Organizations and businesses of different interests gathered Nov. 3 to educate students about sex at the college’s annual Talk to the Sexperts event.
Present at the event were representatives from the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, the National Abstinence Education Association and Babeland sex shop. These organizations set up booths on the upper floor of the College Center and offered advice, literature and services to interested students.
Planned Parenthood’s table offered pamphlets, temporary tattoos and free condoms. Aurora Jewell, field organizer for the Great Northwest chapter, was eager to discuss the true nature of her association’s goal. Its mission, she says, is to ensure that all people have access to reproductive care.
“Some people think our focus is on abortion–––that’s false,” Jewell said. “About 97 percent of our resources are used on prevention, and about 3 percent on abortion.”
Babeland is a female-run sex toy store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Shannon Solie, an employee of the store, set up a table displaying various products available in the store. She encouraged young people to explore their sexual feelings.
“Exploration equals happy, healthy fun,” Solie said.
National Abstinence Education Association set up a table with pamphlets advising students to wait until marriage to have sexual intercourse. The literature countered claims that abstinence-centered education discourages birth control education. The foundation’s mission is to encourage students to “make the healthiest sexual decision, which is to abstain.”
NAEA differentiates itself from other sexual education organizations by saying young people can avoid having sex too early. Officials say other organizations assume people can’t avoid the temptation of sex and only focus on reducing the risk of sexual behavior.
TPCHD offered various brochures on sexual topics, as well as information on its services. They also administered free STD tests. The tests were administered on the spot; subjects give urine samples to the workers on duty, and call back in a week to find out the results.
These booths were punctuated by a presentation from the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.
The foundation presented Ramona, a woman who is HIV-positive. A native of California, Ramona contracted the disease in 1997 but didn’t discover it until two years later, when she was pregnant.
“By the time you feel sick, you’re knocking on death’s door,” said Ramona, who now resides in Federal Way with her boyfriend and children.
In her speech, Ramona discussed how being HIV-positive has changed her life. She stressed that everyone–––especially young people–––get tested for STDs, and that they encourage their partners to do so as well.
“If your partner won’t get tested, they aren’t worth it,” she told students.
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