Grand Rapids Community College student leaders—including one dressed as a banana—were passing out condoms on campus Monday and Tuesday to promote a safe sex and and awareness event scheduled for 4 p.m. today at the Raider Grille.
While sporting the banana suit Eirann Betka, president of StandOUT, the GRCC gay/straight alliance club, was putting a clear garbage bag over the top of her costume to demonstrate how to put on a condom.
“This is about keeping our students safe,” Betka said.
Ross L. Pike, president of GRCC College Democrats and member of StandOUT, said they were successful over the past two days in handing out the 1,000 condoms donated by Planned Parenthood.
“We ran out faster than we anticipated,” Pike said.
The informative event about safe sex taking place today, called “Safe Sex 101,” was created as part of the national Sexually Transmitted Diseases Awareness Month.
STD awareness month is a time to raise awareness to all people on the importance of getting tested for STDs. The most common STDs are chlamydia, herpes and gonorrhea. With young women being the most commonly affected, there are around 3 million cases of chlamydia reported every year. But STDs like chlamydia are passed through unprotected sex and can often be prevented by using condoms.
Even though chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics, STDs like HIV and AIDS are lifelong and require continual treatments. About one in five Americans is living with HIV and does not know. This is why it is so important to get tested.
“Student Life has had many negative phone calls,” said Emily Smitter, president of Campus Activities. “Some students are just really unhappy.”