Safe is sexy: free HIV testing, condoms and more
From November 30 to December 1, a series of safe sex events are taking place at Concordia — starting with Free Rapid-HIV Testing organized by Health Services and the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and Health Service's Annual Condom Give-Away.
Take the test
The free rapid-HIV testing is happening both days from 12 to 4 p.m. in Room 711, on the Sir George Williams Campus. It's sponsored in part by Clinical Projects Grant from the Ordre régional des infirmières et infirmiers de Montréal/Laval, as well the CSU Special Projects fund. The CSU, Queer Concordia, Health Services and the Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association (CUPA) are collaborating to run the testing events.
To choose from a variety of free condoms at the give-away, simply go to the Atrium of the J.W. McConnell Building (LB) on the Sir George Williams Campus. You can always get free condoms at the weekly Healthy YOU at CU information table, or come by Health Services Condom Boutique where you can choose from a variety of condoms, "3-for-$1"!
“The goal is to remind students that regular STI testing is a normal part of taking care of your health, just like going to the dentist,” says Gabriella Szabo, health promotion specialist with Health Services. “And students get their results in 20 minutes, rather than 10 days.”
Be informed and empowered
December 1 is World Aids Day and a perfect occasion to have a clear-headed conversation about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). CATIE, a Canadian online source for information and resources about HIV and AIDS, is a good place to learn more about the history and contemporary reality of the disease.
The Concordia University Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS has its fourth event on December 1 from 6:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts. London artist Conal McStravick will discuss the impact of the AIDS crisis on art and parallel queer activist movements at the event, entitled Meet Stuart Marshall - Art, Activism, and the AIDS Crisis: Learning in a Public Medium.
Consent is essential to practicing safer sex. Last February, the two-day student organized fair, called Sexpress Yourself, helped propel the dialogue on campus about safe and consensual sex with similar events.
At the time, Jennifer Drummond, coordinator of the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) explained: “We want to reach as many students as we can and make sure they know about our support services and activities,” she says.
“Outreach activities like this are also great opportunities to start important conversations and provide information about consent, bystander intervention and preventing sexual violence.”
Learn more about safe sex by reading Health Service’s 16 Safer Sex Practices.