By: EMILY TRENT
Sex can be a difficult subject for some people to talk about due to several different reasons. During this year’s Safety Week, IU South Bend held their first ever Sexual Health Fair open to all students on campus.
The event was hosted by the Family Justice Center, Mosaic Health & Healing Arts, IU South Bend Health and Wellness Center and Northern Indiana Maternal and Child Health Network (NIMCHN).
With the help of all four organizations, students can stay safe and learn new ways to help them find the resources they need in order to be knowledgeable about their own sexual health.
A few of the organizations talked about why it is important to have conversations about sex in order to reduce the stigma and bring more awareness to sexual health.
The Family Justice Center is a one-stop help center for victims of domestic and family violence, sexual assault and stalking.
“For us it’s important to let people know they have agency over their decisions before or after an assault and that there are resources available free of cost and confidentially” explained Amelia Thomas, SOS Coordinator at the Family Justice Center.
All four organizations pride themselves on keeping confidentiality for their patients.
NIMCHN is a not-for-profit agency that provides resources to help to improve and bring awareness to sexual health in the Northern Indiana area.
Some services they provide are low cost birth control and STD testing. They are completely confidential and do their best to see patients the same day they call in.
Julian Shock, a therapist with NIMCHN talked about why some people are afraid to get tested.
“I think the stigma should definitely be broken. People like having sex but people do not like talking about it and that definitely adds a lot to the problem. That stigma is why people are afraid to get tested” said Shock.
Shock continued, “another deterrent why some people don’t get tested is that there are some people that are very financially reliant on their parents and if they find out about stuff like this, then typically it comes with a lot of backlash, like financial and social backlashes.”
An on campus resource that is providing services to students is the IU South Bend Health and Wellness Center.
The Health and Wellness center offers confidential testing for nine types of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), including free HIV testing.
According to The Health and Wellness Center website healthscience.iusb.edu, “There are often no symptoms of an STI, which means you can have one for a long time period of time without knowing it. If symptoms are present, they usually show (typically from a few days to a month) shortly after exposure.”
The IU South Bend Wellness Center also provides free condoms to anyone in need of them.
These organizations are open and ready to help individuals with whatever they may need to keep safe and aware of sexual health.