Advocates Taking Action, a new UNC-Greensboro student-led organization, received a grant from Planned Parenthood in order to inform college-aged students about safe sex and health care.
The sex education forum was the organization’s first event.
Tia Jarrell, a junior and the Vice President of Advocates Taking Action, told attendees that the the group was created as a way for students to come together and discuss sexuality and safe sexual practices in a way that they might not have been able to before.
“It’s basically for the students on campus, giving them an outlet,” Jarrell said.
Mary Connor-Hill, a representative from Planned Parenthood on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro gave an informal platform.
Connor-Hill has been working for the organization for 10 years and has been doing sex eduction for 5 of those years.
“I love coming back here and getting to work with you, these are exciting times. This is not your high school’s sex ed,” said Connor-Hill, an alumni of the Public Health Department at UNCG.
She explained the services Planned Parenthood provides, including cancer screenings, gynecological exams, emergency contraceptives as well as male services such as infection screening and treatment.
As an open forum, many students asked questions and used an anonymous question box.
Questioned ranged from safe sexual practices to questions about certain products.
Some of the questions included were:
Is it sanitary to have sex outside?
Connor-Hill explained the practicality and cautions to consider.
“It is sanitary but to be safe, perhaps not a public bathroom, and remember that it may be illegal and if you get caught, you may be fined or taken to jail,” Connor-Hill said.
When performing oral on a woman, is it fun to use a barrier?
“Yes. Dental dams, thin flavored barriers ranging from mint, banana, to blueberry and so one, or saran wrap can be used. This is important because they protect people from sexually transmitted infections,” Connor-Hill said.
Connor-Hill stated that the top sexually transmitted infection (STI) that most people get is gonorrhea, which can be treated by antibiotics.
What is a female condom?
“It exists. The third version is coming out with a double sided sticky tape.”Connor-Hill said. “It is 95 percent effective, preventing pregnancy and STI’s.”
How safe are piercings?
Connor-Hill supported piercings, but stressed the importance of hygiene.
“They can be safe no matter the area so long as they are kept clean and follow the ‘Don’t do anything for 3-6 months’ rule because it is healing,” Connor-Hill said.
She also discussed the later-in-life practicality of piercings with attendees.
“If a woman later decides to have a child, the metal must be replaced by plastic. It also helps with breastfeeding,” Connor-Hill said. “Piercings are great, I encourage you to get them.”
What are the odds of contracting Hepatitis A?
Connor-Hill expanded on the origins and likelihood of contracting the illness.
“Hepatitis A is usually in the food industry, perhaps from dirty restaurants where the cook or whomever touched the food has not washed their hands. Therefore, it is unlikely in terms of transmission,” Connor-Hill said.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) was also introduced through this discussion. It is a pill that people who may not have HIV but are at a high risk of getting it can take to prevent the infection.
According to Connor-Hill Hepatitis B or C are also unlikely.
“Newborn babies are given shots for Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C is more concerned with needles, usually involving drugs,” Connor-Hill said.
Questions continued from the audience, and Connor-Hill addressed the commonly misconstrued idea that a woman cannot get pregnant while on her period.
She told the audience that is is “Possible. It depends on the a person’s ovulation.”
Connor-Hill was adamant about being safe in any situation and stressed the importance of getting check ups in order to be aware of one’s health.
“The most important thing is to practice safe sex and to use what is available including condoms and birth control, which is 99.7 percent effective,” Connor-Hill said. “Those who are anemic should take a placebo for one week before starting on birth control and to keep in mind that antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of birth control.”
She told the audience that gynecologists suggest that “women should start pap smears at age 21, and it is recommended that those under 25 should get tested every six months.”
An official interest meeting for Advocates taking Action will be held on Feb. 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Elliott University Center, Claxton Room.
Categories: News, Uncategorized, UNCG Students
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