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Permanent link for Why do you participate in IM Sports? on April 14, 2021

Intramural (IM) Sports are a great way to get involved at Grand Valley, and it’s not only us who would tell you that! Students will testify to the great things happening in Recreation & Wellness, including their experiences with IM Sports. Three of the students we interviewed got involved with IM Sports their first year of college, but it’s never too late to join in on the fun. 

 

ANNIE 
Sophomore; played on 8 teams for a total of 17 games in 2020-21.

“Intramural Sports are one of my favorite things that I have done on campus lately”

  • When did you first get involved with IM Sports?
    I got involved with IM Sports right away during my freshman year by making an IM soccer team with high school friends. I even met new friends through the IM Sports platform when we needed more players. I also joined my housing team’s beach volleyball team to connect with other students that lived with me. 
  • What IM Sports do you participate in, which is your favorite, why?
    So far I have participated in soccer, tennis, beach volleyball, badminton, indoor volleyball, spike ball, corn hole, and online fantasy sports league (football and basketball) that started this year. My favorite sport has to be soccer but volleyball is a close second. I played soccer for clubs and high school before coming to college and I always enjoy the chance to play soccer. I never played volleyball until my first beach volleyball game and I intensely loved the challenge of using my arms instead of just my feet.
  • What makes you excited to play your favorite sports?
    My favorite thing about playing all these sports is getting my friends active and involved in the sports I love. I also get to make new friends along the way and have a fun break from homework and studying. I love being able to play games with other students here at GV that also like to be competitive and have fun.
  • Why is it important to play IM Sports right now?
    IM sports are so important to be involved in (especially right now) because it is an opportunity to be active on campus and meet new people who have similar interests. Staying fit and being active can happen at the gym and on trails around campus, but these organized sports are a great way to add more sport specificity in one’s life and widen your skillset. 
  • How do IM Sports help you reach your exercising/wellbeing/physical goals?
    IM sports have definitely helped me reach my step goals, but they also allow me to connect with friends which makes me happy. If we only meet once a week for a game, I am still very excited to play with them again. As many of my classes are by myself, I don’t get to see the same people every week. My sports allow me to have somewhat of a routine and make life seem more normal. I have found that IM sports are not only helping me reach my physical goals but my mental health goals are being achieved too by being outdoors and spending time with others. 

 

OWEN
Junior; played on 8 teams for a total of 23 games in 2020-21

“I have so much fun just spending time with my friends and competing in a friendly environment” 

  • When did you first get involved with IM sports?
    My freshman year
  • What IM Sports do you participate in, which is your favorite, why?
    Out of all of them, I enjoy playing soccer the most, but the team plays better in sand volleyball so that’s a close second.
  • What makes you excited to play your favorite sports?
    Spending time with my friends having fun and laughing. Also, the competitive nature of playoffs and some regular-season games are a lot of fun. 
  • Why is it important to play IM Sports right now?
    To stay active and enjoy time with friends and other students on campus. 
  • How do IM Sports help you reach your exercising/wellbeing/physical goals?
    Soccer and football have made me get in better shape because of all the running. It feels great. 

 

MARTA
Junior; played on 8 teams for a total of 14 games in 2020-21

“I have definitely enjoyed IM sports and recommend it to everyone”

  • When did you first get involved with IM Sports?
    I got involved in IM sports during the first semester of my freshman year. The very first team I joined was a random soccer team as a free agent. I was a little shy and intimidated for not knowing anyone, but I ended up becoming good friends with a majority of the team. I have been doing IM sports every semester since! 
  • What IM Sports do you participate in, which is your favorite, why?
    I try to participate in as many IM sports each semester as I can. This semester, I have been a part of sand volleyball, indoor soccer, indoor volleyball, and table tennis. In past years, I have also played spike ball, kickball, softball, ultimate frisbee, and futsal. I think my favorite would have to be sand volleyball because I love diving for a ball and landing in the soft sand. Sometimes I just wish it was a bit warmer! 
  • What makes you excited to play your favorite sports?
    The reason I enjoy IM sports so much is because of the people I play with. I enjoy meeting new people on my team and also reconnecting with old friends through the sport. I love the friendly competition that takes place, especially when I am playing against a friend. I also loved trying new sports because it was a great mix of trying new skills but also knowing my teammates had my back if I ever messed up. 
  • Why is it important to play IM Sports right now?
    I think playing IM sports right now is important because it gets you active, you are surrounded by new friendly faces. It is easy to be stuck at home with online classes so this is a great opportunity to get out and do something fun with a group of friends. It is also a great chance to meet new people and make some long-lasting friendships. It is also a great time to try something new and to branch out to new hobbies. 
  • How do IM Sports help you reach your exercising/wellbeing/physical goals? 
    All of the IM sports I have participated in have definitely made me stay on my feet. I feel like I am getting the exercise I want in a fun, competitive way, rather than working out by myself in the gym. It does not only help me physically but keeps my mind sharp as well as I have to react and communicate quickly. 

 

THANK YOU to all of our participants and student employees. We hope you had fun, tried a new sport, and made some new friends! If sports do not interest you, we have many other areas for you to get involved with here at Recreation and Wellness.  

By: Caleb Danielson

 

Share your story: gvsu.edu/rec/stories
Visit IM Sports website: gvsu.edu/rec/imsports


Permanent link for Sex and Disability  on April 14, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

*Please note that the writer identifies as able-bodied, so she has included a list of influencers and educators to follow on Instagram that have lived experiences with disability and sex.

In the United States, 61 million adults live with a disability. According to the CDC, a disability is “any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities and interact with the world around them.” According to the World Health Organization, disability has three dimensions:

  1. Impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision or memory loss.
  2. Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem solving.
  3. Participation restrictions in normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities, and obtaining health care and preventive services.

People living with disabilities are often grouped into a single population, even though there is a wide variety of experiences with disabilities. Socially, those with disabilities are seen as asexual beings without feelings, desires, and needs outside of their disability, all 61 million of them. But let’s set the record straight: a disability does not define an entire person. People with disabilities can be and are sexual beings!We want to debunk some myths about sex and disability. 

Myth #1 - People with disabilities can’t have sex.
American society often tends to define sex in one way: penis-in-vagina intercourse. However, there is no such thing as real sex, right sex, or wrong sex. Sex is not exclusively penis-vaginal penetration; it is so many different things, because every body and everybody is different. Sex is for everyone and anyone who chooses to participate - as long as it’s consensual. Depending on a person’s disability, there may be some planning involved in making sure everyone is comfortable during sexual activity. For example, some people with physical disabilities choose to use devices like a liberator wedge to help with body support during sex. Or, as another example, there might need to be discussions about when or how to have sex if chronic pain or fatigue are a part of a person’s disability experience. Having open and honest conversations to make sure you are getting what you need is vital - whether you have a disability or not!

Myth #2 - People with disabilities only have sex with each other.
Nope! A person is not their disability, and it does not decide who they can and cannot have a sexual relationship with - as long as it’s consensual, safe, and enjoyable!

Myth #3 - People with disabilities aren't sexy. 
It’s important to understand that attraction is based on a connection between people, not a beauty or “sexy” standard our society has set. (Westernized beauty standards could be another whole blog series!) What people find sexy differs and is usually more than strictly someone’s outward appearance. It could be their sense of humor, smell, intellect, touch, love of dogs, and so much more. Although, wearing something sexy can also make a person feel more confident and sexier too, so it’s okay to explore that too! For individuals with physical disabilities, finding certain clothing that makes you feel sexy and confident can be harder, but it’s possible! An online shop called Elba London creates bras for people with mobility or dexterity limitations, and Intimately has adaptive bra and lingerie options, too.

Myth #4 - People with disabilities do not crave sex. 
There is a common misconception that individuals with disabilities are child-like and therefore do not desire sex or have sex; this is simply not true! Sexuality is a vital part of being human. It is physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and cultural. Every person experiences sexuality in their own way, but they experience it with or without disability. No matter who you are, the decision to have sex is a personal choice, and whether you crave sex differs from person to person. 

Myth #5 - People with disabilities don’t need sex education. 
Understanding sexual health is extremely important, whether you choose to have sex or not. Being aware of STIs, pregnancy, contraception, and overall safety is key. All people should have access to resources and tools that make sex safer, healthier, and enjoyable if they choose to engage. We know the U.S. has not done a good job of providing comprehensive sex education, and we’ve done even worse in providing specific age and ability appropriate resources to people with disabilities so that they can experience fulfilling sex lives. Also, it’s important to note that comprehensive sexual education can better equip individuals with disabilities to resist sexual violence, abuse and coercion in social spaces. Sex education is for everyone! 

Learning from those with Lived Experiences
Let’s repeat this because it is so important: people with disabilities are sexual beings! 

While, as an able-bodied person, I cannot understand having a disability and navigating sexuality and sex, I can learn from those with lived experiences. Here is a list of some amazing educators and influencers that speak directly to their experiences with sex and disability that you should follow if you want to learn more! 

Follow these people on Instagram:

While I spoke a lot about physical disabilities, you could also take a peek at this Australian blog post on cognitive disability and sexuality if you’re interested in learning more.

By: Annie Seeber, WIT Peer Educator


Permanent link for Sexual Abstinence, Virginity and Sexual Decision Making on April 6, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

As per 2018 National College Health Assessment statistics, 74% of GVSU students have engaged in sexual activity which means 26% have not. So in today's post we are going to discuss sexual abstinence and virginity.

Abstinence
Sexual-abstinence means refraining yourself from participating in sexual activities.

The interpretation of the word ‘abstinence’ may be different for different people. For some people, sexual abstinence may mean that there is no sexual activity of any kind. While for some other people, abstinence may mean not taking part in vaginal or anal sex but that practicing oral-sex, kissing or masturbation is ok. Communication is key in practicing abstinence: it is important to communicate with your partner(s)  regarding if, when, and how you want to practice abstinence.

Anyone can practice sexual-abstinence if they want to, irrespective of their age, gender, or sexuality-orientation . You can practice sexual-abstinence even if you have participated in sexual activities before. Your partner(s) should respect your choice to be abstinent, and they shouldn’t try to pressure you into having sex or any other sexual activity you don’t want to do.

There are many reason why people practice abstinence, some of them are:

  • To prevent pregnancy - or using it as a mode of contraception
  • Because of any underlying medical conditions
  • Waiting for the right partner
  • Not feeling like have sex or lack of intimacy
  • Practicing celibacy 
  • Personal or religious beliefs

Many people may also practice outercourse, which is participating in sex and other sexual activities except vaginal sex - or any sexual activity that can get any semen in the vagina.

Virginity
Virginity is slightly different from abstinence in that virginity is often thought of as something a person who has not engaged in penis-vagina intercourse has or possesses. Many times virginity is associated with the presence of hymen in individuals with vaginas. An intact/unruptured hymen is believed to be a sign of virginity. (Note: there isn’t often an equivalent definition of virginity for a person with a penis). 

But, much like abstinence, being a virgin can mean different things to different people. For some people, virginity means never had penetrative sex (vaginal, anal) before in their life. For some others, it may mean not engaging in penetrative vaginal sex anytime in their lifetime, but they have enagaged in other sexual activities such as oral sex, anal sex, etc. On the other side, some people also believe that masturbating or having other kinds of sex play- including fingering or touching a sex partner’s genitals with the hands can make people to lose their virginity. There are different beliefs and concepts regarding virginity in our society, and they vary from person to person. 

Virginity does carry a lot of emotional weight for people and while we know many people believe in virginity as a concept it is important to share that virginity is a social construct - which means that it was an idea created by society. A few reasons we think that’s important to share this? Well, you can read this blog post from the School of Sex ed for more, but they tell us that: 1) the focus on penis-in-vagina sex as the “key” to virginity erases experiences, desires and preferences of others; 2) the association between purity and virginity serves to control female bodies; and 3) you can’t tell by looking at genitalia if someone has had sex (so the myth about an intact hymen is just wrong). Perhaps take some time to explore how you feel about virginity and if you agree or disagree with its basis.

Sexual Decision Making
If you are considering having sex for the first time (or any time) there are a bunch of things you and your partner(s) should know and evaluate. You should consider the emotional and physical needs and wants of everyone involved. You should also take note of your relationship and if you have safer sex supplies available.  For more information regarding sexual decision making please checkout the ‘Ready or Not’ checklist from Scarleteen. It has so many different questions for you and your partner(s) to answer to determine if you are ready or not!

As we conclude, we want to remind you that any choice you make about sexual activity is ok if it is consensual! It is okay if you choose to be abstinent. It is ok if you choose to participate in sex or sexual activity. We believe there should be no stigma attached to either one of the choices. 

By: Sonal Subhash Mandale and Beck Lukins, WIT Peer Educator


Permanent link for Climb Every Mountain on March 31, 2021

Climbing workouts for better performance

As with any sport or new hobby, there is a burning desire to push yourself to become the best you can be. As humans, we want to see how far we can go and how far we can push the limits of what we believe is possible. This may all seem very deep and philosophical, but if you take time to think about what drives you to be better, it will unlock new potential within yourself. For me, the pursuit of climbing hard grades and performance is what motivates me the most. But, the reason for training and climbing may be different for everyone. I encourage you to find the purpose of your training and remind yourself of this when you feel yourself falling into that inevitable rut. It is important to note that noticeable improvements don't happen overnight, and to our dismay, can take much longer than we would like. The ability to stay inspired and be encouraged is often what separates the good from the great. Not every workout or drill will work the same for everyone; one exercise might work for you but not for others. Trying each exercise and doing your own research through trial and error will help you dial in the workout routine that works the best for you. 

CLIMB MORE! 
The number one thing new climbers can do to get better is climb more often! I can't stress this enough; climb more. It may seem obvious, but getting in the climbing gym and on the wall is the best way to build a solid foundation. Climbing two to three times each week is a good balance for getting better each time you go to the gym, without the added risk of injury you get from overtraining . A common misconception is that strength is the magic key to unlocking new routes. However, it's not always a lack of strength holding you back. You might be able to do 50 pull ups in a row, but if you have no technique, it will be hard to be a successful climber. It is true that people with massive amounts of strength can likely climb hard grades, but it often looks clunky and ends up wasting significantly more energy than someone with good technique. Luckily, technique is one of easiest and most enjoyable aspects to train. The number one way to work your technique is to climb more, and with easy to do drills, it can be fun. 

TECHNIQUE
Climbing can be hard work but not every training session needs to be physically exhausting for you to get better. Compared to strength training, focusing on improving technique often results in bigger improvements in a shorter amount of time. Especially for newer climbers.

Some drills for building technique:

Silent Feet: This drill is pretty simple and requires almost no gear. All you will need is a relatively easy section of wall. Then:

  • Climb while making little to no noise when your feet touch the holds. This will require you to move slowly and with precision. 
  • Climbing with controlled motions requires you to find and remain in balanced positions.
  • The goal is to improve your footwork, which is essential to be an efficient climber. In the long run, it will help preserve energy on the wall. 
  • Progress this exercise by applying it to specific paths, or “routes” on the wall and/ or adding bells to your shoes.

Single Touch: This drill works footwork, as well as precision with your hands. Pick a section of wall or two to three routes you can comfortably climb. Then:

  • Once you grab a hold with your hands or place a foot on a hold, you can not move it unless moving to the next hold. You must hold the rock in the way you initially grabbed it, no shuffling around to find the best way to hold it. Repeat the same way for feet on foot chips. 
  • The goal is to increase precision with your hands and feet. Grabbing the hold exactly where you want to on the first attempt will save energy and help you from falling because of poor hand or foot placement. 

There are other drills out there that improve technique, but these are the two that I personally use and have found success with. These drills work great as warms ups while improving the “smoothness” in your climbing. 

ENDURANCE
The biggest downfall almost all climbers have is the fight against the “pump” (or the build up of lactic acid in the forearms, which signals fatigue of the fingers and arms). Stamina is essential to climbing all types of routes and something I personally struggle with the most. The ability to complete multiple hard moves in succession is something that many climbers strive for. Training your endurance is challenging and can be physically exhausting. Fortunately, training for building climbing endurance is one of the most fun types of training because it’s all about spending more time climbing! 

Some drills for building your endurance:

Laps: This drill is very simple but is definitely taxing on the upper body. It is preferably done on a taller roped climb (aka a “top rope”) route but doing it lower to the ground, without ropes (aka “bouldering”) would suffice. The only downside of this drill on the top rope is the responsibility of the belayer (person controlling the rope and keeping the climber safe) to belay you multiple times in a row. 

  • Pick an easy section of wall or route that you believe you can comfortably climb twice in a row, but would struggle on your third attempt. Picking the right one is important; find a balance between pushing yourself but not going too hard. If you have a particular style you’d like to focus on, picking a route of that style would be a good idea. 
  • Simply climb the selected route three times in a row, only taking a break to chalk up and to check with your belay before climbing again. 

Traverse: Similar to the laps drill, this will require you to be on the wall for an extended amount of time. This drill is more accessible, as it does not require someone to belay for you. The biggest downside of this drill is that if the wall is busy, you won't be able to do it. 

  • The goal is to travel across the wall horizontally for as long as possible. Or for a predetermined amount of time or moves. 
  • Climb below the boulder line on a side of the wall, then start climbing across the wall horizontally, using any hand holds you want and using foot holds smaller than a fist. 

Hang boarding: This is a great way to strengthen your fingers from the comfort and convenience of your own home. As far as pure finger strength building goes, it's unbeatable. However, if you hang board too hard, too soon, or too often, they do present the risk of injury.  I wouldn't recommend getting into hangboard training at all until you have climbed for about a year. Your fingers are the most important body part in climbing, so it's essential to keep them healthy. If hang boarding is something you are looking to get into, I encourage you to do some research beforehand. There are a lot of great, yet vastly different, workouts available. Hang board at your own risk!

Ringing the Bell
Rock climbing has endless possibilities. From the many gyms to the thousands of established routes outside, there is something for everyone to climb. With each harder grade you can climb a whole new set of routes and areas open up for you to explore. For me training has been a way to stay dedicated to the sport and stay in shape for my own physical well-being. I learned the drills I discussed from those who are more experienced than me, along with help from the internet. Everyone has different ways to train so asking and discussing with others is a great way to expand your knowledge and make a few new friends. 

By: Owen Dingledine


Permanent link for What if we Daydream and Play instead of Hustle and Grind? on March 30, 2021

Many of us find ourselves in a revolving door of hustle and grind. School, work, life, repeat. There’s often little priority given to resting because rest can be seen as lazy and unproductive. But, research suggests that isn’t true. Just look to nature – even the trees and the plants and the soil and the animals take breaks to be the best that they can be. Yet, in the middle of an on-going pandemic, we continue to grind – but as the great Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey says – “You are not a machine. Stop grinding.”

What if instead we dilly-dally, daydream, rest, and play more?

Why the Grind Needs to Stop
Well, simply: We. Are. Burnt. Out. 

85% of college students report being overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year. 1 in 3 working adults feel burnout in the workplace. And for what? We lose $500 billion each year in lost productivity and 550 million working days due to stress on the job. It’s such a problem that the World Health Organization officially included burnout in its International Classification of Disease. 

Our productivity doesn’t go up when we grind either. In fact - we are more productive when we rest. When we give ourselves a chance to slow down and take a break, our brains are sharper, we’re more creative, get more done in less time, make better decisions, prevent illness, and are able to review and reflect on our days. And, even if our productivity did go up when we were grinding - our pay hasn’t gone up, so why are we doing it if we haven't seen a return on investment?

How to Stop Grinding: Finding Balance to Avoid Burnout
One of the best ways we’ve found to avoid burnout and find balance in life? Set boundaries - with your friends, family and yourself. It can be hard, but with practice you will make time to: engage in self-care, find enjoyment, spend time on hobbies, connect with friends, get some exercise, sleep a little (or a lot) and so much more.

So, how do you set boundaries? Here are few tips:

  1. Seek help . Reach out to those that can help, including professors. They can give you tips for succeeding in their courses.
  2. Conduct a personal audit of situations, times, or people that cause you stress or anger. This helps you recognize these circumstances in the future so you can be prepared and have strategies already in place to help you cope.
  3. Choose and set clear limits for yourself. Many times the people that cross our boundaries the most are us. It’s vital that you determine what goals or activities are most important to you (like rest, exercise, family, cooking meals, getting good grades, etc) and keep them at the top of your priority list.
  4. You should communicate your boundaries with those around you, particularly those that are most likely to cross them. And, it’s important to let someone know when they’ve crossed one of your boundaries when they do it.
  5. Practice saying “no.” No’s tend to be super hard for people to say. So it’s important to practice saying no in low risk situations - like getting a coffee for example. When they ask if you want whipped cream with that…. no. Practice in front of the mirror - wherever, whenever so when you really want or need to say no you can.
  6. Use the 4 D system. When you make a to do list, determine if you are going to do it now, defer it to another time, delegate it to someone else (like if it’s a group project or if you’re in a student organization, etc), or drop it - and just decide it’s something you don’t have to do at all.
  7. Finally, prepare for pushback . People don’t often get told no or have people enforce boundaries (because we’re pretty bad at doing it as a society). So, know that others will likely react to you enforcing boundaries - this just means the boundaries were necessary. (Also, don’t forget, you are most likely to step over your own boundaries so be prepared to keep setting boundaries for yourself!)

Keep Pressing Pause
Our societal culture of hustle and grind is why Recreation & Wellness created the Press Pause campaign for Winter 2021 – a gentle reminder to give yourself a break. Remember, that it’s okay (and vital) to rest. Even a five minute pause in our days can lower our heart rate, loosen our muscles, increase immunity, improve sleep and digestion, and elevate our overall well-being. The semester is coming to an end and we know that stress and burnout will be even more pronounced. So, plan time to press pause and honor your boundaries. And - don’t forget to keep pressing pause into the spring and summer.

Wishing you a day (month, year, life) full of daydreaming, dilly-dallying, resting, playing, and contentment. 

Want to learn even more? Request a WIT presentation about Finding Rest in the Grind.

By: Katie Jourdan, Student Health Promotions Coordinato


Permanent link for Sexually Transmitted Infections on March 29, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

April is STD Awareness Month so we’re getting a head start and taking some time to share about STDs (though we’ll call them STIs throughout the blog because that’s the newest, most accurate description).

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), previously known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases (VD) are infections that are passed on from one person to another through sexual contact. This contact is usually oral, vaginal and/or anal sexual activity. However, sometimes STI can also spread through other intimate physical contact, like herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV) which can spread through skin to skin contact as well. STI can spread through five fluids; namely, vaginal fluid, semen, breast milk, blood and rectal fluid. They spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, genital-to-mouth, genital-to-anus, mouth-to-anus, anything-to-sex toy and sharing things during a sexual activity.

If not diagnosed early or left untreated, STIs can cause serious health-complications, including, but not limited to Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID), infertility, mother-to-child transmission (example HIV, neonatal-syphilis) and neurological manifestations.

The most common symptom of an STI is: no symptom at all. Other common symptoms present are unusual looking/smelling discharge, itching or burning sensation in the genitals, or pain during sexual-intercourse. 

What does our data say about STI prevalence?
According to CDC’s Survey of 2018, one in five individuals in the United States has an existing STI. In 2018 alone, there were 26 million new cases of individuals who tested positive for an  STI in the United States, and half of them were 15-24 years old. They are prevalent among individuals irrespective of their gender or sexual-orientation.

Exploring Some Sexually Transmitted Infections
We’ll share just a little about each infection below, but learn more comprehensive information about each through the CDC.

Viral Infections: Viral infections are caused by viruses. They are treatable but cannot be cured. 

  • Human ImmunoDeficiency Virus (HIV) infection weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. In its advanced stage or when left untreated it causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which  results in failure of the immune system and can be fatal. AIDS is Stage 3 of HIV infection in which the number of T-cells present in our body decreases drastically compared to the normal count. However, most people in the U.S. do not develop AIDS anymore, and remain with a case of HIV, thanks to treatment options like antiretroviral therapy.  Treatment options are so good now that a person can have undetectable amounts of HIV in their body and no longer transmit the virus. Legally if you have HIV/AIDS, you must disclose your positive status to all sexual partners before you have sex (any act that could spread the disease) and it is illegal to disclose anyone else’s HIV/AIDS status (positive or otherwise).
  • Herpes - This common infection causes recurrent outbreaks of painful blisters (though most people don’t know they have it and may not have symptoms). There are 2 types of herpes viruses. The Herpes Simplex Virus-1 is oral herpes and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 causes genital herpes. Most people get infected with HSV-1, and it results in cold sores around the mouth. If this occurs, refrain from oral sex. HSV-2 results in blisters or sores around the genitals or rectum. 
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - HPV is a common virus that can lead to certain types of cancer later in life. We have vaccination for HPV/genital warts and a vaccine for this STI is given around 11/12-years-of-age in all genders. Men are less likely to show symptoms but they can still pass it on to their partner(s).  
  • Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).We have a vaccine for Hepatitis B STI at birth. Hepatitis B can actually be cured by prescription if treated immediately after exposure.  

Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. They can be cured with antibiotic prescriptions. This is why it’s important to get tested and if you have an STI, to get treatment from your healthcare provider.

  • Gonorrhea: A very common infection that can cause serious complications when not treated. Untreated gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Chlamydia: A common STI that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. It is often known as the “silent infection” because most people do not have symptoms.
  • Syphilis : The infection is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary). There are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage. If left untreated causes extensive damage to the nervous system.

Parasitic infections: Parasitic infections are caused by parasites or mites. They are curable by prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.     

  • Trichomoniasis: Is caused by infection with a protozoan parasite and usually has no symptoms. It is curable by prescription medicine. 
  • Pubic Lice (crabs) : Pubic lice typically are found attached to hair in the pubic area but sometimes are found on coarse hair elsewhere on the body (for example, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, mustache, chest, armpits, etc.). Lise cause itching usually beginning after 5 days after contact, but   they have no long term health effects. It is curable by over-the-counter medication or prescription.
  • Scabies: The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptom is itching. It is curable by over-the-counter medication.

How to Prevent STIs 
The good thing about STIs is that they are preventable, getting tested is no big deal, and most STI are easy to treat.STIs can prevented by: 

  • Using barrier methods during sexual-activities can prevent STIs. These include internal and external condoms and dental dams. GVSU Recreation & Wellness partners with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health to provide external condoms through Wear One. Condoms can be found in several offices all around campus for students to pick up - for free.
  • Participate in regular STI screening and health check-ups when you are sexually active. 

Not sure about which test you need, the CDC has some guidance.

  • Vaccination is another way to prevent some STIs. Vaccinating for Hepatitis B and HPV have medically proven to prevent the respective infections.

As they say, an ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure, it is equally true and applicable for Sexually Transmitted Infections and hence: Take control, be aware and educate yourself about STI and participate in safe sex practices.

By:  Sonal Subhash Mandale, WIT Peer Educator


Permanent link for Covid-19 and Victim Survivors on March 22, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

We’re excited to welcome guest blogger, Ariana Deherder, Violence Prevention Student Assistant with the Center for Women and Gender Equity .

As we’ve reached the one-year mark of COVID-19 in Michigan, it is important to take a moment to reflect on how we are all experiencing collective trauma and grief. This pandemic has impacted everyone in some way, whether big or small. Those who are dealing with the stress and trauma from COVID-19 after already having suffered from sexual or relationship violence are some of those individuals being impacted in a big way. Victim survivors are uniquely experiencing this pandemic and can be affected differently than others. Although it may not be clear at first how there is a connection between COVID-19 and sexual violence, the following sections will help to explain this strong and harmful connection.

Domestic Violence
When thinking about COVID-19 and victim survivors, the first thought that likely comes to mind is how those who are currently living with an abuser are being harmed by stay at home orders. It’s true that staying at home can be very unsafe for those living in violent situations. This can increase their risk for domestic and sexual violence, while simultaneously restricting access to outside resources and supports, like friends and family. Abusers take advantage of the pandemic by using it as an excuse to limit visitors and deliveries, errands, canceling appointments, not allowing survivors to work outside the home, and more. Given the context of the pandemic and orders to stay at home and socially distance, this can be interpreted as perfectly reasonable and can be much more difficult to resist by the victim survivor. These are typical victim-isolation tactics, but are now able to be excused as compliance with public health guidelines. Additionally, many people are feeling the economic burden of COVID-19. While this is harmful to anyone who is experiencing it, those in abusive situations may be suffering unique consequences. A loss of income could force victim survivors to stay with their abusers. Although they could have been saving up money for an exit strategy, they may have to now abandon this strategy due to loss of income. 

COVID-19 Retriggering Trauma
Victim survivors do not have to be currently experiencing sexual or relationship violence to still be facing challenges and a retriggering of their trauma during this time. Although the conversation about COVID-19 and victim survivors typically stops at a discussion about domestic violence, there is much more to unpack.Those who have experienced sexual violence in the past are facing a retriggering of trauma during the pandemic. Triggers are defined as “memories stored in our physical and emotional selves”. Those memories can resurface when experiencing specific sounds, tastes, feelings, or events. Staying at home may be triggering for victim survivors who were assaulted in their homes, leading to anxiety, fear, or symptoms of PTSD. Even if home is considered a safe space, having to remain at home for prolonged periods of time can still bring up its own set of challenges as the mere isolation of being at home can be triggering. A feeling of isolation can be a long-term effect on victim survivors, and that feeling is being heightened during the pandemic. Coping mechanisms that victim survivors used previously to manage their triggers, such as connecting with others, may no longer be as effective given the current state of the world. Further, many of us are currently experiencing changes in our body’s systems. It is normal for people to be experiencing sleeping and eating changes, high levels of anxious energy coupled with total exhaustion, and more frequent dreaming and nightmares. While this may be the first time some people are experiencing this at such a heightened level, for victim survivors, this can be reminiscent of what their bodies and minds endured in the early stages of recovering from sexual violence. 

Medical care for victim survivors
Medical care for victim survivors are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis as well. Forensic exams are examinations provided to sexual assault victim survivors to gather evidene that is suitable for use in court. These exams typically need to be conducted within 72 hours of the assault, as physical evidence is typically gone after this time period. 85% of forensic nursing programs in the United States operate out of emergency departments, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). These emergency departments have noticed a significant decrease in the volume of patients seeking non-COVID related care. The IAFN conducted a survey that found that 4 out of 5 programs have noticed a decrease in the number of patients coming in, with almost all of them describing it as a “noticeable decrease”. This could largely be a result of victim survivors fearing infection if they enter an emergency department or hospital. Under normal circumstances, forensic exams can take 4 hours or longer to complete, so it is not surprising that a victim survivor may feel hesitant to be in a hospital for that long. They may also be impacted by the social messaging we are experiencing right now that encourages people to make sacrifices for the greater good, such as avoiding entering hospitals and burdening an already overwhelmed healthcare system. Even if a victim survivor does decide to enter a hospital, the experience is changed. For a while during the pandemic, trained victim advocates were not allowed to accompany the victim survivor to the exam, leaving them alone during possibly one of the most traumatic times in their lives. 

Coping Skills 
As mentioned previously, prior coping skills that a victim survivor might have engaged previously may no longer be as effective. It is important to develop new coping skills and new routines given the circumstances of the pandemic. Here are some ideas:

Body Calm

  • The first part of recovering after a traumatic event is to calm the body and the activation of the nervous system. To accomplish this, try some of the following techniques:
    • Breathe mindfully: place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, and do 4 second inhales, a 4 second pause, and then a 4 second exhale. Set a timer for a minute or two and do nothing but mindfully breathe 
    • Low intensity exercise: high intensity workouts can exacerbate your nervous system while it is working hard to regulate itself. Therefore, workouts like yoga, swimming, pilates, or walking that won’t raise your heart rate too high are a great option for bringing your body some calm. Bonus points if you can be outside while doing this!
    • Make sure you’ve eaten: It can be easy to forget to check in with your physical needs, so take a minute to check in with your body and assess whether you’ve eaten enough or drank enough water. 
    • Trauma informed yoga: This can be a great way to bring your body some calm without raising your heart rate. If you are interested, check out the trauma informed yoga CWGE is putting on in collaboration with RecWell for Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

Mind Calm

  • After calming down your body, victim survivors may still experience racing thoughts or triggers. Here are some suggestions for how to bring your mind some relief after you’ve done so for your body:
    • Journal: in documenting your thoughts, you may want to acknowledge that you are reliving memories of the trauma. Try asking “when did I know I was safe after that happened?” Gently move your thoughts to when you knew you were safe, rather than the traumatic event itself. Continue asking yourself what or who has made you feel safe since then? Let the prompt take you where you need to go
    • Reach out to a safe person: reach out to someone who you feel safe with and supported by. Send a text, have a video chat, phone call, or socially distanced meet up. 
    • Watch a comforting show: Watching a show, especially one you’ve seen before, can bring a sense of comfort and predictability to a time that feels very unstable and unpredictable. Cuddle up with a blanket, a furry friend if you have one, and indulge in some Netflix! 
    • Say affirmations aloud: affirmations can be a powerful and grounding tool for when you are struggling. Cassandra Corrado has some wonderful affirmations specifically tailored to victim survivors on their website

If you are interested in hearing more about this topic and diving deeper into the connection between COVID-19 and victim survivors, join the Center for Women and Gender Equity  on April 7th at 4:00pm. Register for the event using the following link. Check out the Center for Women and Gender Equity’s other events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well. See you there! 

Take care of yourself, Lakers! 

By: Ariana Deherder, Violence Prevention Student Assistant


Permanent link for The Racial Sleep Gap on March 18, 2021

I can never sleep before the first day of school. The night before my first day of 6th grade, I remember tossing and turning; the nerves and stress about the day ahead take over any exhaustion in my body. This happens to me every year and most of us have been there. But for many, it's not just the night before the first day of school or a big test, it's every night. 

People of color are less likely to get 7 or more hours of sleep due to several racist factors. This creates a gap, or inequality, in sleep. Sometimes, in order to truly see the seriousness of this issue, it helps to see a visual (see Fig. 1). The CDC conducted a survey where they asked 444,306 American adults about their sleep patterns. The results are alarming; 34.5-46% of non- white adults were getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night with higher percentages of those that identify as Black or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Race and Sleep: The Facts
To put it plainly, white people tend to get more (and better) sleep than people of color. The gap is increased even further between the wealthy and the poor. This gap is due to race, income, and status. These factors intersect easily and cause an enormous amount of stress, which ultimately affects sleep, health, and overall well-being. 

Place of residence, work schedule, and job strain, amongst other factors, play the biggest roles in the racial sleep gap.

  1. Place of Residence: In a study of around 33,000 participants, researchers found a direct correlation between sleep loss of African American and Hispanic people who live in inner-city areas compared to people who live in non-urban areas. 
  2. Work strain: Due to discrimination in the workplacework place, African American and Latinx Americans are more likely to work unconventional hours and are about three times more likely to experience job related stress. Non-white people have to work harder, smarter, and faster to get to the same point as a white person. This is an exhausting, everyday battle that decreases healthy sleep patterns and not only increases the sleep gap, but contributes to many other health issues.
  3. Financial stress: People of color are less likely to be considered for higher level jobs due to discrimination in the workplace, which keeps them in lower income brackets. When most of the monthly income is spent on food, shelter, and water, other necessities get put on the back burner For example, healthy, organic foods tend to be more expensive or not available in certain areas. If a person has a low income and/or lives somewhere with less access to nutritious foods, it is much harder to find wholesome options. This can cause increased health problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, working two jobs may be a necessity for those in lower income brackets, leading to working more hours, increased stress, and inevitably less sleep
  4. Unequal Access to and Quality of Medical Care: Disparities in access to care have a broad effect on health outcomes for minority groups. For example, conditions like sleep apnea may be less likely to be diagnosed or effectively treated, or people may be less likely to discuss sleeping problems with a doctor.

Why is Sleep Important? 
Sleep is important because it allows the body and mind to repair and prepare for another day. Sleep allows the brain to function correctly, helps the body fight diseases, and is an important part of keeping your heart healthy.

There is a direct link between long-term sleep deprivation and health problems. As fellow WIT peer educator, Stella, notes in her recent blog post, “a poor sleep schedule can have very real, negative effects on people. Physically, you are at risk of a weakened immunity, weight gain, and heart-related problems such as high blood pressure and stroke. Maybe not so obvious, poor sleep is strongly linked to many mental disorders. It can impair your abilities to make decisions, cope with stress or change, and control emotions. These effects wreaked havoc on my life, and I didn’t even realize it was happening for so long!” 

Lack of sleep targets your central nervous system, immune system, respiratory system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and endocrine (hormone) system. When these body systems are out of tune, many serious health problems can occur, including:

  • Memory and concentration issues 
  • Mood changes 
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Obesity 
  • Low sex drive
  • Heart disease 

People of color experience these health problems at higher rates already, and they tend to experience even less sleep because of these health issues.

Wake Up and Smell The Racism
Sleep is so important. It re-charges us, mends us, and gives us a much needed break from the craziness in our lives. While all humans deserve a good night's sleep, not everyone gets the chance with the inequalities that exist. The racial sleep gap is a public health issue, and the United States needs to do more to close it. 

Understanding individual privilege and educating yourself on inequality, in all areas, is the first step. If you have the privilege of sleeping well each night, you can use your waking hours to raise awareness for sleep inequality. But how can you do this? By having impactful conversations with others who may not know or understand what the sleep gap is, supporting businesses owned and products made by people of color, and/or doing more research on inequality in America. Next time your head hits the pillow, you may think about things much differently. 

By: Annie Seeber, WIT Peer Educator


Permanent link for Sex While Menstruating on March 15, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

Can I have sex on my period? It’s a question that many people with vaginas have every month, and the answer is yes, you can! For the majority of people, having sex on your period is perfectly normal and healthy. It may seem “dirty” or dangerous to some, because period sex has been viewed as taboo for centuries. But, if you are comfortable, period sex can be mentally and physically beneficial. 

Benefits of Period Sex 
There are actually more added advantages of having sex while menstruating than you might think. If you’re willing to deal with the mess, you might experience some, or all, of the following benefits: 

  • Period cramp relief: menstrual cramps result from contractions of the uterus, and after an orgasm, those muscles relax to relieve the pain. 
  • Headache and migraine relief: during an orgasm, feel-good chemicals called endorphins rush through your brain, reducing your perception of pain. One orgasm could provide faster relief than an IV of morphine!
  • Natural lube: the blood from your menstrual cycle can act as a natural lubricant during vaginal intercourse.
  • Shorter periods: the intense uterine contraction that happens during an orgasm actually pushes out the uterine contents, possibly resulting in a shorter period.
  • Increased sex drive: due to fluctuating hormones, your libido and desire can increase dramatically with the increase of estrogen in your system.

In the mood, but worried about the mess? 
When it comes to period sex, there’s not really any way to keep things totally clean. To make cleaning up as easy as possible, have plenty of tissues and towels on hand. Things are going to get messy, so try placing a towel underneath you and your partner to save your sheets and mattress. Tissues are also nice to help with cleaning up after the deed is done. Also, you could try having sex on a “lighter” day of your period to reduce the mess. 

Here are some other tips to help you have better period sex:

  • Communication is key! Having an open and clear communication with your partner(s) regarding what you are comfortable doing is really important. Everyone should be on board.
  • For anyone who has tested positive for HIV, hepatitis, or any other sexually transmitted infection, the likelihood of transmitting a bloodborne illness may be increased due to the presence of period blood. Using a barrier method of contraception is an effective way to prevent the spread of any STI. 
  • While it is less likely, getting pregnant is still a possibility during your period. As always, if you are trying to prevent pregnancy, barrier methods and birth control are suggested. 
  • If you use tampons or menstrual cups during your periods, it is strongly advised that you remove them before penetrative sex to prevent any injury or displacement of the items in the vagina. 

For some people, having sex on your period can be such a liberating experience and a way to express your own body positivity in a fun way with your partner(s). But sometimes, you don’t want to deal with a mess, or maybe you are simply uncomfortable with it. No matter the reason, not wanting to have period sex is totally valid as well. Period sex can be a fun way to make the most of your time of the month in the bedroom, so don’t be afraid to embrace your sexuality and add some spice to your sex life!

By: Camryn Lane and Sonal Subhash Mandale, WIT Peer Educators 


Permanent link for The Wondrous World of Birth Control on March 7, 2021

Part of our Sex-Ed Series

Implants and patches and pills, OH MY! Oh, the wondrous world of birth control. With all the misconceptions, expectations, and varieties, getting the DL on birth control can be difficult on your own. Sadly, you can’t click your heels three times and magically have the perfect birth control method appear- trust me I’ve tried. But, with a little research, an idea of what you want, and an important chat with a healthcare provider, navigating the yellow brick road of birth control can be easy!

Types of Birth Control Methods
Birth control is any method, medicine or device, used to prevent pregnancy, regulate the menstrual cycle, and balance hormones. Birth control methods vary greatly, including 12 different types in total. With so much variety, there is a type for every person and every lifestyle. In this blog, we will go over the most common types of birth control. Whether you’re seriously looking into birth control or are just curious, this post is for you. 

The Pill 

  • Perfect use: 99% effective
  • Typical use: 91% effective

Oral birth control, or the pill, is a contraceptive pill that contains hormones that stop ovulation. Since the hormones stop the ovulation, there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize. There are many different brands of birth control, each one affecting the body a bit differently. In order to do its job successfully, the pill is prescribed to be taken once a day. This can be a pretty big lifestyle change for some people, but there are tips and tricks to help you remember to take your pill: Download a birth control reminder app/set an alarm on your phone, keep your BC pills in a place you see them often (like next to your toothbrush, keys, or in your bag/backpack), or ask friends/partners/family to help keep you on track with taking your pill. Keeping an open conversation with your healthcare provider will make sure your birth control needs are being met.

The Implant

  • Perfect and typical use: 99% effective

The implant is a rod inserted into the upper arm (by a healthcare provider) to prevent pregnancy. The rod releases progestin, which is a hormone that stops the ovaries from releasing eggs. The most common side effect of the implant is irregular bleeding, especially during the first 6-12 months after the implant is inserted. This form of birth control lasts up to four years, which is super convenient and perfect for someone with a busier lifestyle! 

The Patch

  • Perfect use: 99.7% effective
  • Typical use: 93% effective 

The Patch is basically what it sounds like, a patch, similar to a bandaid or sticker material. The patch has hormones on it that enter the bloodstream from the skin. Similarly to the implant and pill, the hormones in the patch stop the ovaries from releasing the egg, as well as strengthen the cervical mucus (which helps block sperm even more). It is important to note that there is a higher likelihood of blood clots while using the patch, so make sure to consider this when talking with a healthcare provider. The patch is applied weekly to the skin anywhere you want, except for the breasts. Similarly to the pill, you wear the patch for 3 weeks on, 1 week off “your period.” (Read more about how withdrawal bleeding on hormonal birth control is different than on a regular menstrual period.) You can also wear the patch four weeks a month, which skips your “period” for that month. Before doing this, make sure you talk to a healthcare provider. 

The IUD

  • Perfect use: 99.4-99.9% effective
  • Typical use: 99.2-99.9% effective 

An IUD is a little T shaped device, about the size of a quarter, that is inserted into the uterus (by a healthcare provider). The IUD is available in two different forms: hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal IUD keeps the ovaries from releasing the egg, while the non-hormonal IUD (made of copper) changes the way sperm cells swim, so they cannot reach the egg; sperm and copper do not like each other! The hormonal IUD commonly treats severe cramps during your period and lightens your period significantly, which is always a plus! Depending on your choice of IUD, it can last from 3-10 years. 

The Vaginal Ring

  • Perfect use: 99.7% effective
  • Typical use: 93% effective

The vaginal ring is a malleable, latex free, plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month for 3 weeks at a time. The ring contains the hormones estrogen and progesterone that keep the ovaries from releasing the egg.  Similarly to other hormonal methods, it also thickens the cervical mucus to further protect the uterus from sperm. The vaginal ring also can ease menstrual cramps and lighten your period. Since the vaginal ring has less hormones than other hormonal options (like the pill and patch), side effects tend to be lower.

The Shot

  • Perfect use: 99.8% effective
  • Typical use: 96% effective

The birth control shot is basically an injection of the hormone progestin by a doctor or healthcare professional. It can be given in the arm or the hip, whatever is more comfortable for you. The hormones in the shot keep the ovaries from releasing the egg, but also have positive impacts on the menstrual cycle. The shot can help lessen cramps and lead to lighter periods.

Condoms

  • Perfect use: 98% effective
  • Typical use: 87% effective

Condoms (external and internal) are the only form of birth control that can prevent STDs! Which is VERY important! For all things condoms, visit our Sex Ed Series post on them!

Withdrawal

  • Perfect use: 96% effective
  • Typical use: 80% effective

The withdrawal or “pull out” method is basically how it sounds; the person with the penis pulls out of the vagina before they ejaculate. This is the oldest trick in the book. It’s free, but it's not the most effective when it comes to preventing pregnancy. (This method does not prevent STDs, so getting tested regularly is important.) You or your partner(s) would have to be a pulling out pro, since this method involves total body awareness, which can be pretty hard to accomplish. 

Emergency Contraception

  • Perfect use: 85% effective
  • Typical use: 75% effective

An emergency contraceptive is a form of birth control used after unprotected sex. This form of BC is commonly found in an oral pill, well known as “the morning after pill.” It can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, but this form of contraceotive works best the sooner you take it. It is important to note, if you weigh more than 195 pounds, the pill may not work as well. It is great to have this option as an emergency, but using birth control before engaging in sex (like an oral birth control) or during sexual activity (by using condoms) is the best way to prevent pregnancy. 

How to Find What’s Best For You
Before you take the BC journey, it is important to ask yourself a few questions. Knowing yourself, your lifestyle, and your BC goals will guide you when searching for the best birth control method. If you can, grab a pen/pencil and paper!

  • What is your lifestyle? Do you have time for an everyday form of birth control? Would a less frequent method be best for you? Grab a pen and paper and write down your everyday schedule. What birth control method fits it best? 
  • What are you looking for? Pregnancy prevention, less painful period cramps, hormonal balance, lighter menstrual flow, reduced acne, non-hormonal method? Write which ones you are looking for down. 
  • Does your birth control choice affect your partner(s)? It can. It is important to keep an open communication with your partner(s) if you are planning on adding birth control or changing yours up. Many people have latex allergies, reactions to hormones like estrogen and progestin, or ingredients like dyes inside oral contraceptives. Remember, it is your body! Do what is best for you, but if your birth control needs include a partner, make sure to talk with them! 
  • Blood clots are more common (particularly for those over 35, or people who smoke) when taking birth control, due to the higher level of estrogen in hormonal contraceptives. It is very important to acknowledge this when deciding on a method. Do you smoke? Are you over 35 years old? Do you have a family history of blood clots?  If you can, talk to family and/or do some quick research on clotting. Make sure you write down any questions or concerns you can bring up to a healthcare professional. 
  • For more info about birth control effects on cisgender and trans men take a look at this article

Now, you've got all your birth control goals! This piece of paper is a great way to open communication with your doctor/healthcare provider if you don’t know where to start, since all your wants, needs, questions, and concerns are written down. 

Next Steps
Now it is time to talk to a healthcare provider. This can be pretty daunting; we aren’t in Kansas anymore… But do not fret! Healthcare professionals are here to support you and should have your best interest. When you go in for a birth control consultation, make sure to voice your birth control goals: wants, needs, questions, and concerns. From there, you and the healthcare provider will work together to get you the best birth control for you.

Now, how do you pay for birth control? With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health insurance companies have been required to cover birth control at no copay in their plans. If you are on your parent’s insurance, you can call the insurance company and ask them about what happens after you make an appointment (ie. do they send an explanation of benefits that will show the service?). You can also ask your healthcare provider about billing for health insurance. They have lots of experience with this exact thing! You can also choose to not use your health insurance, it will likely cost between $15 and $50 a month.

Birth Control Break-Down
Whew! The wondrous world of birth control can be a lot. Thankfully, by breaking it down, finding your birth control goals, and having open conversations with your partner(s) and healthcare providers, it can be much more simple. In any journey, there will always be bumps in the road. Whether it was flying monkeys, giant ditches, a roaring river, or a deadly poppy field, Dorothy had her friends to get her through it. The GVSU Wellness Information Team (WIT) is here for you too! We are not known for our poppy field maintenance or flying monkey wrangling, but if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to us using Ask WIT. For common questions on birth control, visit our website.

By: Annie Seeber, WIT Peer Educator



Page last modified April 14, 2021