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Mr. Condom visits UA Mall

By Ryan Bolin
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 17, 2000
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UA students brought cameras to campus yesterday so they could get a picture with local sex-ed icon, Mr. Condom.

The walking prophylactic's visit to the University of Arizona Mall was part of Sexual Responsibility Week 2000, which concluded yesterday with a mass distribution of condoms, T-shirts, brochures and other free paraphernalia.

The week was sponsored by the Campus Health Service, which has been coordinating National Condom Week here since 1987.

Lee Ann Hamilton, a health educator for Campus Health, has tried to expand the scope of Condom Week to include a spectrum of issues and perspectives.

"We like the idea of a broader umbrella of topics than just condoms," she said.

Campus Health also offered a one-hour class called "Contraception 101" aimed at men and women. Students learned about various birth prevention methods, from the pill to Norplant to spermacides.

In recent years, Condom Week has evolved to include education and awareness about contraception, sexual violence prevention, relationships and abstinence. Volunteers spent yesterday out on the UA Mall handing out materials and surveying students.

The Pima County Health Department was on hand offering free, anonymous HIV Testing.

The Health Department will continue offering confidential tests today from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the second floor of Campus Health. Today's tests cost $16 and results will be back in two weeks.

Representatives from the Oasis Center, Planned Parenthood, the Teen Center and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation distributed information about their organizations and fielded questions from students.

Emily Duncan was one of the volunteers recruited from a course dealing with AIDS education and sexual health. Duncan, a pre-nursing sophomore, found the experience enlightening.

"It reminded me of a lot of important things I learned a long time ago. Doing this helps de-mystify condoms and the stigma surrounding safe sex."

The Oasis Center conducted a survey to gauge sexual activity on campus and gain a better understanding of how students behave in relationships.

Hema Khan, advocate for AmeriCorp, explained the goal of the questionnaire.

"We wanted to take the chance to get an idea of what people are looking for in relationships and how they interact with each other."

The results will be used for a normative media ad campaign to educate students about healthy relationships. The center offers free counseling, advocacy, and other services for students.

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