Dental dams, which protect against sexually transmitted infections, will become more accessible in living rooms thanks to the group’s advocacy within the Amnesty International office of New York University.
In the coming weeks, dental dams will become more available on campus and in apartment buildings. This initiative was carried out by Amnesty International’s Working Group on Sexual Reproductive Rights at New York University, which sought to build dental dams – thin latex sheets that can be used during oral sex to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections – in every place where condoms are currently issued.
“When we started looking at it, the lack of equality in access to safe sex for all genders and sexualities at New York University was something that was really annoying and hard to ignore,” said Anna Stanek, CAS and Wagner Jr. and group leader. said.
New York University spokeswoman Sean Keogan said New York University had previously provided its students with dental dams, but students called for greater accessibility. Dental dams have previously available on request in residential resource centers and readily available at LGBTQ + New York University Center and Student Health Centers.
“Our student wellness center is working to expand access to dental dams both at SHC and as part of supplies distributed across campus and in living rooms,” Keogan wrote in WSN. “Unfortunately, due to global supply chain problems, our recent orders have been postponed. We have [now] have received additional supplies of dental dams and are working to make them available in all homes. ”
During the fall semester of 2021, Amnesty International members spent several months conducting research and interviewing New York University students to assess their interest in the project. The group contacted student organizations to gain support, and demonstrated the need for New York University administration, and looked at suggestions and initiatives from other universities as leadership.
Dental dams are not widely available at other New York universities. New school offers free condoms and emergency contraception at its student health facility but does not provide dental dams. At Columbia University, there are several places on campus where students can access sexual health resources such as condoms and lubricants, but only two provide dental dams.
Daniel Ompad, a professor of epidemiology at New York University’s School of Global Public Health, said dental dams can help protect students who have sex or have multiple partners.
“This is important not only for college students, but for anyone who engages in such behavior, perhaps with more than one person, and they are not in a monogamous relationship or are not sure if their partner has other partners,” Ompad said. . . “Glory to NYU for deciding to do this at least for now. If any student can benefit from using dental dams, hurry up and enjoy it. ”
Keogan said New York has resources for awareness raising and education surrounding sexual health, including information on how to use dental dams and a step-by-step guide on how to create them. The Student Wellness Center also offers information on sexually transmitted infectionsfor free HIV testing and counseling resources and confidential online access to a sexual health educator.
Stanek said the NYU administration accepted the group’s proposal. She hopes the new initiative will serve to minimize the gaps she has noticed between the sexual health resources offered to students of different genders and sexuality.
Contact Nicole Chiarella at [email protected]