I’ve used the following program several times with my freshmen residents and it provides them with important social interaction as well as a fun way to learn about STDs, pregnancy risk, etc. It goes something like this:

Get a group of about 20-30 residents together of mixed gender (I usually pair up my floor with another RA’s). Prepare a paper bag with 4 or 5 different pieces of candy for each resident. Without telling the students what exactly is going on, have them interact 3 to 5 times with different residents (gender is not important) by having the person reach blindly into the other’s bag and taking a piece of candy and then the other resident in the exchange doing the same. After residents have completed this, tell them that the people who they exchanged candy with were actual sexual partners who they had unprotected sex with. (Statisitics show that most college seniors have had at least 3 unprotected sexual encounters!!!) Emphasize that the blind exchange of candy is representative of the exchange of STDs, etc. that can take place when people don’t protect themselves. Next have the students sitand find out what diseases they have as a result of their behavior.Each piece of candy would be assigned a consequence. For example, a mini Snickers bar would be Genital Warts, Smarties would be Herpes and a Jolly Rancher would be an unplanned pregnancy. When revealing what candy is what consequence, I give out basic information about disease, ways to avoid as well as ways to cure it (if a cure is possible.) I have found that this program keeps the residents captivated and they don’t feel as if it’s one more Sex Ed program that they don’t want to go to. Instead they want to figure out what diseases they might have and really think that it could happen to them if they’re not careful. As one of my resident’s put it, "If I could really come back with chlamydia and herpes and be pregnant after only 3 incidents of unprotected sex in four years, then I’m going to use a condom every time." I think that shows that the program works! Karen Irene Short

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