Photo by Brenda Lin

For a second year, the Get Yourself Protected (GYP) program is being promoted encourage Tech students to make healthy decisions while being sexually active. The campaign involves various means to spread word on personal protection, such as posters, a Condom Availability Program and other health related events on campus.

Campus offices and organizations, such as  Stamps Health Services, the Counseling Center,  LGBTQIA Resource Center and Women’s Resource Center, Pride Alliance and North Avenue Apartments, are supporting the program and offering contraceptive items for students who pass by the centers.

Stamps Health states that there is statistical evidence that justifies concerns for sexual wellbeing among Tech students. Sexually active students face common risks like many without proper protection and often, students ignore safety measures that include conventional contraceptives and protection from STDs.

“Around 64% of Tech students have admitted to engaging in sexual behaviors, but unfortunately, only half of these students are actually using a condom for vaginal sex, and very few are using the right protection for oral sex,” said Michelle Segall, a Stamps Health Educator. “The wrong knowledge concerning the effectiveness about oral contraceptives in preventing sexually transmitted disease, like HIV, is concerning for students on campus.”

Many free items for safe sex, such as condoms, are offered by other campus organizations. These giveaways were presented to give students easy access to protection. The Female Health Company and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation offered the necessary funds for many of these giveaways.

In the recent years of the program, surveys showed that students favored the Condom Availability Program and other giveaways. Other organization have even extended to  educational seminars  and health events where they can talk about safe sex or get tested for diseases, like HIV.

“We have worked closely with Pride Alliance and the Stamps Health Services Ambassadors,” Segall said. “Pride Alliance makes safer sex supplies available in their office and the Ambassadors help staff our health-related events and participate in G.Y.P. Tuesdays.”

Segall states that these opportunities are offered for the benefit of students so that they can understand the consequences of unprotected sex, but they stand to empower campus youths who choose to be sexually active. Most of these messages under the program have been supported by much of the student body.

“We have received support for the Get Yourself Protected campaign from students, faculty, and staff,” Segall said. “We appreciate the GT community recognizing the importance of this issue.”

The campaign will extend to February and will promote other highlighted commemorations to sexual health, such as World AIDS Day in December or National Condom Day in February. Also, the program will incorporate weekly posts, called G.Y.P. Tuesdays, where social media messages on the campaign’s themes will be shown to the public.

Stamps emphasizes in the campaign that sexually transmitted diseases are easily preventable, and if students can take the necessary measures to avoid infection, they can avoid long term consequences and reduce costs from necessary healthcare.