Student Health Services promotes National Condom Day

Love it, hate it or love it too much, Valentine’s Day is coming and with it, the sex drive of many students will be in overdrive.

Vanessa Flores, a 23-year-old liberal studies major, sold condom-roses this week at a small booth by the Liberal Arts buildings on upper campus. The condoms sell for $2 for five roses, and each flower is composed of a bundle of condoms that are arranged in colorful rose shapes.

Flores said that making people feel comfortable about safe sex might make them more likely to use condoms.

“Some people still feel like this is taboo,” Flores said. “We are here to have people feel more comfortable.”

In anticipation of the day of love, California State University, Long Beach celebrated National Condom Day on Thursday to promote responsible sexual behavior and STI awareness.

Christina Goldpaint, a health educator working for the SHS, said that the department’s goal for National Condom Day is to pass out condoms and teach students about “effective sexual health.”

“The most common STIs on campus are HPV, herpes and chlamydia,” Goldpaint said.

Goldpaint said that SHS is handing out as many as 400 condoms to students for free on Thursday in an attempt to prevent the spread of infections. SHS hosted the event at Maxson Plaza from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. SHS set up educational booths featuring informative panels, educational games and a prize wheel.

The goal was to provide students with the information and tools they need in order to have a safe Valentine’s night, Goldpaint said. College-aged men and women, specifically those between the ages of 15 and 24, contract the highest rates of STIs in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Across the nation, the rates for certain STIs like chlamydia have gone down slightly between 2012 and 2013. Syphilis is on the rise however, with a 10 percent increase in new cases in that same period, according to the CDC.

Gay and bisexual men are especially at risk for certain diseases such as syphilis, according to the CDC. SHS set up a panel to reach out to the LGBT community at the event on Thursday.

“Two of our peer educators are working on a sexual [educational] program for LGBT students,” Goldpaint said.

National Condom Day often uses humor and creative activities in order to reach out to students.

One booth in particular had students attempt to put condoms on while wearing beer goggles in order to simulate the difficult task of practicing safe sex while intoxicated.

“Alcohol and drugs decrease the effectiveness of condoms because it impairs the ability to use it properly,” Goldpaint said.

SHS provides reproductive information and free condoms daily to all students.

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