Jared Hafen and Mackenzie Bray, both from Utah Aids Foundation, workshopped students who attended the queer sex ed workshop on Feb. 28. The workshop had information and resources available to all students, regardless of gender or sexual identity, so that they may better educate themselves.
During these types of workshops, Hafen and Bray make it a priority to have a fun and comfortable environment for those participating and wanted to get educated. Screened windows allowed privacy, and assurance of a safe space. “This workshop is good to get informed and provides a space for LGBTQ members to feel comfortable and able to ask questions they may have,” explained Andrea Hernandez, diversity & inclusive programs coordinator.
This event focused on educating students on safe sex practices, testing, as well as risk factors. Attendees were able to submit anonymous questions via WSU diversity’s Facebook page. These questions were later answered by Bray and Hafen.
There are many stigmas attached to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Bray and Hafen hope to educate the community and end the negative stigmas attached to STIs.
Bray began the class by going over the common STIs. Many people are aware of the various types of STIs, but are not familiar with the effects from each one. Each infection can affect different areas of the body differently. A common misconception for STIs, is that there is only one test for all the infections, this is not the case.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, about half, or every one in two, sexually active persons will come in contact with an STI by the age of 25. The CDC also reports that there are an estimated 20 million new STIs that occur within the United States every year, with around half of those individuals falling in the age group of 15 to 24.
Knowing not only of the different STIs, but also educating the students on prevention is just as important. Located on the third floor in the Union building, Weber’s Women’s Center provides various condom styles for students. Along with the various prevention methods, PREP is a pill that many people are unaware exists.
PREP is a pill that can be taken to help prevent HIV. PREP is taken daily, similar to birth control. Utah Aid Foundation encourages those sexually active to take the PREP pill as part of their prevention.
“High school level sex education course doesn’t educate the students as much as is needed for their individual needs,” said Andrew Crookston, LGBTQ+ awareness chair on the Diversity board of WSUSA.
Utah Aid Foundation test site is located at 1408 S 1100 E Salt Lake City. Their hours of operations are 5-7 p.m., Monday-Friday. Planned Parenthood in Ogden and Weber State women’s center are available to students with any questions or in need of assistance.