Community Noise

Authors Disclaimer: I didn’t go to Schoolies in my finishing year – I spent the week in Japan with a friend and her Yakuza family.

What do you get when you mix the hormones of thousands of 17-18 year olds, the release of finishing 12 years of school, questionably purchased alcohol and an event with an anthem that rings “tits-out-for-the-boys”?
…Schoolies.

 

The Pandora’s box of high school parties; it has become something of a birthright (or maybe ‘finishing-right’) of all year 12 students and a week where the nation relaxes their “parental concerns”. Every year, upwards of 40,000 school-leavers pour into the Gold Coast alone, with an estimated 5000 visiting coastal towns from the Sunshine Coast to Airlie – and that’s just Queensland alone.

 

But back to those raging hormones. Australian health organisations have recently declared an epidemic of  STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) , yeah that’s right, ‘epidemic’- and not the cool kind that involves Jude Law, Kate Winslett and that hot French girl.

 

A recent study has found 3-5% of young people aged 16-29 are estimated to be living with an STI. You might be thinking to yourself “Blogs are always going on about statistics, what do they even mean?” Well that actually works out to be around 200,000 young people living with a preventable infection. Not to mention that 278 young people were diagnosed with HIV in 2010. Oh and by the way, HIV is a preventable infection as well… PREVENTABLE!

 

So with all this screaming about prevention, I suppose I should show you how to do it. Well, that’s exactly what myself and a bunch of other Agents of YEAH (all aged 17-23) from Brisbane did when we cruised on down to the Gold Coast to hang out with some Schoolies and talk about safe sex.

 

When our team went down to Schoolies, we talked to heaps of fresh high school-leavers about safe sex. We were also loaded with around 800 condoms to give out so that the Schoolies were able to have all the fun they wanted, infection free. Needless to say, they were stoked. And not just the shirtless guys (that you just knew had been working out all year to impress the girls [or guys?]) but the girls were just as keen to take condoms in order to keep themselves prepared for a good night out.

 

Preventing STIs is actually kinda sexy. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but lets break it down. We’re all young right? We’ve all got crazy sex drives, right? And none of us want to have weird itchy things on our nude bits do we, right? RIGHT! So the best way that we can prevent ourselves from becoming just another headcount in that 200 000 and something statistic is as simple as putting on a condom.

 

And here’s where the sexy part comes in. Having sex with your partner or even that hot guy or girl (or both?) you met at the party is a pretty hot and exciting experience. But what’s even sexier is knowing that you can both walk away; hot, sweaty and infection free!

 

Finishing 12 years of school is a major milestone, and something that definitely deserves an awesome celebration like Schoolies. But this old timer (I kid, I’m barely 20) wants to leave you with some basic advice to make your week that much better:

 

? When you’re heading out, ALWAYS be prepared. This goes for both the ladies and the gents: if you’re carrying a condom, then there’s no excuse!

 

? Condoms and wallets aren’t friends. You can keep them in your wallet for the night you’re going out, but they can tear and become ineffective after leaving them in your wallet for a while. So always keep them fresh.

 

? Ya’ll beautiful and deserve full respect. So when you’re practicing safe sex, you are in full control. Don’t have any of it if they tell you that they don’t want to use a condom.

 

Love Al.