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Students have sex with cups

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By Janie Frank

Associate News Editor

[email protected]

March 3, 2015

   “Let’s have sex,” Jasmine Tazi said to a classroom full of University at Albany students.

   Tazi, the public relations and outsourcing director for the group Service is Key (S.I.K.), did not mean that the students should literally have sex with each other right then and there. Instead, every student had a clear plastic cup on their desk with small confetti-like pieces of colored paper inside. Each cup had only one color in it. A Lifestyles ultra thin condom was also placed on every desk. Students were encouraged to walk around the room and shake the contents of their cup with another person’s to mimic the act of having sex.

   The event, called F*#k Me, was held by S.I.K. with the purpose of teaching students about safe sex and the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

   Colors inside the cups were orange, purple, green, red, blue, and yellow, but by the time the exercise was over, nearly everyone had an assortment of colors in their cups. Only one person used the condom that was also placed on the desk, and by the end he only had one color in his cup.

   “How many people have the color green in their cups?” Avita Tarachand, vice president and treasurer, asked. About a third of those present raised their hands. “Green represents being HIV positive.”

   The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate how easily STDs can be transmitted.

   Tarachand then invited Meaghan Carroll, a director of Education with the Upper Hudson branch of Planned Parenthood, Inc., to speak to the classroom.

   “More than 1.2 million people in the United States have an HIV infection,” Carroll said.

Carroll proceeded to explain that there are 20 million new STDs every year in the United States.

   “Albany has one of the highest chlamydia rates in the state,” she said. “Three out of four women with chlamydia don’t know they have it.”

   Nearly half of the new STDs every year occur to those in the 15-24 age group.

   “Having sex is awesome,” Carroll said. “But you have to take responsibility to do it safely.”

   There are multiple steps a person can take to be sure they are having safe sex.

   Carroll recommends getting tested for STDs at least once a year, as well as before having sex with a new partner. Planned Parenthood can work with students, she explained, so that parents do not have to know that their child was tested. Often, these tests are free or at a minimal cost.

   Another way to have safe sex is to use condoms. If someone is allergic to latex, there are still multiple options, including vaginal condoms or special non-latex condoms. Carroll warned against using lambskin and sheepskin condoms as they do not prevent against STDs. There are also many false rumors about pregnancy prevention.

   “Having sex standing up does not prevent pregnancy,” Carroll said. “Putting a yellow skittle in your vagina after sex does not prevent against pregnancy.”

   “What about smoking weed?” someone towards the back of the classroom asked.

   Carroll paused.

   “If you smoke a substantial amount of weed, it can limit your sperm count. But it doesn’t really prevent a pregnancy from happening,” she said. “I mean, think about it. Snoop Dogg still has plenty of kids.”

   If you are interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment, visit www.plannedparenthood.org or call 1-800-230-PLAN.

   To learn more about Service is Key, visit www.myinvolvement.org/organization/serviceiskey.

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