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Creating Herpes/STI Support Group at a College


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Hey, Friends! 

I hope you are all well 🌻

Many colleges that where closed due to COVID are opening back up in the Fall. I was thinking about starting a type of Herpes/STI Anonymous Group for students at my university. I used to work as a peer educator for my university, and I would teach about drinking, drugs, sex education, mental health support, etc, and I actually worked as a peer educator when I got herpes! (oh, the irony!). There are alcohol anonymous, drug anonymous, and eating disorder anonymous groups on campus, but none for those who are struggling with STIs, which are very common for people aged 18-25. 

The student health center on campus actually told me they get  a handful of herpes diagnoses per week during the school year, which means that there are definitely so many people at my university (and many other colleges/universities) who have HSV and may be struggling to cope with it! 

Does anyone have any recommendations for what to discuss, activities or meditations, forming a buddy system, etc for the hypothetical student HSV/STI group? Or any mission statements for the group? I would have to run this by the university's student organization council in order for it to be a recognized group on campus, so I figured I would create an outline for the organization prior to submitting my request to create it!

Feel free to respond with ideas! Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Blessings! 🌄

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Friends! 🌻

An Update: After reaching out to my college's Psychology Center and Group Counseling Director, I was told that the Psychology Center could not host a Sexually Transmitted Illness Anon group because of confidentiality issues, and it would be very hard to help student keep their privacy and be protected from possible transparency from people outside the group. 

However, the director of psychological services at my college said she would look into some other options further, and the director of group counseling said they would reach out to my campus' wellness office and see if they would be interested in helping me educate others on herpes and/or providing a safe space to talk about STIs and dating, self-love, and overcoming shame. 

Regardless of what groups get approved, I am happy I at least brought the idea to the attention of various departments at my college to help raise awareness of the importance of breaking stigmas around sexually transmitted Infections. We all can help break the silence!!

Thank you all for your support ❤️!! 

Blessings!!

-- Gracie

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