National Condom Week celebrated at FAMU

Florida A&M students participated in an international flash mob to promote safe sex Wednesday. The event, endorsed by Condom Nation and rapper Cassidy, was organized to spread condom usage awareness.

Students engaged in various activities on the Set to support National Condom Week and its message. Several candidates running for FAMU leadership positions were also involved with the flash mob and encouraged other students to participate as well.

Artaveya Ingram, a health care management student from Tallahassee, said the flash mob was helpful in bringing light to a sensitive issue.

A lot of people choose not to talk about sex out in the open, Ingram said. But this event, though small, impacted FAMU students and addresses issues with the potential lack of condom use in a fun way.

The promotion of safe sex was scheduled during the week of Valentines Day to encourage lovers across the world to make good decisions.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report from 2011, there were 1,412,791 reported cases of chlamydia; 321,849 cases of gonorrhea; and 14,330 combined cases of primary, secondary and congenital syphilis. The CDC estimates that nearly half of young adults 15-24 are infected with a sexually transmitted disease each year. It also estimates that more than 1.1 million people at least 13 years old in the U.S. are living with HIV, including the 18 percent who are unaware of their infection.

Students at the University of California-Berkeley first developed national Condom Week in 1978. However, Valerie Bernard, a heath care management student from Deerfield, was unaware that such a week existed. She believes National Condom Week holds little value.

I think the week is absurd and quite pointless because I doubt anybody else has heard about it, Bernard said.

Local promoters of safe sex, such as Bond Community Health Center and Student Health Services, disburse condoms to combat the large numbers of young adults being infected with STDs and the number of unplanned pregnancies.

Taraus Jerelds, a student peer educator, estimates that the health clinic on campus distributes about 100,000 condoms annually.

Alyssa Crawford, a pre-nursing student from Ft. Lauderdale who coordinated the event, said promoting safe sex is the most important aspect of this flash mob. She said she was inspired to bring the event to FAMU by a co-worker who works for Condom Nation.

The ultimate goal of this event is to spread awareness about safe sex and to get FAMU students to bond on a deeper level for a great cause, Crawford said.