Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sexual Health Awareness Week Review

Last week we held RUSU’s first ever ‘Let’s Talk Sex,’ Sexual Health Awareness Week.

Generally speaking, students have a lot of sex – but not always safely – and for that reason it is incredibly important to keep an active check on sexual health. Unfortunately going to a sexual health clinic remains a taboo and this is one of the main things RUSU is attempting to change!
In an effort to tackle this stigma, RUSU attempted to break the world record for the most sexual health screenings carried out in 24 hours - the aim being to encourage people to come en masse, hopefully highlighting how simple getting tested really is!  In addition to asking individuals to get involved, we also encouraged competition between committees of JCRs, sports teams and societies by offering free Summer Ball tickets to the committee who got the most people to come and get tested. The competition got pretty fierce but in the end it was cheerleading who won and got an amazing 39 people tested!

After 24 hours the grand total tested was 528 people, smashing Surrey Union's record of 460.

We were over the moon with this result! The nurses at the clinic were also incredibly impressed and very surprised! (They thought we'd only get 50!) I hope this campaign has demonstrated how simple testing really is and emphasised the importance of having regular check-ups – it is recommended to do so every 6 months. Tests can be picked up from the clinic or university medical practice at any time.

Other events in the week included a sex ed. class run by ‘Sexpression UK’, a screening of ‘Philadelphia’ hosted by LGBT who also spent the week raising money for National Aids Trust (NAT), along with the RAG and RUBaking societies selling world aids day ribbons and cakes! Collectively they raised around £250!

Finally, the campaign culminated in the ‘Safe Sex Ball’ held on World Aids Day. We had some excellent Moulin Rouge décor (including a giant windmill!) and some class performances from the likes of UniTrash and Fleur. We had a great time on the night and a near sell out during Week 8 suggests we didn’t do too badly.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in the success of this week, particularly the Student Officers and Ben (our LGBT Part-time Officer) who really deserves a huge portion of the credit for any successes. Lastly, thanks to every person who came to an event, who got tested and who packed out 3sixty for the Safe Sex Ball. I’m really proud of what we achieved in this campaign; hopefully it will help trigger a change in attitudes towards sexual health at our university!

Happy Week 9, work hard and play safe!

Sophie Davies
VP Welfare and Representation

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