As Simon Fraser University students wandered through the Academic Quadrangle (AQ) on January 24, they might have bumped into a group of students who were distributing free condoms and pamphlets containing sexual health information and services that are offered at SFU. This student-led group is called Condom Crew and it is one of SFU’s Health and Counselling services’ Peer Programs.
Condom Crew is an initiative that was found in 2008 by SFU’s Health and Counselling services and it is a sexual health focus group that promotes the sexual health services available at SFU.
The club is currently comprised of nine members from various academic disciplines and operates during the fall and spring semesters. Condom Crew provides outreach programs once every two weeks, with the next one scheduled for February 7, 2018.
In addition, the club’s outreach programs are theme-based, where they touch on a plethora of sexual health related topics such as birth control, sexual consent, and sexually-transmitted infections (STI) testing.
“[We provide themed outreach programs] just to let students know what’s available to them here [at SFU because] some students don’t even realize that there are real doctors and real nurses [on campus],” said Belinda Aikenhead, team lead for Condom Crew. “[The Health and Counselling services are] a great resource and we just want to get the word out that it’s available.”
Currently, the SFU Health and Counselling services provide STI testing, urinary tract infection testing, and Papanicolaou tests, as well as birth control consultations to eligible SFU students. The health and counselling services also educate students about STIs, birth control options, and pregnancy counselling, according to its website.
There are clinics currently located at SFU Burnaby and SFU Vancouver, in Maggie Benston Centre and Harbour Centre, respectively. The clinics have drop-in hours but it is advised that students book an appointment ahead of time to avoid long wait times. In addition, the doctors at the clinics can do anything that a general practitioner can do, not just strictly sexual health, according to Aikenhead.
“[Having a club such as Condom Crew on campus] makes it more approachable, when you have a peer, someone approximately your age . . . because if you have to go to the [health and counselling office] yourself it can be a little bit intimidating. So it’s like a friendly introduction as to what’s available on campus and [also] another way to provide support,” stated Aikenhead.
Aikenhead also noted that the Health and Counselling services are very LGBTQ+ inclusive. “Some students who are LGBTQ+ may be a little hesitant to approach their healthcare providers but the staff [at the centre] are well trained and accepting,” she added.
As for Condom Crew’s future, Aikenhead noted that she is trying to make the club more LGBTQ+ inclusive. “[This is] something that I am working on so that for future Condom Crew going forward, it will always be more explicitly inclusive,” said Aikenhead. “We want to make ourselves known and make students aware of what’s available to them,” she concluded.