Current Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2013 13:56:05 -0500
If you’re feeling frisky on the eighth floor of Davis, you won’t have to go far to get the protection you need.
Ten condom dispensers will soon be installed in bathrooms in central locations like the Student Union, Rams Head Recreation Center and the Student Recreation Center to give students greater access to condoms — and the ability to take them in private.
“We know from research that the provision of affordable and accessible condoms is one way to reduce the burden of (sexually transmitted infections) and unintended pregnancy,” said Diana Sanchez, a Carolina Health Educator Counselor for Sexuality, in an email.
The dispensers will be installed around April, Sanchez said.
Prevention is a major goal of the initiative, said Jesse Goldberg, outreach coordinator for the Office of Community Outreach, Dissemination and Education of the UNC Center for AIDS Research.
“The easier it is to get safer sex materials, the better it is to reduce transmission,” he said.
Goldberg said most STIs can be prevented with correct condom use.
The Carolina Union, Campus Recreation, the UNC Center for AIDS Research and Student Wellness, a branch of Campus Health Services, collaborated on the initiative. The groups will share the cost of refilling the machines.
Free safe sex supplies are already provided by Campus Health and the Carolina Health Education Counselors of Sexuality in the Campus Health building, residence halls and at certain on-campus events.
The new bathroom dispensers will allow students to obtain condoms in private.
Sophomore Cameron DuBois said she might feel awkward taking condoms from the dispenser, but she thinks others would use it.
“I feel like having comprehensive sex education is always a positive thing,” she said. “It’s better safe than sorry.”
Student Wellness is seeking student help to name the condom campaign. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions by Monday, and the winner will receive an iPad Mini.
“Sex is still such a stigmatizing thing to talk about,” Goldberg said. “Condoms are still kind of taboo — to grab them, talk about them or ask for them.”
The dispensers will be continuously refilled, so students will be able to visit a dispenser whenever they need, he said.
“People being able to get them like this is a way to reduce (STIs) for people who are afraid to get them in a store or ask their RA — to hit that target population,” he said.
Freshman Hunter McGuire said the more readily condoms are available on campus, the better it is for students.
“And hey, if they’re free…,” he said.
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