Student Health on Feb. 14 is kicking off a series of events centered around raising awareness and educating the community about issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health, Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said in a briefing Tuesday with the Daily Trojan.
The events — “Let’s Be Frank Bout Love!” at 12 p.m. and “Let’s Taco Bout Love!” at 5:30 p.m. — will include information on medical services such as contraception provisions, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases. Representatives from the sexual violence prevention team will also hold workshops on consent and healthy relationships.
“We know relationships are a really important thing for everybody and romantic and sexual and personal relationships,” Van Orman said. “But we also know that for many individuals, it’s an area where they might want to reach out and get more support and more information, and we have a variety of services. This is just a good way to get people talking about it.”
A newly relaunched page of the Student Health website will also feature information and support services for sexual and reproductive health, Van Orman said.
Student Health is organizing a blood drive Feb. 21, in partnership with LifeStream Blood Bank, at USC Village from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All blood donations will go to Keck Hospital.
“It’s great for young adults to get in the habit of donating blood regularly,” Van Orman said. “We know it’s something that’s an ongoing need.”
The blood drive is taking place in the wake of a change in national policy that will loosen restrictions around donations from men who have sex with men. Previously, federal officials justified blood donation policies excluding MSM as a way of keeping HIV out of the blood supply. In a press release Jan. 27, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would be reversing its position, proposing an individual risk assessment model under which deferrals against MSM and women who have sex with MSM would be eliminated.
“Having this policy in place … where we are scientifically [is] really contributing to stigma [and] reducing people who can donate blood, who are good blood donors,” Van Orman said. “It’s not good science, because that’s not what determines who’s at risk for HIV.”
The Biden administration announced plans to allow the coronavirus public health emergency to expire in May. Van Orman said this signifies the next step in transitioning to living with the coronavirus as a part of daily life.
“I think it’s still really important for people to still recognize that this is still a really impactful communicable disease that still results in significant numbers of hospitalizations and deaths,” Van Orman said. “But we’re going to manage it now, less as an emergency and more as something that … we have the tools to live with.”
Currently, Van Orman said, the University still has a few coronavirus policies in place. Come March, Student Health plans to announce updated vaccination policies and coronavirus testing availability for Fall 2023.
“[These are all things] we’re continuing to evaluate, [and] I think it’s important and appropriate for that transition to happen here,” Van Orman said. “I always remind people, though, that we do know [there are] individuals who are at higher risk because of their health status … so those individuals may choose and should be supported to continue to wear masks.”
Coronavirus cases on campus continue to decline, mirroring low transmission rates in the surrounding Los Angeles County. However, Van Orman noted that cases are still being detected in wastewater from campus residence halls. Even as pandemic policies ease, Student Health is still urging caution to prevent exposing higher risk individuals in the community. Influenza cases on campus are also in decline, Van Orman said, following an early peak in December.
Discovered on: 2023-02-08 08:00:00
Source: Student Health to launch sexual wellness events