents were more likely to give this information to their children if they are in a higher education or socioeconomic category.
Apr 10, 2013
Only 23% of sexually active teens have been tested for HIV. Are you one of them? Find free or low-cost clinics near you!
Apr 10, 2013
Today is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day. This disease has been robbing our generation of precious young people for many years and now is the time to take a stand and fight for our generation back. I am happy to support this day and I have hopes that it will evolve into a mass movement amongst the young people of this generation. Knowledge is power! By raising awareness and promoting prevention young people will have the power to fight HIV and AIDS.
Apr 10, 2013
While Boston College is against adult students at the college using and having access to condoms my college LOVED when the student government gave out condom flowers on Condom Day.
I am one part of my college’s Undergrad Student Governments Health Programming Board. Our campus has a health clinic like many other college campuses however, a lot of students do not know about it. In an effort to get more of my peers to know about the clinic and to be more mindful of the sexual health I decided to make condom flowers for Valentine’s Day and give them away to students.
Apr 6, 2013
A few weeks back I listened attentively to ‘SOS Doctor’, one of the best health programs that be on Radio in Cameroon. As I listened, I got very happy at the great job that Dr. Dion Grace, a member of the National AIDS Control Committee of Cameroon was doing to educate Cameroonians on anti-retroviral drugs. She eloquently and insightfully answered every one of the questions that were posed to her by listeners who called-in and am sure her intervention in the program was a timely one. Everything was fine until when a listener called-in to ask what is it that could be done to reduce stigma on people who are on anti-retroviral drugs. Dr. Dion as usual gave a very insightful answer to this question going as far as citing the example of Ivory Coast where the drugs are put in anonymous packages so that they can be taken by patients without fear of stigma by the people around them. She went ahead to cite cases where some special containers of various doses is been used in some countries to reduce stigma. This was quiet interesting to know, but when she started advising people on anti-retroviral that they could tell people around them that they are taking vitamins or pills in order to avoid stigmatization I grumbled the following to myself: Do I have to be so ashamed of my status that I have to lie to others?
I have no statistics on this but I can assure you that having to lie on your HIV status is the order of the day in Cameroon especially amongst young people to avoid stigma and discrimination. Well, this to an extend is understandable given that People Living With HIV/AIDS(PLWHA) are considered as being punished by God for either their sisns or those committed by their family. But when telling a lie to avoid stigma is a behaviour that is reinforced health professionals, I have reservations and clearly doubt how efficient this approach could be.
I am utterly convinced that a problem can only be solved if its root cause(s) is/are carefully tackled. As a young person living in a society where most PLWHA are young persons, I compare telling a lie on your HIV/AIDS status to survive to deliberately refusing to tackle the problem from it’s source and launching an attack on its leaves instead.
To reduce stigma in the most sustainable way possible, education rather than lies is required.Young People, their families, and the communities in which People on anti-retroviral drugs have to be educated on the dangers of stigma and on the importance of accepting PLWHA. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations’ Secretary-General, vividly spelt out society’s responsibility to PLWHA when he declared that, “We can fight stigma. Enlightened laws and policies are key. But it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Schools should teach respect and understanding. Religious leaders should preach tolerance. The media should condemn prejudice and use its influence to advance social change, from securing legal protections to ensuring access to health care.”
Lies do nothing but contribute in amplifying the myth around HIV/AIDS in the Cameroonian society. People on anti-retroviral drugs do not need to lie on their status to survive stigma, they need to accept themselves as they are and deserve the care and protection that every other human being is due by the society in which they live.They deserve to live a real life and not a life of lies.
Apr 6, 2013
Here is Advocates for Youth’s statement on today’s landmark decision removing age and ID restrictions from emergency contraception!
Today young women across the country have something to cheer about. After a decade-long struggle in which politics trumped science and common sense, young women and their partners will now have access to back-up birth control without unnecessary and burdensome restrictions. Emergency contraception is a safe, effective method of birth control that can prevent pregnancy in the first few days after unprotected sex.
Federal District Judge Edward Korman’s ruling directs the Food and Drug Administration to remove the age restrictions on emergency contraception within 30 days and allow the back-up birth control on pharmacy shelves with no age or identification restrictions.
“The burden on young women has been lifted. No longer will back-up birth control be unnecessarily locked up behind the counter, out of reach for too many young women,” stated Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “Access to the full range of safe, reliable contraception is an essential part of basic health care. For too long politics has stood in the way.”
Prior to this ruling, women under 17 years old were required to obtain a prescription from a physician for emergency contraception. For women 17 and older, it could only be purchased upon request and with adequate identification. For years, medical experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics have agreed that emergency contraception is safe for over-the-counter use by young women.
Tanisha Humphrey knows first-hand the burden of denying access to contraception. Her story is just one of many before today’s ruling:
“During my freshman year in college, my birth control failed. I was suddenly facing the possibility of getting pregnant my first semester in college and I was terrified. I was over 18, but I didn’t have identification to prove it. I've never felt so powerless, never so at the mercy of someone else for something so important. I am thrilled by the court’s decision today so that another young woman will not go through what I did and can take responsible steps to protect themselves from an unintended pregnancy.”
“We urge Secretary Sebelius to expedite the court’s ruling,” Ms. Hauser continued. “Advocates for Youth will continue to advocate on behalf of all young women to ensure true access to the full-range of contraceptive options – including ensuring contraceptives are affordable and available.”
Apr 5, 2013
Hello fellow reproductive justice champions!
Ever struggled to have a conversation about which method best suits a your particular lifestyle, finances, and preferences? Or, have you struggled to find trustworthy and easy-to-understand information that explains the benefits and drawbacks of different methods?
We are researchers from Dartmouth College and are studying women’s and healthcare providers’ views about making decisions about methods of contraception (birth control). This will help us develop a tool to help women and their healthcare providers discuss contraception and make decisions about methods of contraception as a team.
We are inviting women aged 15-45 years who use (or are interested in learning about) contraception, live in the United States, and are comfortable reading and writing English to complete a 10 minute online survey about making decisions about contraception.
More information and this survey is available here: http://tuck.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9zdc5ihw8Y29oX3
In these surveys, we will ask you to provide some information about yourself and your views and opinions related to making decisions about contraception.
All information you provide is anonymous and will be stored in password-protected computer files. We don’t anticipate any risks beyond the risks you experience in everyday life. Participating in this survey will have no bearing on women’s healthcare services. The study has received approval by the Institutional Review Board at Dartmouth College (CPHS #23963).
Please feel free to forward this information to any others you think may be interested in participating.
Thank you in advance for your help in making a truly patient-centered contraception decision support tool!
Apr 4, 2013
Have you ever been in a store and found a pair of shoes that you would sell your car for, only to realize that they have every size except yours? Or maybe when you were younger you thought that you would go on to become the next Michael Jordan or Lisa Leslie, just to end up riding the bench the entire season. I can say that both of these have happened to me at some point in my life. But I’ve learned to just smile and say “Hey, that just wasn’t my thing”. This trial and error method can be used to find a form of contraception that works for you. I’m aware that having so many options can be a bit overwhelming, but the “perfect fit” is out there for you. Researching your options and talking with a healthcare provider are great ways to get one step closer to finding that “perfect fit”. Just remember that the decision to practice safe sex is one of the greatest decisions you’ll ever make. For more information on sexual health text “SEXT” to 74574.
Apr 3, 2013
Thanks to Advocates For Youth, I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s National Advocacy Weekend for 5 days this past March. As I packed my bags and boarded the plane that would take me from Ithaca, NY to Washington DC, I had no clue as to the intense intellectual, emotional, and passionate environment I was about to step into.
This year’s Advocacy Weekend was focused on the inclusion of immigrant women’s health care in immigration reform. Immigration policy directly affects an immigrant woman’s access to health care. According to the NLIRH website, the majority of female immigrants do not have healthcare coverage. State legislatures continue to introduce legislation that would restrict non-citizens’ access to basic public health programs, including prenatal care. Immigrant women are less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care, including cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, accurate sex education and culturally and linguistically competent services.
Reproductive Justice tells us that these services are essential for women to have the basic human rights to dignity and self determination. It was under this belief that over 50 activists from across the country joined together. We represented the full spectrum of american latina identity- some of us were undocumented, others were second and third generation citizens. Our command of English and Spanish differed, but we were united in our conviction, and most of all in our support of one another.
Yo te apoyo. This is one of NLIRH’s campaign slogans, and it was this sentiment that was most felt throughout the weekend. As we learned about the intricacies of immigration reform and of it’s intersections with Reproductive Justice, we were free to voice our personal experiences and frustrations. People spoke of very personal obstacles- young motherhood, the pain of familial disruption by deportation, the inability to be seen by a doctor for a cyst in the breast- openly and honestly, and were always received with respect and the assurance that they had in their power the ability to create change.
At the rally for Immigrant Women on Sunday, speakers shouted, “We are on the right side of history!” to a church full of applause. I clapped and shouted right along. It was only later that I questioned the assurance I felt that this is true. I suppose I feel that I am “on the right side of history” when I am working with people who sound least like a history textbook.. People who choose not to simplify and sterilize an issue, because they are not afraid to admit to and confront the complexity and diversity of it. People who gain collective power through their willingness to admit to vulnerability, to the need to support and be supported in their struggle.
For more information about the issue of Immigrant women’s access to healthcare, and how it is affected by immigration policy, check out:
Apr 3, 2013
In this midst of an ongoing conversation with a classmate of mine, they asked me “Hey Crystal, how can you tell if a person has an STD?”. Once I noticed that this question had caught more attention than either of us had planned on, I politely answered “You can’t”. All at once I became bombarded with questions, with the main idea being, “How do I protect myself?”. I went on to say that people who have STDs or who are HIV positive obviously aren’t just walking around with badges on that read “Hi, my name is _______, and I have Chlamydia.” You can’t tell what a person has been infected with, and honestly in most cases, they may not even know themselves that they are infected. Nevertheless,I am positive that the best way to protect yourself is to practice safe sex. Condoms aren’t just something cool to collect, or put on your key chain, or even to wear on a stylish bag (although we absolutely love these swag items)… condoms are like mini soldiers that protect you from the dangers that may come along with being sexually active. Wear your soldiers with pride and always wrap it up! For more info on sexual health, text SEXT to 74574.
Apr 1, 2013
- Passionate about fighting for young people’s rights to sexual health information and services?
- Interested in connecting with youth leaders from across the country?
- Dedicated to developing skills to make a difference in your community?
Mar 23, 2013
It looks like the good folks over at Planned Parenthood Action have hired a comedian to manage their social media. That makes sense, since so many of these measures intended to block women’s access to health care are so mind-blowingly outrageous that all you can really do is throw up your hands and laugh.
Case in point: Right now, a group of CEOs has gone to court to demand the power to decide whether their employees get access to affordable birth control. Anti-choice, anti-contraception politicians are super gung-ho about this, natch. Luckily, the comedians at Planned Parenthood Action made this handy dandy guide -
And here you thought talking to your parents about birth control was awkward. Yikes.
Mar 20, 2013
“To be clear, reproductive justice is not a label—it’s a mission. It describes our collective vision: a world where all people have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about gender, bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and families for themselves and their communities. And it provides an inclusive, intersectional framework for bringing that dream into being. Reproductive justice is visionary, it’s complex, it doesn’t fit neatly on a bumper sticker, and it has a lot to teach us about how to be successful in a changed and changing world.”
— Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson, Beyond Choice: How We Learned to Stop Labeling and Love Reproductive Justice
Mar 19, 2013
The war against women continues in Texas. It seems as if the attack against women’s health will not stop. Recently, Texas State Senators Deuell, Campbell, and Schwertner introduced Senate Bill 537. This bill also known as the “Back Door Abortion Ban” is an attempt to restrict a women’s basic right to living a healthy life. Under the guise of safety and more regulation, Senate Bill 537 would in fact not improve safety of abortion care, but instead place medically unnecessary requirements on health centers such as becoming licensed Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs).
These requirements would force all but five women health centers that offer abortion services to shut down in the state of Texas. This would have a devastating impact on thousands of women, especially low income women. Low-income women and women of color who live in the rural parts of Texas do not have access to the necessary resources to protect themselves and live a healthy life. To attain a basic cervical cancer screening sometimes they need to take time off work and travel miles to go to the nearest health clinic.
My mother and myself are prime examples of this. We both do not have health insurance because we cannot afford it. My mother lives in South Texas and has traveled to Mexico to consult a doctor. She only goes to the doctor when about once every two years because she cannot afford losing a day of work, paying doctor visits, and buying prescribed medicine. I am a fourth year student at the University of Texas at Austin. I do not have my yearly check ups due the inability to afford health care insurance. It is difficult, frustrating and stressful living each day without health care and hoping you do not get sick and continue to work or pursue a higher education.
Texas has the highest percentage of women who are uninsured . Also, Texas ranks one of the top ten highest rates of women having cervical cancer. Yet, the 2011 Texas Legislature cut 66 percent of family planning funds. About 300, 000 fewer women will now receive health care . Unfortunately, Texas State legislature does not support women’s health. Every year, the state of Texas is limiting a women’s basic right to living a healthy life.
SB 537 is another example of the Texas State Legislature trying to limit women’s health rights in Texas. However, we will not let that happen because we decide what is best for our future. Young leaders in Texas such as myself working with the Young Women of Color Leadership Council with Advocates for Youth, Katy Waters Vice-President for Voices for Reproductive Justice at the University of Texas at Austin and organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, and Planned Parenthood are working hard to make sure our communities are aware of what the Texas State legislature is doing. Through advocacy, lobbying, community outreach, petition drives, and speak outs at the Texas State Capitol we are making sure to create conversations with our families and friends All women in Texas deserve access to HIV tests, birth control, safe and legal abortions. Women’s health is not a just a women’s issue. It is an inclusive problem that affects everyone. Family planning cuts and closing down of abortion clinics will affect mothers, wives, daughters, husbands, sons and the list continues.
Simple actions such as following bills that may affect women’s lives and what is going on at the Texas legislature online at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx or signing online petitions such as opposing SB 537 online https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=15903 to hold our political leaders accountable are ways communities can speak up.
 Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Title X and Family Planning: Texas.http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/title-X/TX.html.
 Legislative Budget Board. http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/
Mar 10, 2013
A fellow Amplify Blogger, Twittersister and founder of TeenMomNYC.com, a website offering support and incite of the day to day life of what it means to be a teenage mother, recently posted a blog (like many of us) about the New York City Teen Pregnancy “Prevention” Campaign that launched last week by the NYC Human Resources Administration. Reading through my newsfeed last night, I caught a glimpse of her responding to the hateful comments she was receiving on this particular blog post. This morning, I decided to visit her blog for myself. There were a whopping 38 comments attached to what I thought was a brilliantly written blog laced with veracity and Gloria’s situated knowledges as a teen parent. I guess the others did not think so. Let me first say that I was not a teen mother and I cannot, will not and do not wish to speak from that perspective. However, I am a young woman of color who was born and raised in a hypersegregated medically “underserved” area, attended sub-standard schools, and was in and out of kinship care my entire life. All of these experiences influence my analysis of this situation (outside of my work with young people and pregnant and parenting teens).
This blog is also not meant to come to anyone’s rescue (we advocates/activists are not saving teen moms from these egregious, shameful ads) because they do not need us to rescue them or step in and give them a voice. These brave young women already have them! This is to show my solidarity with them and express why I feel so strongly about the attacks on them. As if the ads were not enough, you have people offering their empty “advice” on their blogs, ranging from “been there, done that” to “you should have kept your legs closed.” Uhh no that’s not about to happen. So you want to come for teen moms? Let me come for your train of thought. Allow me to deconstruct your notions of young people and teen pregnancy prevention.
Wait, be patient, love yourself!
I recommend young people keep a journal of their childhood that way when they grow up and catch a sudden case of dementia when it comes to sexuality and sexual activity they can “remember” their teen years. An “older wiser woman” commented that there is in fact no positive side to teen sexual activity. Hmmm well that’s strange considering teens are pretty much still keep having sex (something has to be positive there). While we all hope that young people delay sexual activity, lets face the music TEENS ARE HAVING SEX! Just because young people make decisions to have sex, doesn’t mean we don’t love ourselves. I’m pretty sure we’d love ourselves more if society showed us some love too!
I didn’t know lived in a society in which CULTURE does not play a significant role in how we raise our children!
An anonymous added that young people have an “unlimited” amount of resources including our moms, aunts, sisters, friends… Okay, so where I come from my family doesn’t talk about sex. Outside of the fact that most parents don’t feel comfortable talking to their kids about sex, I know first hand that some families are not about to talk about sex! As a person of the African Diaspora, sex was not talked about in my house. I was told not to get pregnant, but NEVER how to go about preventing pregnancy. And when I did receive some ‘sex education”, it definitely didn’t apply to me. No one met me where I was. No one wanted to speak my language. Then and now youth need Culturally and Linguistically relevant (along with medically accurate, age-appropriate) sexual education. Because all that other stuff…Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Just close your legs that way we don’t have to provide you with comprehensive sexual education, access to birth control and all the other things you need to lead healthy lives!
Telling someone to keep their legs closed is not okay! First of all opening your legs does not cause pregnancy (if that was the case I’d be with child every time a rode a bike, danced, and did jumping jacks.).Secondly, most women don’t get pregnant by themselves unless we are talking about the Immaculate Conception. The notion of “keeping your legs closed” is not only sexist and misogynist but just plain ignorant. And lets think about resources, is birth control accessible? I saw comments on other blogs about the Affordable Care Act and how teens could purchase birth control on their parent’s health insurance because it would be free. Well some insurance companies, have these cool things called EOBs (Explanation of Benefits). They basically tell you all the stuff you just got done at your doctors visit. Until we get that fixed I don’t know how accessible Birth Control under the ACA is for young people. That’s the ish I don’t like!
Society doesn’t owe you anything its all about “choice.” (This is where you laugh hysterically.)
Oh please. This kills me because some people are so scared of the word “choice.” It kills me because people throw around the word choice and “decision making” when we aren’t really handing out the tools for young people to make choices. Yes society has a responsibility to equip young people with these tools, but that does not excuse the fact that young people have individual responsibilities too. We contribute to society (so stop acting like you don’t know). We don’t need shaming ads to tell us that parenting is hard. We don’t need people telling us that we are WIC/EBT/Medicaid/Government Assistance users and that the older generation needs not be responsible for us. Well last I checked Social Security and Medicare are government programs and every McDonalds minimum-wage check goes to fund the older generation.
If you are going to come for young moms, young people, young people of color I just ask one thing….. COME CORRECT or go home.
Mar 4, 2013
While browsing through my twitter page I came across an ad directed at teen mothers in NYC. While seeing this ad disgusted me; I was a little relieved that I had not seen it person in my city, Brooklyn. Not only is this ad extremely offensive (the Post calls it a “Tad” offensive), it has racist, classist and sexist undertones. The ad I saw featured a beautiful brown girl with big brown eyes and read “Honestly Mom… chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?” It also quoted a statistic that 90% of teen parents do not marry each other. While this statistic can be shocking to most it also seems to continue to push the agenda of marriage and “nuclear” families among young people, something I wish this country would have let go of in the 1976 Reagan “Welfare Queen” era.
After further research, I discovered that this ad was part of a larger campaign created by the NYC Human Resources Administration. For an agency with the word “resources” in its name, it appears that they do not know how to use them very well. Especially considering the fact that the United States is preparing to undergo sequestration and they thought it wise to use government funding to disseminate disturbing, stigmatizing and shameful ads about teen mothers. Also considering the fact they are a “Human Resources” agency, I would think funds would be better allocated to real initiatives to help young mothers, such as creating real job opportunities for young moms and working with other agencies and organizations to provide childcare so that young women could support their families. It is resourceful to create life-size ads that basically say “Mom you suck for having me.”
While NYC has taken steps to improve the lives of young parents, like closing Pregnancy Schools after advocates insisted these institutions were in violation of Title IX, this initiative seems backwards. This is the same city responsible for the Living for the Young Family through Education program which provides free childcare around the city to help teen parents graduate from high school. In addition to these efforts, the NYC Department of Education mandated Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools in 2011 to decrease the rate of teen pregnancies, HIV and STIs among young people. However, many of the youth that I work with in Brooklyn still report receiving little to no sex education even after the mandate was placed into effect. Having grown up in Brooklyn my entire life and having never received formal sexual education, I know they are telling the truth.
So if you think scare tactics and shameful ads are going to work, think again. In fact it is just making the situation worse. I’m mostly concerned with who the agency talked to before creating these controversial ads. It definitely was not teen parents!! I wonder how agencies feel they can solve a problem without consulting the people on the ground and the young people with the “situated knowledge.” As a millennial of color, research shows that although my peers would like to decrease the rate of teen pregnancies, they also feel that society has a responsibility to provide young parents with the necessary resources and opportunities to lead healthy lives.
Lastly, I think these ads should be taken down, and the funding for this so-called Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative should be redirected to organizations working to provide real comprehensive sexual education, access to contraception, teen parenting programs, affordable childcare and job opportunities for young people. Education, inclusion and empowerment is how we solve real issues not by attaching stigma to young people, especially young women!
Mar 3, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
Feb 27, 2013
“When I introduce the concept of reproductive justice to new audiences, at lectures or workshops, I always frame it in the same way. I use a really simple exercise, where I draw a stick figure on a piece of butcher paper, or an easel, or a chalkboard. Then I ask the question: “What things in this person’s life will impact their ability to create the family they want to create?” Usually it takes a few minutes for the audience to get going, but within five or ten minutes the result is a stick figure with many, many issues written in bubbles around them. Things like religion, money, environment, language, race, gender, sexuality, laws, incarceration end up surrounding the person.
This activity is a pretty decent illustration of my definition of reproductive justice—it’s working to build a world where everyone has what they need to create the family they want to create. And that work requires incorporating and taking into account all of those items written in bubbles on the diagram, as well as many we probably leave out. Almost always this exercise results in “ah ha” moments, and it’s had a striking universality—from using it with college students to using it in Latina immigrant communities on the border. Reproductive justice is an easier concept to explain in ten minutes than in a two-word soundbite, like pro-choice, but that additional context also allows for so many more of the issues and challenges or our every day lives to be made visible and explicitly included in our work.”
Feb 22, 2013
If you’re like me, your uterus was doing the Electric Slide with excitement last year when the Obama Administration announced that birth control would be covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Preventative benefits without cost sharing? Um, yes please. As if I wasn’t overjoyed already, I was even more thrilled to hear the recent news that Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) such as Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and the hormonal implant would also be covered by ACA.
The incredible effectiveness of IUDs and the hormonal implant as well as the flexibility to remove the device at any time make LARCs a fantastic contraceptive option for all women. Mirena, a hormone-releasing IUD, is over 99% effective and once inserted by your health care professional, can last for up to 5 years. Paragard is a non-hormonal IUD made with copper which is also over 99% effective and lasts up to 10 years. The hormonal implant, Nexplanon (formerly known as Implanon) is a single rod which is inserted into the upper arm, is also over 99% effective and can last for up to 3 years. All three devices can be removed by your health care professional at any time.
It also seems that the word is getting out about how awesome and effective LARC’s are. In a Guttmacher study, researchers found that between 2002 and 2007, the number of women using LARCs increased from 2.4% to 3.7%, and by 2009, more than doubling the amount of use with a total of 8.5% of contraceptors using these devices. For young women aged 15 – 19, 4.5% use LARCs, with only 0.5% using the hormonal implant Nexplanon/Implanon.
Personally, I used to completely disregard LARCs as a viable option for my own birth control. I thought of them as some ancient, strange method that my mom probably used in the 70’s – definitely NOT an option for a hip and trendy young Millennial. What I was totally ignorant to (besides the fact that no one would ever call me ‘hip’ or ‘trendy’) were all of the incredible benefits that using a LARC would provide me and other young women. Recently, more health care professionals have come forward to affirm that LARCs are a great contraceptive choice for women of all ages, not just those who have previously given birth. In October 2012, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognized that LARCs were a safe and extremely effective option for young women, publishing a report strongly recommending LARCs for women aged 15-19.
Ok, so now let’s talk money. You might say ‘LARCs sound fantastic! I want one right now! Let’s do this thing!’ and I would totally agree with everything you’re saying, but also would remind you that it’s important to consider the details. LARCs can cost anywhere between $400 – $1,000 depending on the device and your insurance provider – a pretty hefty chunk of change, which has deterred women from choosing the method in the past, even though the benefit usually outweighs the cost over time. This is one of the prime reasons why the announcement that the Affordable Care Act is covering LARCs is so fantastic – if the cost of the device is covered by insurance, more women can feel financially unburdened about making the choice to use a LARC.
It is true that the roll-out of the ACA in regards to coverage of birth control has been quite a confusing process in which a lot of women are asking for the fine print regarding the cost of their particular method. Getting a LARC means considering the cost of several things: the insertion procedure, the removal procedure, and the device itself, and so far what we know is that the ACA covers the device and insertion, but there is no word on whether or not the removal procedure is covered under ACA as well. Throughout the implementation of contraceptive coverage, inquiries have come center stage in response to what these new laws mean for women’s access to birth control. We can only hope that as we learn more about this new addition to the ACA, questions and investigative research lead to more informed answers about the details of coverage for LARCs for all women.
Feb 21, 2013
Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen To Host Event Encouraging Dialogue Around Educational Inequality
Who: Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen is an annual event designed to showcase female artists and use hip-hop to raise awareness around social issues.
What: This year’s event, titled ‘No Limits…Knowledge is Power!’ features female educators, students, activists, DJs, emcees, b-girls, poets, visual artists and dancers who will convene to advocate for comprehensive sexual education curriculum in all school districts, smaller class sizes and educational opportunities for all children.
When: Saturday, March 2nd, 2013, from 2pm-5pm ET
Where: Hostos Community College Main Theater
450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street
Media RSVP and Interview Requests: Kathleen Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit:
Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen (MHHK) is a multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice. Our mission is to create a dynamic interactive exchange and safe space for all women of color to express themselves through art.
Feb 14, 2013
Whether we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, the fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to ignore the roses, teddy bears and big red hearts abound today.
Of course the big elephant in the room on Valentine’s Day is sex — oftentimes the unspoken piece of the puzzle amongst all of those cheesy gifts.
Part of being responsible while sexually active on Valentine’s Day and every day is practicing consent with your partner(s) as well as safe sex. But what about the impact your birth control has on the environment? Not something we always stop to think about.
It’s an important thing to think about and I’m happy to deliver some good news. Any birth control is better than no birth control when you’re looking out for the planet’s health.
You’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that the estrogen-based hormones in birth control make their way into our waterways and in turn cause a host of health issues. While estrogenic compounds are found in waterways, birth control and other forms of hormonal contraception are not major contributors to this issue.
Instead, agricultural and industrial waste are the more likely culprits. The total yearly volume of entrogenic growth hormones given to farm animals is more than five times that of humans’ consumption of oral contraceptives. Estrogen also makes its way into our waterways through the use of common herbicides, like Atrazine and Roundup, as well as common industrial chemicals like BPA, which is commonly found in our plastics.
If you’re interested in using a contraceptive method that’s hormone-free, consider the copper IUD. And if it isn’t a good fit for you, choose another method rather than going without. When it comes to having sex, the greenest thing you can do is use birth control!
While birth control pills aren’t to blame for the presence of the majority of hormones in our environment, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the issue.
Early puberty, infertility, and developmental defects have all been linked to hormone disruption as a result of the estrogenic compounds in our water. Compounding the problem are endocrine system disrupting toxic chemicals in our everyday care products.
So what’s an aspiring green valentine to do? Continue using your birth control method, learn about the link between reproductive health and environmental health and current thinking on greening contraception, and ask your Senator to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which would regulate hormone disrupting chemicals before they end up in our products and harm our health.
Feb 10, 2013
(oldie but goody)
Feb 7, 2013
Rather than doing the normal posts on here, I’m blogging on Blogger.com! So feel free to follow my blog and my journey handing out the condoms!
Feb 6, 2013
Well, my box arrived! It was pretty cool to pour out that many condoms all at once.
I have a few disappointments with my shipment, though. First, I’m light by 18 condoms (yes I counted. Don’t judge me) but I suppose trojan just measures by weight. Second, I got more magnum size than anything else O.o I was hoping for mostly trojan enz, but hey, free condoms.
On the plus side; I dig the trojan grab bucket. My first thought was to fill that puppy up and plop it down on my desk it each class and be all: “Check it, free rubbers!” Ok, my first thought was to just take the box itself, dress up like cupid and prance about the campus, merrily tossing handfuls of condoms about.
Sadly, I am a bit more reserved and orderly (I did count the suckers, after all.) I’m setting the groundwork to build a distribution network of safesites on my campus by utilizing faculty, staff, and student clubs.
I met with my student activities coordinator and the dean of admissions yesterday and I have a meeting with the dean of student development today. My plan is to get the go-ahead of student dev. to have the academic departments to allow me to contact certain instructors who are sympathetic to the cause and have them act as distribution points.
From there, I can also enlist certain student clubs and organizations to help distribute as well. I’ve also got the go-ahead from my activities coordinator to use campus events as distribution opportunities.
Failing all of this, well… there’s always the cupid costume.
Feb 6, 2013
Well, they’re here! All 500 condoms from the Great American Condom campaign have officially landed at my doorstep, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of this. Already I’m beginning to see the benefits of it.
When I walked into the house with my huge box of condoms, my father asked what it was. Let me tell you, informing your father that you just received a box of 500 condoms is quite an experience. He laughed and told me he was proud of me, though. So that’s cool. The first condoms I distributed went to my cutie pie 16 (almost 17!) year old little brother, and I’m planning on giving 10 more to a classmate of his who is sexually active but afraid to tell her parents or buy condoms herself.
In case anyone is wondering, my box contained several hundred Trojan Ecstasy “Her Pleasure” and another couple hundred Trojan Magnums, with the last hundred or so being fire and ice. Has anyone tried these? I’m not sure how I feel about having fire and/or ice near my ladyparts.
Before I turn in for the night, I have a question for you, my fellow bloggers. Do you try to carry a condom with you at all times? What do you think of someone who decides to carry a condom with them at all times?
Feb 4, 2013
“I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.” – conservative radio host Kevin Swanson
Feb 3, 2013
It was my first year in the University of Abuja, and I must say, I wasn’t impressed. The student hostels were an abomination, and goodness knows that I still haven’t a clue how I got the resolve to stay there during the entire course of my studies at the University. That was 5 year too long, if you ask me. The hostels were filthy and badly maintained. It also didn’t help that the spaces we were all crammed into had the breathing space of a can of sardines, or less. I still have nightmares of finding myself waking up to a box room crammed with barely clothed girls sharing beds and sleeping on the floor…(therapy need. Badly)
I’ll never forget the day that a neighbour of mine in the hostel recalled the time she caught “something” from the public bathrooms. That was just…URGH!!!
When she first started living in the hostels, she was a good girl. I mean a very good girl. The porters and hall administrators absolutely adored her. But then, something terrible happened…she caught what people around here like to refer to as “thrush” or more aptly “the vaginal scourge.” It itched, it shed, it was irritated by almost every single movement you made, and worse of all, it was humiliating. Social suicide to admit that you had something like that.
Now thrush isn’t that much of a big deal, really. But then again, those who say stuff like that are:
1. Those who probably will never get infected the way girls do. That includes the entire male population of the world who will probably never itch and smell himself in that way.
2. Those disgustingly lucky women who the rest of us secretly hate. All I can say is, their time will come…
Thrush is an infection caused by a yeast fungus called Candida spp. Small numbers of Candida spp. commonly live on the skin and around the vaginal area and are usually harmless. The immune system and the harmless bacteria that also normally live on the skin and in the vagina usually stop Candida spp. from thriving. However, when conditions are good for Candida spp. (like a badly, if ever cleaned bathroom is used by no less than 200 girls per day), numbers multiply and may invade the vagina and cause symptoms. Conditions like dirty pit toilets (yes, my school believed in archaic bathroom conditions) without an adequately closed off base that stops hot air rising from the clogged pits…
My dear, sweet friend caught this pretty embarrassing issue and went home to get treated, away from the sniggers of girls and the indiscreet school doctor whose credentials were more than a little doubtful. A man, as rumour had it, would share every juicy detail about a girl’s sexual assault to other students if given a listening ear.
Now, the traditional treatment was not fun. First of all, it was believed, and maybe still is, that in order to stop thrush from occurring at the infected area, that is, the vulva and the skin around it had to be scrapped with a razor. When infected that area of the skin is already weak and peeling and incredibly painful. “Ouch” isn’t enough to quantify the pain that image did to my body just thinking about it.
Secondly, that newly scrapped area had to be submerged into a basin of hot, anti-septic water for a period of days at least twice a day. I wish I could swear on this blog, but I’ve been warned in writing and over the phone that the F word and the S word aren’t words I’m allowed to use. But by all means, feel free.
Thirdly, and thankfully, less brutally painful, she underwent a series of medication where pessaries (vaginally inserted pills) and orally taken drugs were used.
I guess what I’ve been trying to say through this very sad and painful post is that, all that stress and pain and humiliation she had to go through for what?
I was brought up to think that women who have thrush are to be laughed at. I never got any form of sex education or any real information that referred to “the talk” in high school (where I was told by my biology teacher that if I sat on a toilet seat that had sperm on it that I could get pregnant) or by my parent (who till this day still refuse to recognise that their kids may probably have sex before they get married in the catholic church).
I’ve known young ladies who have suffered in silence for months at a time because they were embarrassed to confide in anyone, or even go to a hospital or gynaecologist to seek treatment. What’s even sad is that thrush isn’t even a sexually transmitted disease. And it does make you wonder – if people react so negatively to a vaginal infection that has nothing to do with sex, what else are they hiding under there?
If educational institutions can’t even get the courage or initiative to discuss feminine hygiene that goes beyond washing “that” area properly without using the appropriate words, then when are we going to have the courage to discuss other important issues like HIV, gonorrhoea or even contraception? They believe that ignorance is key to reducing the rate at which young people have pre-marital sex. But then, they fail to realise that with hormones, anything can happen.
Instead of holding vital information back that could potentially save someone’s life, why not give them the information and trust that as responsible individuals that young people will be able to make their own choices? Why not help, instead of laughing at a girl who has trouble with an issue she’s embarrassed about?
When we give young people access to relevant information, we give them the power of choice, the power to make their decisions knowing that whatever they pick, whatever the outcome gives them the confidence to be responsible members of the society, to be empowered young men and women around the world that could contribute their views, to the development and advancement of their communities and the world to a larger extent.
Information and the use of said information is key to ensuring innovative solutions to issues concerned with sexual and reproductive health.
Feb 1, 2013
Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.
States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. At the other end of the spectrum is Oklahoma: With 22 abortion restrictions, it has more than any other state. The chart below, courtesy of Remapping the Debate, has the full list. You can also gohere for an interactive version of the graphic, which will let you look at what type of restrictions each state has set.
Jan 31, 2013
Text message conversation:
Friend: What up!
Me: Chillin. You?
Friend: I gotta talk to you but I’ll text you in a bit….
oh man. this might be big.
Me: What’s up ma?
Friend: Nothing what up?
Me: How was school?
Friend: Fo sho! So Umm I gotta talk to ya…
breathe, Rebecca, breathe.
Me: What’s up?
Friend: So umm I kinda need something… From you..
Friend: Lol… Take a guess.. “be protected”
Me: For you?
no, Rebecca, for her cat. of course it’s for her. get it together!
Friend: Mhm.. Lol
Me: Is this something you want?
Friend: Not that I want, I need it. “stay protected” lol you have them…
Me: Yes I know, but have you and _____ talked about this? And have you had time to think about what you want?
Me: Okay, I had to ask. I trust you and I’m glad you asked me. Is there a certain time you need it by?
Friend: I don’t need it soon. Whenever you can (:
Me: Okay, well I want to make sure you have them for protection when and if you need them. I assume you haven’t talked to your mom about this?
why, Rebecca? why are you making assumptions? have you learned nothing from your social work classes??
Friend: We’ve had the “talk.”
Me: Ight lil’ ma. If you have any questions just ask
Friend: Ight I will (:
This was a conversation between a friend and I from a couple of weeks ago. If you can’t tell by the coy wording, we are talking about condoms and sex. Looking back on the conversation I wish I would have just said condoms and sex instead of “it.” What can I say? I was caught off guard. I have known this friend of mine all her life. She is a special person to me, and I consider her to be a little sister, especially since I don’t have any younger siblings. I have always been very open and honest with her, hoping that she would return the favor by trusting me, and I’m glad she did.
Back when I first began my activism with sex education and sexual health, I asked my middle/high school aged cousins and friends about the type of sex ed they were receiving in school. Some were a little embarrassed and tried to laugh my questions off, while others were straight forward and told me that they don’t remember learning anything, but that so and so was pregnant and had to leave school for a bit. No matter which way the conversation went, I always ended it with something like this, “I just want you to know that I will always be here for you, if you ever need anything. I’m in college, and I remember my years in high school; I know sex happens. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you this, if you choose to have sex you should respect yourself and your partner by using protection.” I didn’t want to come off as preachy by telling them what to do, but I wanted to get a message across.
When I started having sex I had no formal education and had to research everything online. You can imagine how amazing that process went. I feel that I knew more than some of my peers because I knew that you could get pregnant “even if he pulls out,” and that you can’t get pregnant by having oral sex. However, I didn’t know that oral/anal sex are still sex, so condoms should still be used.
I have always had a great relationship with my parents, but in high school I was scared to talk to them about sex. Growing up in a devout Catholic household might have that effect. I wasn’t scared of them, but I didn’t want them to judge me or get angry. I didn’t know how to approach them. Now, things are much different. My parents are very much aware of the work that I do, and they respect me for it. While there is one particular issue we don’t see eye to eye on (I’m pro-choice, they are pro-life), we still respect each other and love each other. I often joke with my mom and tell her we will probably run into each other at a rally but will be on opposing sides. She rolls her eyes and responds with something like, “estas loca,” and I tell her to pray extra hard for me.
I love my parents, family, and friends. I’m glad that my relationships are always strengthening and growing thanks to the big questions and conversations that allow for both parties to gain trust. These conversations are important, not only for the obvious reasons like preventing pregnancy, STI’s, or HIV, but also to have healthy relationships with the people you love or care about.
Jan 28, 2013
Let the record show that this U-DGurl is in absolute LOVE with Laci Greene!
I am literally watching her video on “A is for Abstinence” and I think it’s such a great thing to do for those who need (and may not need) to be informed about abstinence and making the choice
She’s funny and so real…did I mention funny, too?
I do wish there was a Laci Greene symbol back in my high school days. So many girls grew up, confused about the changes in their bodies, confused about their desires and the world they lived in that seemed to change after they discovered two weird things growing on their chests. And what towhere telling you was worse, the “grown ups” we turned to made it their duty to give developing girls and growing boys the most untrue and confusing information possible. Either that, or they made you feel guilty about know what was happening to your body. It’s Yours! It’s your duty and privilege to know as much as possible about your body, your likes and so on without anyone, anywhere telling you that it’s wrong and sinful to.
Jan 24, 2013
Tell Them is proud to announce the release of a new report: 25 Years and 250,000 Teen Pregnancies Later.
This report examines the multitude of research surrounding the need for comprehensive sex education programs in South Carolina.
The report highlights 5 major problems with current sex education programs:
- - No accountability for what is being taught in sex ed classes
- - Lack of teachers trained in health education instruction
- - Information provided to students is not medically accurate
- - Discriminatory information being imposed on students
- - No “checks and balances” on the local level
The Comprehensive Health Education Act was passed in 1988. Twenty-five years later, we are still facing the same problems. Condom use among teens is down (67% used condoms in 2005, 58% used condoms in 2011); more than 50% of high school students (and nearly 20% of middle school students) report that they have already had sex; and there are an average of 68 newly reported cases of Chlamydia or Gonorrhea in youth every day.
This should enrage every parent in our state. Let’s see this report as the catalyst for change. Visit www.reformsexed.org now and email your legislator. Tell Them that you support sex ed reform and demand that we get comprehensive sex education programs in our schools.
While the report focuses on information released Monday by the New Morning Foundation in their new report A Sterling Opportunity, the Tell Them analysis also examined recent studies by the South Carolina State Alliance for Adolescent Sexual Health, the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the 2010 US census, the CDC’s annual youth risk behavior surveys and a regional report published last year. For a complete list of sources, visit our webpage.
Jan 20, 2013
Jan 17, 2013
So just who are we? We are the SOUTH CAROLINA CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS CAMPAIGN. Check out our video link below to learn more about the great work we contribute to the sexual and reproductive health movement!!
Jan 17, 2013
Sex does not have a mind of its own, but YOU DO. And hopefully your mind is telling you to always practice safe sex using a contraceptive or barrier method. Now in the real world, we know that these options are not always available when we are “in the moment” and in these cases, withdrawal may be necessary, especially if you are having sex unprotected. It mayfeel good, but be smart about it. I know you’ve heard the saying, “when in doubt, pull out”… but just think, you can already protect yourself, be safe, have birth control handy, and wrap it up!!
Jan 17, 2013
Oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills, are mainly prescribed by doctors to prevent pregnancy. They can also be used to lessen cramps and heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle (what a relief!). Ladies, it is important to follow the instructions that are given on the tablets so that your body adjusts properly to the medicine. Stay in control of the birth control, don’t let it control you! For more information on Oral Contraceptives and other Contraceptive options, please text SEXT to 74574!
Jan 13, 2013
Click on the link to see the images in full!
Jan 11, 2013
Political Info and Laws in Brief
- Governor Rick Snyder (R) is anti-choice.
- The Michigan House is anti-choice.
- The Michigan Senate is anti-choice.
Michigan bans a safe abortion procedure and has unconstitutional and unenforceable criminal bans on abortion.
Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay
Michigan has a partially unconstitutional and unenforceable law that subjects women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays.
Counseling Ban/Gag Rule
Michigan prohibits certain state employees and organizations receiving state funds from counseling or referring women for abortion services.
Refusal to Provide Medical Services
Michigan allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals.
Restrictions on Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan restricts low-income women’s access to abortion.
Restrictions on Young Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan law restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent.
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)
Michigan subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals.
Michigan law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide the same coverage for contraception.
Low-Income Women’s Access to Family Planning
Michigan provides certain low-income women increased coverage for Medicaid-funded family-planning services.
Protection Against Clinic Violence
Michigan law protects women seeking reproductive-health care and medical personnel from blockades and violence.
OTHER RELEVANT LAWS
Post-Viability Abortion Restriction
Michigan restricts post-viability abortion.
83% of Michigan counties have no abortion provider.
*an issue that does not affect *just* women.
Jan 10, 2013
One of the important aspects of South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign is our social media advocacy efforts, however, these efforts don’t always garner the attention they should as an educational/awareness/entertaining tool. This social media advocacy campaign seeks to keep young adults abreast to news relative to reproductive health by providing daily updates to popular social media websites such as Facebook, twitter, and Amplifyyourvoice.org. The beauty in this effort is that it requires little effort outside of your daily social media perusing and you gain tons of insight that can be useful when making random conversations with strangers in the mall. Don’t take my advice, try it for yourself. Contact us on facebook at facebook.com/sextd! Also, check out our FREE text messaging line, SEXT to the # 74574 for additional info and resources.
Jan 9, 2013
During one of my previous PPPs, I made a comment which provided some new insight into common thinking about contraception. During our discussion, we were talking about LARC’s, which are long acting reversible contraception. LARCs are forms of birth control which can last upwards to 10 years depending on the brand. What is so special about LARC’s is that they provide the perfect opportunity for a young lady to really make one decision that can impact her life for years to come. Think of it like applying to college, you apply to college to finish not to drop out half way through the semester. That is the same way that we should think about LARC’s because they are an effective planning tool to preventing unwanted pregnancy. Although they are more expensive on the onset, as time passes, they will essentially pay for themselves. Imagine putting together a 5 year plan after you graduated college. On that 5 year plan, you wanted to graduate for college and apply to graduate school. To take an extra precaution, why not make sure that you are protected from pregnancy throughout that time because if we all know anything, it’s that sometimes “things happen.” Why not take it upon ourselves, to ensure that those things don’t impact our preconceived plan.
Jan 8, 2013
In my new role as a Family Planning Assistant, I have been speaking with teens about their reproductive health nearly every day.It never ceases to amazes me what teens do, or rather don’t, know about sex.
At the beginning of each consult, I have to ask a series of questions about the teen’s sexual health and history. I was surprised to see that many of them claimed to used condoms, at least sometimes. However, something that was a little disturbing to discover was that most of them did not know what “STI” stood for. After explaining the acronym as sexually transmitted diseases, many still weren’t sure what I was talking about. So while they know to use condoms for pregnancy prevention, they do not know the risks involved for catching a disease because they weren’t using a condom. Fortunately, I have been given the opportunities to further explain it to them. For every teen that comes to our clinic, they are given free birth control and STI testing. It makes me really happy when many of them opt for all the testing, and leave the clinic with a bag filled with a years worth of contraceptives and condoms. It excites me to know a difference is being made. Teens know they can come to our clinic and get the help they need, even when they are afraid to turn anywhere else. The first question teens usually ask is if we are going to tell their parents they came in. It just goes to show that lines of communication must be made if parents want to stay involved in their children’s lives, and more importantly, their reproductive health care.
Jan 7, 2013
We hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful Holiday Season and is looking forward to a prosperous and productive New Year! We would like to inform you that the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign has extended the deadline for the Youth Activist Applications. The SCCAC is now accepting applications for youth and young adults (ages 16-29) to serve as a Youth Activist working on sexual and reproductive health issues in the Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Orangeburg areas! We are recruiting to create a team of highly qualified and motivated youth and young adults to work with us on our New Media Campaign program.
We are looking for youth and young adults (ages 16-29) who have a true passion and interest in the field of sexual and reproductive health, who live in the Charleston, Greenville or Orangeburg areas, and are willing to work in the their community to make a DIFFERENCE!
Please pass this information and application on to all youth and young adults who would be great advocates for sexual and reproductive health, and most qualified for the job. Please see the attached flyer for additional information about the Youth Activist positions. Attached to the email you will find flyers for dissemination.
Click here to download an application. The deadline to apply is Monday, January 14th, 2013.
Learn more about the campaign at www.southcarolinasafersex.org. Please contact India Walters, Program Associate for the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign, at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Thank you for your assistance in the recruitment process. And remember, the application deadline is Monday, January 14th, 2013.
Program Associate, South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign
Advocates for Youth
Jan 7, 2013
When I attended the One Voice Summit in Washington D. C. on November 16-19, 2012, I didn’t know how they were going to fill one hour, much less three days with information about how the environment and reproductive health were related.
After attending the conference, I learned how the world is acutely affected by our reproductive choices through population control, sustainability, and resource consumption and how we are affected by the environment we live in. The reproductive system is one of the most easily affected by its environment. In one instance, an umbilical cord was found to contain approximately 287 industrial chemicals. We’re being exposed to more chemicals at an earlier point in our lives and it’s affecting how we reproduce. Phthalates, BPA, and PAH are in the air we breathe and the everyday items we use. These chemicals have been linked to premature births, endometriosis, genital abnormalities in boys, sperm damage, reduced sperm count, and hormone disruption, to name a few.
Needless to say, this is some pretty serious stuff. When I arrived home, I was determined to change my lifestyle and start living more eco-friendly. Although I had recycled before, I became even more rigorous about recycling and making sure nothing recyclable was being thrown away. No receipts, no water bottles, no cans. Though this was a good beginning, I still found myself surrounded by toxic chemicals. I swapped out cleaning supplies for white vinegar, began leaving my shoes at the door, avoided plastic like the plague, and looked up my personal care products using cosmeticsdatabase.com. It’s so easy to change a few simple things in your lifestyle that can cause a world of difference in your toxin intake and your carbon footprint. There’s even an app for that. The free GoodGuide Mobile app allows you to scan the barcode of an item and find out its health, environment, and society scores, combining them to give you an overall rating. It’s so simple, even my mom can do it.
As a result of this conference, I found out more than I ever thought possible about how environmental issues and reproductive issues go hand in hand. It caused me to reevaluate my choices. I don’t reach for bottled water anymore. I make sure that I know what my products have in them. This conference made me want to research the things in my life that I took for granted. Because of that, I’ve become an organic gardener. I’m attempting to change my life, it’s true. But, I’m also attempting to change the world. And it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
Jan 6, 2013
Recently during a late night visit to the Gas station, I ventured into the bathroom. Unlike many of my gas station pit stops, I noticed something that had me quite excited for a moment. I noticed that the gas stations had dispensers that sold condoms for a dollar. Also, if you forgot that to spray on that cologne, you can get a small tube also. I was quite elated because buying condoms in the gas station bathroom provides some anonymity that some people truly desire. To make a long story short, one can go to the gas station bathroom and get condoms and cologne, and therefore be prepared for wherever the night may take them.
Dec 26, 2012
‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-condoms. For this fall semester of being a GACC safesite, I decided to give out the 500 condoms during the holiday season. Sure, it ended up being the very end of the fall semester, but how can you resist using “wrap it up” as both STD-avoidance advice and gift-giving talk? Answer: you can’t. So, after making festive GACC flyers and equipping each of them with two condoms and an instruction sheet, I distributed them throughout the dorms; just in time for finals and Undie Run, which, yes, is exactly what it sounds like.