BC’s first Annual Aids Awareness Symposium

Anthony Vasquez, Editor-in-Chief

Safe sex practices, sexually transmitted diseases, and the Bakersfield AIDS Project were some of the topics that were brought up at BC’s recent Aids Awareness Symposium. The event had been held on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the BC Main Campus Center, which provided students and attendants with workshops, a keynote speaker, and Rapid HIV testing.
Director of Student Health and Wellness and Nurse Practitioner at BC, Charles D. Collom, held a presentation during the first portion of the symposium. He brought up the topic of practicing safe sex and encouraged people that the BC Health and Wellness center provides free condoms for anyone who asks for them as it is a no-judgment environment. He even joked by commenting, “Even if you don’t have the ability to ask for them, I’ll THROW them at you!”
He followed his encouragement in the use of condoms for safe sex by educating everyone about the functions of the condom such as the prevention of pregnancy, and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia was a sexually transmitted disease that he went into. He stated that it could be transmitted orally, anally, and vaginally and that it is one of the most common STIs out there. Some of the warnings he gave everyone was that common symptoms include discharge and testicular pain. He even says it could be silent on the other hand and suggested that this is a potential reason to get tested and to use barriers more often.
The last speaking portion of the symposium was with Audrey Chavez, an executive director and founder of the Bakersfield AIDS Project.
Chavez spoke at BC intending to educate students and anyone who had attended the symposium on to regulate the conversation of safe sex, and AIDS, how to provide the right tools to help them, and what tools are available for people now.
She stated, “Somebody needs to talk about safer sex? You help them, you give them the tools. Sometimes you have to wait for the tools to be made, like the testing, or the treatment, but once they are there, you buy that support, and welcome them to access those things.”
The Bakersfield AIDS Project focuses on these values that Chavez shared with everyone that day. She also encouraged others to do the same with the people around them by normalizing safe-sex conversations that are often seen as awkward or uncomfortable.