DuWell’s new Safer Sex program provides sexual health supplies to any student who requests them.
Students can request free Safer Sex kits through a Qualtrics order form. The kits can include condoms, lubricants and dental dams, which can be customized upon request to accommodate latex allergies and flavor preferences. Online orders arrive within a week after they’re placed.
Kits are also available for free in cultural and identity centers, including the Women’s Center, the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the Center for Mulicultural Affairs and the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
Students can additionally purchase certain supplies from vending machines on campus. These kits include four condoms and two lubricants. Lindsey Parker, assistant director of student wellness, noted that DuWell doesn’t make any money from the vending machine sales.
Parker said that these kits promote healthy practices and risk reduction, explaining that the Safer Sex program can help decrease the stigma around sexual health.
“Many students, maybe they had parents or families or came from a place in which they didn't really talk about safe sex supplies,” Parker said. “Even if students aren't having sex, just the idea of having them in spaces visually can be an awareness piece.”
In the program’s initial phases, students had to pick up their online orders from DuWell’s office, where a staff member or student would have to give them the kits. After receiving feedback that this made some students uncomfortable, Parker said that DuWell shifted to contactless pickup. Students who place online orders can now pick up their kits in the Oasis without having to talk to an intermediary.
“[This change] really reduced a barrier for students. And that's what this program is all about,” Parker said.
The program has been a hit with students. Parker estimated that DuWell has given out about 2,500 kits this semester between the online order form and vending machine purchases.
The Safer Sex program is funded by DuWell’s budget, and the program’s budget is based on their assessment of the demand.
Parker emphasized that the Safer Sex kits were only a part of DuWell’s efforts at promoting sexual health and safety, and that the supplies provide a gateway to have necessary conversations.
“We use these kits as a way to bring awareness of other health topics into the conversation, hopefully make it a little bit easier to talk with your partner or your friends and ask some of these topics,” she said. “This semester, we launched a campaign aimed at promoting STI testing and talking with your partner about testing.”
DuWell also offers workshops about topics like sexual health or healthy relationships, which are open to all members of the Duke community. Workshops can be requested by email, and groups can request a customized workshop to fit their specific needs.
Parker encouraged students to reach out to her through email with feedback on how DuWell can improve the program.
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Anisha Reddy is a Trinity junior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.