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SHEP Talk

Hooking Up Healthy Since 1970

Just Wear It!

 

justwear

Hello everybody! I hope everybody is taking care of themselves now that finals are less than two weeks away. Wednesday was a law paced tabling day. The weather was a little iffy. After my morning class I ran over to the table rent out area to ensure that the SHEP table had a tent to protect it from rain.  Since the weather was rainy, not many people came out to the table during my shift. Those who came through were very interested in SHEP and what the program has to offer. One person that came to the table asked me about the different lubes. I explained to her the condom activity. In this activity two condoms are blown up like balloons. One of the condoms is rubbed with baby oil or another oil based lube while the other is rubbed a water based lube. The condom rubbed with the oil-based lube will burst. This is a really fun activity that sends the message home that people should not use oil based lubes with condoms.  During tabling I passed out many JUST WEAR IT bracelets. These bracelets are super stylish. I even took one for my mom.

 

-SHEPI Vidhi

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…SUPER GONORRHEA

gon
Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI, meaning it can be treated with antibiotics. However, like any other
bacteria, gonorrhea mutates. Over time, the bacteria continues to mutate as it is treated by
antibiotics and slowly the bacteria becomes resistant to treatment. This mutation has lead to
Super Gonorrhea, a strain of bacteria that is resistant to all treatments. Essentially, this means
that anyone who contracts this strain has to live with gonorrhea for the rest of their life. That is
definitely not super.
So how do we prevent the spread of Super Gonorrhea and the creation of more super STIs?
Follow these tips.
1. Protect yourself!
The best way to protect yourself from STIs is to use barrier methods. These methods prevent
fluid to fluid contact and skin to skin contact and the transmission of bacteria and viruses.
Barrier methods include external condoms, internal condoms, and dental dams.
2. Get tested!
If you are sexually active, you should get tested every six months. This is to ensure that you
stay clean and get treated when you have an infection.
3. Ask your partners when they were last tested!
Knowing you are clean is only half the battle, you also have to know the status of your partners.
The best way to do this is to be open and honest with your partner. Make sure you are
nonjudgmental and supportive. You can even go get tested together.
If you want more information about Super Gonorrhea or other STIs, come visit our clinic every
Friday in Health Promotion at the Tang Center from 12pm-3pm.
Stay safe and sexy!
Sexpert Taylor

Discussing STI’s

Hello Everybody! One Wednesday I gave my second workshop to my dorm floor. My cofacilitator was SHEP student Leader Mariya. This workshop was about STDs/STIs. The reason I chose this topic for my second workshop is because one of the participants from my last workshop asked for this topic specifically. She told me that many college students have a vague idea about how to protect against STDs but many do not know about common treatments.  I agree with her.  About 8-9 kids came to my workshop. These kids knew one another so the atmosphere was very supportive and comforting. In the presentation, Mariya and I focused on HPV, Chlamydia, and Herpes since those three are the most common on college campuses. We also discussed the differences between bacterial and viral STIs. In case you don’t know, viral STI’s usually can’t be cured. The virus can law dormant in a person’s body and act up once in a while. This doesn’t mean that the symptoms of a viral STD/STI can’t be treated. For example, herpes is a viral STD/STI but its flare-ups can be treated with antiviral medication that makes the flare ups go away faster. Bacterial STI’s can usually be cured with antibacterial medication.  After going over the common STI’s we discussed the importance of communication. It is important to communicate with partners about your own sexual history and their sexual history. That way you know what to be cautious for and you will feel more comfortable engaging in sexual activity with your partner. After all communication is lubrication! This workshop was a fun experience for me. I loved talking to my audience and getting their feedback on certain subjects.  I can’t wait to do my next workshop!

~SHEPI Vidhi

Opening Doors and Minds

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For my final project I decided to do 3 workshops to my dorm building. I am a freshman so, like most freshmen I live in student housing. After a semester of living in student housing I noticed many of my peers were open to experimenting, whether that may be sexual experimentation, style experimentation, or hobby experimentation. Thus, I thought it would be perfect to conduct my workshops on the floor lounge. Before I conducted the workshop, many of my floor mates, came to me for advice and information after they learned that I was in the Sexual Health Education Program.  That solidified my decision to conduct a workshop on my floor. I decided to hold two workshop sessions. The first session would cover two topics while the second would cover one. For my first workshop I decided to go over sexual debuts and sexual safety.  For my second workshop I decided to go over STDs/STIs because it was specially requested.

I was very nervous for my first workshop because I didn’t know how my community would react. Although there are many members of my community who are very positive about and interested in sexual information there are some members who are negative. That is why in the beginning of my first workshop I created community guidelines that the participants as well as the facilitators have to follow. The community guidelines mentioned how the workshop is meant to create a comforting environment that is judge free.  In this first workshop I tried to emphasize open-minded thinking. What one person’s definition of sex is may not necessarily is another person’s definition. In addition, what one person defines as virginity my not be another person’s. I also emphasized the use of the phrase “sexual debut” rather than virginity. This concept was really important for me to emphasize because I wanted my floor mates to realize that they need to focus on themselves not what other people think.  After discussing sexual debuts, I focused on barrier methods of birth control. My cofacilitator, Reyna, and I discussed how to use dental dams, insertable condoms, and regular condoms.  We did some demonstrations with the barrier methods and played some games like the dizzy condom. My first workshop was more activity filled than my second workshop. The reason being is because I wanted everyone to engage in the conversation and ask questions.

My second workshop was more information based than the first workshop. In this workshop we covered STDs/STIs and focused mainly on HPV, Herpes, and Chlamydia. We also discussed the differences between viral and bacterial STI’s. This workshop was much smaller in terms of participants but the participants tended to be more serious about the subject matter.  I was more comfortable giving the presentation this time because I knew what to expect. I was also more comfortable talking about sexual activity.  This workshop flowed more smoothly than my first workshop and those who came were very supportive.

My community became more comfortable with my workshops after I conducted my first one.  After I did my last workshop many participants Facebook messaged me asking when I would do another workshop. Over time my community started to open up more to the workshops. I am very glad to see this change. At first I was very hesitant because I thought my community would react negatively to my workshops. But then they started opening up more and requesting more workshops. My community can learn more about sexual health through the building health worker. The Tang center also provides sex counseling services as well as STD/STI and HIV testing. There are many resources available to my community that they can use.  I wish my community all the best in their future endeavors.

~SHEPI Vidhi

Sicker Than Yo Average Sex Workshop!

 

autumn

Last Friday, I presented my Sexual Health workshop to my community! In the beginning of the semester, my community had been the females on the African American Theme floor; however, I expanded my community to everyone on the Afro floor so that everyone would have a chance to learn something. In the beginning, I didn’t know how many people would actually come, I was anticipating maybe 5 people to come to be honest, but 17 people actually showed up. Many people came in sporadically but we always had around 7-10 people in the room at all times, which to me was better than I could have hoped for! The topics that I presented to my community were the introduction to sexual health, sexual debuts, and sexual pleasure/body image. I decided to include a brief presentation of body image at the end because I felt it was an important topic to cover even if it was something short. For the body image workshop, Melissa and I did the activity that was done in class where we asked everyone to describe their ideal person. We later discussed the importance of loving yourself/your partner and knowing there is no such thing as a perfect person. In the end, including the body image workshop provided a nice conclusion to the workshops.

I think that my community received the workshops very well! Many people in the room seemed hesitant about attending because they didn’t know exactly what to expect, but when they were there everyone was participating a lot. More specifically everyone was willing to participate in the demos and activities. We started off with everyone going around and coming up with their sexy name. I felt like that was a great way to start the workshops because it was a very playful ice breaker to a light-hearted, yet serious workshop. We continued with the condom demo, and everyone was very interested and excited to put on a condom, which was great! For one of the last demos, we did the glove handshake and that was also really exciting to see their reaction. I think that having the demos helped make it more interactive and made everyone more curious and wanting to learn more. Everyone had really great questions, were providing great commentary, and were very open-minded. All in all, I feel like my community received the workshops better than I expected!

Before presenting, I thought that things wouldn’t go well at all. There was a minor dilemma with the projector before I started so I was already in a very antsy mood. Not to help that dilemma was the fact that I was going to stand before people on my floor and present a workshop on sex. Not many people on the floor take me seriously as is, so they were surprised that I would be presenting on such a serious topic. In the beginning, while I was presenting, I was very nervous. As I continued to talk my nerves went away and it became a very natural experience presenting for them. Having Melissa there definitely helped because she was able to answer questions that I wasn’t able to answer so easily. Everyone congratulated me after I finished, probably because they could tell I was nervous in the beginning.

At the end of the workshop, I told them about the resources at Tang for whenever they needed help. I also let them know more about the resources that SHEP provides specifically. Melissa and I made sure to especially advertise the HIV tabling we’ll be having next semester. In terms of questions they had, I told them they could always ask me about anything. I also told them they could talk to the other student leaders if they had questions I couldn’t answer. I let them know that if they had even more extensive questions they could also come see you! Overall, I think the workshops were great! I have a picture of it going on but I forgot to take a picture with everyone at the end:(

~SHEPI Autumn

There Are All Kinds of People

Today I tabled at Tang! I realized that Tang is a great place to table because a lot of people are already coming in and out of Tang, so there’s more people to reach. I think I reached a lot of people today! Many people took condoms, but the black expired tuxedo condoms got mixed in with the normal ones so I’m hoping no one took those. Other than that, there was somewhat of an incident at Tang, with someone who was rowdy, but luckily Mariya was there to diffuse the situation. Now I know that sometimes you have to take caution with people.

~SHEPI Autumn

Rainy Days and Slow Traffic

Today I was on Sproul today tabling with Vidhi. It was a rainy day so not as many people came to the table during the first hour. I would say only one person came up to us to check out the safer sex supplies. During the second hour, I tabled with Linda. The sun started to come up, so more people came. One of my friends, who is very outgoing, came to the table and did a quite interesting job encouraging others to come to the table. During that hour, many high school students who were visiting the campus came to the table. It was an interesting dynamic because they were mainly interested in the stress balls and lollipops. The stress balls were a hit though! Many people took them, but a lot more people were less reluctant to take the stress balls that were condom shaped. In the beginning third hour, I continued to table and more people came up to the booth. It also helped that it was Black Wednesday, so many black students were interested in picking up safer sex supplies. All in all, it started slow, but I’d say we reached about thirty to thirty five people

~SHEPI Autumn

Sex Positivity for the Greeks

My community that I am chose to focus my semester-long project on was my sorority, Alpha Phi. While there are 140 female members, I had around 20-30 people from my pledge class attend my workshops. I chose this community because I have been a member since September 2014 and have learned a lot about Greek life at Berkeley. Many people do not practice safe sex and I felt compelled to reach out to members of my community to educate them on sexual health topics.

The workshops I presented were “Intro to sexual health”, “healthy relationships”, and “sexual pleasure” and I spread them out in 2 workshops. The first workshop I held on Sunday April 24th with Sergio detailed sexual health, with topics including: overview of the reproductive system and pleasure physiology, testicular exams (since it was an all-female audience), and STI tbellests as well as other tests, including when and why to do them. The other topic I presented for the first workshop was healthy relationships, where I discussed different types of relationships (monogamous and non-monogamous), characteristics of healthy vs unhealthy relationships, communication, how to improve relationships, and how to deal with conflict. For my second workshop on Tuesday April 26th with Mariya, I talked about sexual pleasure, including a brief overview of pleasure physiology, sexual arousal and response, primary and secondary erogenous zones, ambiance, sex toys, and lube.

While I was excited to give my talks, I was nervous that the topics were going to be too similar to topics presented by Panhellenic (my sorority, as well as all other Greek houses, are required to attend a presentation on sexual health), and the attendees wouldn’t be interested. However, I was so happily surprised to find that the members of my community loved my workshops! I think they thought that it was going to be a normal sex talk at first, but the members of my community went wild for the “Sexy Names” –they came up with some really creative and sexy names—and for the exploding condom activity. Additionally, I brought in the sex toy kits from the Tang Center SHEP and everyone was both shocked and exciteaphid to see the myriad of vibrators, anal beads and plugs, cock rings, masturbation sleeves, and more.

Providing the workshops to my community felt right. I felt as if I was educating them on topics that both reinforced their knowledge of certain topics, like breast health and STIs, and also allowed them to learn about topics they might not have been educated on previously. I had no idea that certain topics were so new to some of my community members. It just goes to show that sexual health education is so important! At the end of my workshops, I had many people approach me and thank me for leading engaging, interesting lectures. I was excited to have finished my 2-hour long series, but there was definitely an interest in bringing SHEP leaders back the Alpha Phi for continuous sexual health education.

My community expressed interest in having more SHEP workshops and I promised them that we could provide more workshops in the future. However, I also directed them to other resources for more information. In all of my presentations, I included a slide and talked about these resources, including resources from SHEP and Tang. The resources from SHEP include the Sexpert Education Clinic (1 on 1 appointments and the HIV clinic), outreach (like tabling on Sproul), the DeCal (led by Mariya, my co-facilitator!), special events, and this blog! The resources from Tang include STI tests, health coaches, transgender services, safer sex supplies, the “Do You” campaign, PartySafe@Cal, and Be Well to Do Well.

~SHEPI Lily

Need A Little Help?

On one of the last weeks of tabling, Melanie and I grabbed a table and chairs from the Student Union and set up an awesome table on Sproul. We had Woody, lube, condoms, dental dams, pamphlets, and our best attitudes as we took on the crowds at the peak of the day. A lot of people approached us, some having never seen some of the safer sex supplies before, others returning to stock up on condoms and lube and hear more about SHEP.  There seemed to be a lot more people coming up to us—perhaps our presence grew since there were more outreach events (workshops, HIV testing, Sprouling). It was nice to be able to sit and have interested people approach us with their questions (what’s the best lube to use? Where can I buy safer sex supplies?) and gave our Sexpert advice.

~SHEPI Lily

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