Students can access sexual healthcare resources from several spaces on campus. Graphic by Isabel Villanueva.
BEE PILARZ | NEWS CO-EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
September is designated as Sexual Health Awareness Month, and serves as a time to reflect on one’s sexual health as well as take advantage of sexual healthcare and resources. For students seeking resources, Butler has several spaces on campus that provide sexual health and wellness information in addition to healthcare. Housed within the Health and Recreation Complex (HRC), Health Services, BU Be Well and the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office work with students every day to promote sexual health on campus.
Health Services, found in HRC room 110, provides a wide array of medical care to Butler students — and offers no shortage of sexual healthcare. Students seeking care can go to Health Services for sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, Pap smears and emergency contraception. Health Services will also provide patients with access to several kinds of birth control — oral, implant and IUD — as well as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.
Director of Health Services Maxie Gardner said the quickest way for students to schedule with Health Services is to call their office, and that she hopes students know these resources exist.
“I think [sexual health is] extremely important,” Gardner said. “ … We really try to think of unique opportunities and how we can improve access for our students for all healthcare needs, including sexual health.”
In addition to medical care, Health Services has also placed a healthcare vending machine on the second floor of Atherton Union for students to access select medical supplies at their earliest convenience. In terms of sexual healthcare, the vending machine provides emergency contraception and condoms.
According to Gardner, Health Services will be partnering with The Damien Center in November 2023 and April 2024 for events where students can receive HIV and syphilis testing. Those who qualify will also have the opportunity to be tested for Hepatitis C.
BU Be Well
In addition to physical care, sexual health also encompasses emotional well-being and proper sexual education. BU Be Well is a campus-wide health and wellness initiative at Butler devoted to taking a multi-dimensional approach to wellness to help students make the most of their time at Butler. This approach includes taking a particular focus on sexual health and wellness.
Katie Wood, the assistant director of health promotion at BU Be Well, runs a sexual health supplies delivery service. Students can order condoms, lube and dental dams free of charge through a Google Form available through the BU Be Well Instagram page — @bubewell. The program delivers these supplies to any on-campus residence, and orders made by off-campus students can be picked up from the BU Be Well office in HRC room 100.
Wood said she is very passionate about spreading sexual health awareness on campus, and she hopes her initiatives through BU Be Well help students feel more comfortable when asking questions and talking about sexual health.
“There’s no dumb questions, especially when it comes to [sexual health],” Wood said. “We’re not expecting that folks have endless knowledge around this topic, so if people want to reach out to me, I’m definitely a resource.”
BU Be Well also hosts a weekly sexual health pop quiz every Wednesday on their Instagram page where students can test their sexual health knowledge as well as learn something new.
Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office
Another key part of having safe and healthy intercourse is consent. Butler hosts consent workshops and educational programs to combat sexual violence, and the Butler SARP Office serves as another resource for students to turn to during Sexual Health Awareness Month.
Abby Retz, a junior history-anthropology major, is the advocacy fellow for SARP and Butler’s Title IX Office. Retz said SARP and Title IX offer emotional support and mental health-related resources for those who are survivors of sexual violence.
“It’s incredibly important for survivors to know that there is someone behind them, supporting them, even if you’ve never met them,” Retz said. “There are so many people that are there for them because the unfortunate truth is that a lot of college students do have to face sexual or relationship violence.”
Whether it’s for medical, emotional or educational resources, Butler has several outlets for students to seek out information and care, and there is no better time than during Sexual Health Awareness Month to do so.
“Sexual health is vital to one’s overall well-being,” Gardner said. “Part of [healthcare] is caring for one’s sexual health.”