Safe Sex in the Stacks

Condoms May Be Distributed Next Semester: Pudwell

Photo Christopher Curtis

The Concordia Student Union, Queer Concordia, the 2110 Center for Gender Advocacy and Health Services are wrapped up in negotiations to provide distribution centres with free safe-sex kits on campus.

Collective member of Queer Concordia Joey Donnelly said he wants to provide students with “the holy trinity of sex products: lube, condoms and [latex] gloves.”

The project is in its developing stages, but Concordia Student Union VP Sustainability and Promotions Morgan Pudwell said that the sex kits might be available to students as early as next semester.

“We’re hoping that [the sex kits] will be [dispensed] in the library because it is 24 hours, so you can get them when you need them,” said Pudwell, adding that she would like to see them in student residences as well.

Concordia currently offers free condoms in selected locations around campus, but Pudwell doesn’t believe that the services provided are sufficient.

“Some places charge you, have strange office hours, or people may feel uncomfortable going to these places to specifically get condoms, and they don’t always have supplies for the whole year,” said Pudwell.

After Queer Concordia purchased $1,000 worth of condoms during the 2010 spring semester, Donnelly said that Concordia Health Services manager Julie Gagne expressed interest in creating a program to distribute safe sex kits to students around the university because of the high levels of Sexually Transmitted Infections on campus.

According to Statistics Canada, chlamydia infection cases have been steadily increasing since 1997 and are most common among young people: women aged 15 to 24, and men aged 20 to 29. Seventy per cent of men and women in Canada have the Human Papilloma Virus. Also, HIV positive test results have increased 20 per cent from 2000 to 2004.

“[People seem to think] that HIV/AIDS is an ‘80s, ‘90s phenomenon and goes away,” said Donelly. “Guess what? It hasn’t, and at Concordia, we are all sexually diverse. We’re just a powder keg of sexuality, so we have to be safe.”

The student groups feel that growing STI rates among a sexually-active demographic create a need for this service.

“To have that kind of access [to safe sex kits] is unprecedented,” said Donelly. “But at the same time, there may be some naysayers who don’t want to see that on campus.”

Pudwell said that there had been no complaints or restraints on the project yet.

“We’re sure somewhere along the line someone will say that they don’t think it’s appropriate, but it’s not like people are going to take the condoms and have sex all over campus,” said Pudwell.

“There’s a lot of research that shows when you give out free condoms, people do stupid things with them, like blow them up and draw faces on them,” she continued. “But that’s just people getting more comfortable with the idea of condoms.”

The CSU, Concordia Health Services, Queer Concordia, and the 2110 Center for Gender Advocacy were supposed to meet Nov. 1, but the rendezvous was postponed in order to get more student groups involved.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 12, published November 2, 2010.