Roadrunners get ready: Health services start safer sex initiatives

Ramapo’s Health Services are implementing safer sex initiatives to help educate the Ramapo college community about pregnancy prevention and supply them with the tools and resources needed to stay safe. 

Data from the 2022 National College Health Assessment, which Ramapo students participated in, showed that there was a decrease in pregnancy prevention on campus. According to the assessment, 54% of Ramapo students who are having vaginal sex are not consistently using condoms. The national average for students not using condoms during vaginal intercourse is 12%, putting Ramapo well above.

To push back against these statistics the Acting Associate Director of Health Services Kara Maxsimic and Health Educator Megan Johnston put their heads together to come up with three initiatives to make safe sex more accessible to the Ramapo student body, which are the STI testing clinic, weekly Free Condom Friday and the newly-implemented Roadrunner Ready Kit.

“Our hopes was that it’d be a fun way to get condoms delivered right to the student,” said Maxsimic. 

The Roadrunner Ready Kit mirrors a subscription box where students can customize what they want to receive and have it delivered or ready for pick up biweekly. Students can customize their kit to include flavored condoms, dental dams and pregnancy tests.

Students can receive them discreetly, by having them sent to the mail room in the Lodge or pick them up from Health Services directly. Similarly, Health Services’ Free Condom Fridays kiosk that is set up outside of the building on Fridays also allows students to pick up condoms discreetly.

“When we do [the National College Health Assessment] again in two years, in 2026, we should hopefully see an… increase in condom use and pregnancy prevention.” 

Through the CDC, Maxsimic saw that there was an increase in STIs among the 15-to-24-year-old population by 7% from 2017 to 2021. 

“We know that [college students] really need support and education on safe sex,” said Maxsimic. “We hope, of course, that it creates an environment where they are having safer sex, but we also hope that it opens lines of communication, so that they know they can come to us.” 

Health Services also offers two types of plan B to students seeking emergency contraceptives. Students no longer need to have an appointment for progestin-based plan B but are required to look over a fact sheet to ensure that the type of contraceptive they’re receiving is the best fit for them and their situation.  

Other forms of plan B offered do need a prescription and would require an appointment. Students coming to Health Services seeking abortions would be referred to Planned Parenthood. 

On Tuesdays, Health Services provides a walk-in express clinic for STI testing. Students can walk in with no appointment, leave a specimen and leave. 

“That is in hopes of making it a really quick in and out so that it increases the number of students who are getting screened because they don’t have to see anyone,” said Maxsimic. “It’s kind of like a self-service screening.” 

Students with a known exposure or symptoms should make an appointment instead of using the express clinic because they can only do rapid tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

“We want students to use these initiatives… We want them to know that they’re available and we want them to take advantage of them,” she said.


Featured photo by Jessica Hammer