By Steven Adamo
Combatting misinformation on sexual health, Chair of Social Sciences Marcel Morales presented a wide-range of information Tuesday on how to maintain good sexual health.
The presentation was hosted by the Gender-Sexuality Alliance Club, who decided the topics of the discussion during last week’s meeting.
Morales also worked at HIV-prevention centers and as a grad school professor.
After years of working in the field, Morales described sexual health as a journey a person takes because there’s always something to learn.
“As we age, as we have different relationships, as viruses change, remember that this is a journey and you’re not going to understand everything today,” Morales said. “Sexuality is a road that changes with experience and age.”
Morales explained the differences between asymptomatic and latent infections and how regular testing and condom use among males are the best way to stay protected.
Morales also said that “it isn’t always an STI.” It could be dermatitis, molluscum, bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
He said that these issues can lead to physical illness, stigma and self-blame—leading to psychological and emotional distress.
Morales encouraged students to take preventative action toward maintaining good sexual and mental health.
Morales encouraged students to use the resources provided at the student health center on campus if a health provider is not an option.
Risk factors to avoid, Morales said, are poor communication regarding sex and unhealthy emotions and attitudes toward sex.
Substance abuse plays a negative role in sexual health, Morales said.
Other tips Morales suggested are to wash your body before and after sex and recommended urination after sex to avoid urinary tract infections.
He recommended choosing a favorite condom to not only ensure there’s no allergic reaction, but to understand how to open and operate it.
Morales also explained that our gender and sexuality have a lot of variety and that we don’t have to fit in one thing or the other.
“What being trans is about is a journey that every individual has on their own in their own gender and sexual expression,” Morales said.
Though only one person asked a question out loud, most opted to write down and submit their questions anonymously.
Student questions ranged from how to improve communication about sexual health with partners to side-effects of drugs like PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and PEP, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.
Both PrEP and PEP are 99 percent effective, Morales said, though PrEP requires a daily dose whereas PEP is taken once every 28 days. However, he said that new prescriptions of the drug require regular checkups, including inspections on the liver. Since PEP is one strong dose, it has a stronger effect on the liver than with the low-doses of the daily PrEP.
Morales said that even though PrEP and PEP have improved the lives of so many people, it’s still a good idea to communicate and wear a condom. Condoms are tested for safety before they are able to be sold in the United States, Morales said, and most of the error comes from the user.