Students choose condoms and learn about safe sex practices at Health Services’ yearly event
Concordia’s Annual Condom Giveaway, organized by Health Services, was held on Nov. 24 in the mezzanine of the Hall building, with a goal to promote safe sex and STI prevention.
The two health promotion specialists at the event were Owen Moran and Gabriella Szabo, there to answer any questions students had about sexual health.
Free condoms were available at their table in a variety of flavours, colours and styles. Students were able to choose any three they desired whether it was three banana-flavoured condoms or a variety, such as unscented or thin.
Pamphlets and informative sheets about safe sex practices and maintaining sexual health were available, including one about 16 Safer Sex Practices. Practices included using a barrier, such as condoms, during sex or participating in activities where body fluids are not shared, such as touching with clothes on. Also, the practices outlined sharing relevant information with each other about sexual history and STI status and getting tested for STIs.
“Getting tested regularly [every six to 12 months] is part of taking care of your sexual health,” said Szabo. She added that if you are experiencing any burning sensation, fluid discharge, leakage or pain around the genital area, it’s important to address the problem quickly by booking an appointment with a doctor or going to a walk-in clinic the day you’re experiencing pain. Concordia’s Health Services offer free services for STI testing, as well as vaccinations and contraceptive counselling for students.
“Communicating with your partner is important, [and] having those honest conversations about when was the last time you got tested, [is] adopting a positive attitude towards safe sex practices,” Szabo said. “These conversations should be done with no judgment, honesty and a ‘I’m taking care of your health and you are taking care of my health’ [attitude].”
STIs can be passed on by non-penetrative ways. “Things like skin-to-skin touching or body rubbing in the genitals area can transmit an STI such as herpes, so this is why barrier methods are important,” Szabo said. Oral sex can transmit STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia into the throat and then it can be transmitted to the next partner. There is an increase in mouth cancer that is caused by HPV so some people use condoms during oral sex, get tested for STIs and get vaccinated for HPV, she said.
Students should try and develop a positive attitude towards condoms, said Szabo, as it is the best way to practice safe sex and protect your sexual health.