Service is informing about sex

By Lynn Kallal

Because of a greater demand on campus, NIU’s Health Enhancement Service is providing more sex and health risk information.

The service has been spending a lot of time emphasizing problems and solutions of sex issues. “The service is focusing a greater percentage of time on sex issues because the need for information is in greater demand on campus,” said Steve Lux, service representative.

“The main goals of the Health Enhancement Service at this time are to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and to inform students about, and reduce the cases of, sexually transmittable diseases (STDs),” according to Michael Haines, coordinator of Health Enhancement.

ealth Enhancement began its information campaign in the fall by putting up boxes in the residence halls filled with information about sexual diseases, communication between partners and contraceptives.

“We also sent letters to many teachers offering to be guest speakers in their classes,” Haines said. Also, there is a literature case in the waiting room of the University Health Service, containing information on a variety of subjects, he said.

There also have been a number of public service announcements printed, stating “Sex is never an emergency—Be sure to minimize the risks.”

The reason for the increase in attention is simply the increased need of the campus, according to Haines. “In many ways, it has been the area that has been ignored. It’s difficult to deal with these subjects on the college campus … it’s difficult to communicate.” The subject of sexual risks is a major reason students visit the health center, he said.

“The media has been stressing that the drug problem is the main reason the students visit the health center, and this is not true,” he said. “The greatest reason is the usual cold and flu. The next reason is recreational problems, like sports injuries. The third reason are matters about sexual health.”

“There’s quite a lot of interest coming from the students on the campus. The students tend to be shy, thinking that this will be another anatomy lecture from high school about reproduction,” Haines said.

ealth Enhancement makes itself available to give talks to groups, clubs and residence halls.

“We will continue this project through this semester and evaluate the results in the summer. We want to know if this approach has an effect,” he said. “We want to know the best ways we can reach the students.”

The one notable issue that has not been stressed is the problem of AIDS. There have been only two cases reported in DeKalb County, but none have been treated at the health center, Haines said.

“There is not a highlight on AIDS here because there is not a great need. AIDS is not a serious health threat to the students today, but it’s just a matter of time before it does become a threat on campus,” he said.

aines said, however, that if a person is careful in preventing the problems of today, such as STDs, the likelihood of developing AIDS is considerably less.

Although there are only a few reported cases in DeKalb County, there have been 780 cases reported in Illinois since 1981, primarily in Cook County. AIDS seminars have been planned by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) to inform nurses, substance abuse counselors and other health workers in this area.

James Long from the IADDA said these seminars are the first to be held outside of Cook County. One session will be held in Rockford, February 11 to 13. Others are scheduled in Springfield, Peoria and Carbondale.

The seminars will discuss the virus, how it is transmitted and how to reduce the risk—along with how to help patients and families deal with death, said Mary Ann Anderson, IADDA program coordinator.