Don’t be afraid to wrap it up

Don’t be afraid to wrap it up

By Editorial Board

College students should have access to sexual health information and resources, something that the Northern Star Editorial Board believes NIU excels at.

“Consistently, the county’s [chlamydia] rates have exceeded the state except Chicago rates and, in some years, have also been above the total state rates,” according to the 2012 DeKalb County Community Analysis.

With DeKalb County’s numbers surpassing those of the state except Chicago, university sexual health should be given priority. NIU should focus on alternative ways to offer contraceptives that would encourage students to use them.

NIU Health Enhancement offers students free contraceptives at locations throughout campus. Unfortunately, NIU officials need to work on providing students with a location to attain these contraceptives that is free of the stigma surrounding sexual health.

Free contraceptives are available on campus in the Wellness Promotion offices at Health Services and the Chick Evans Field House service counter, the southeast entrance and rooms, 121, 139 and 154. Community advisors can provide condoms to the students within their jurisdictions. Even though these condoms are essentially “across the hall” for students living on campus, the stigma surrounding sexual health makes it difficult for students to want to obtain them in public areas.

“I used to get [condoms on campus] but not anymore,” said Miguel Garcia, senior hospitality management major. “I felt a little awkward [getting condoms on campus] because they just have them out in the lobby for anyone to grab.”

Instead of asking students to approach a counter or ask their community advisors for condoms, NIU officials should take the initiative to move them to more secluded places to give students the opportunity to have privacy on an intimate matter.

Andrea Drott, associate director of wellness promotion, understands the stigma that surrounds grabbing condoms in full view of others.

“At our condom counter, we’re not asking for IDs or for people to tell us anything other than ‘are you an NIU student,’ and ‘please don’t take more than 10 [condoms] at a time,’” Drott said.

Other universities across the country have introduced free condom dispensers on their campuses. At California State University, Long Beach, the Center for Latino Community Heath installed condom dispensers in the bathrooms of their student and recreation centers, according to a Feb. 6, 2016, Daily Forty-Niner article.

Adding more up-to-date free condom dispensers to the university would allow students to get condoms while giving them the privacy they deserve and hopefully help DeKalb battle the high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases.