Women’s Health Day focuses on sexual, mental issues

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Drug abuse and genital warts are two often-ignored women’s issues that the sisters of Zeta Sigma Chi highlighted on Wednesday during Women’s Health Day 2010.

Women and women’s resource providers gathered in the Texas Union to inform students about the prevalence of issues that often afflict women but are seldom covered by the media.

Speakers distributed information about sexual and mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and nutrition.

People often stigmatize women who struggle with addiction by thinking they look or act a certain way, said Ivana Grahovac, program coordinator of the Center for Students in Recovery.

Grahovac said it took her eight years to complete her undergraduate studies partially because she took time off to model, intern in Washington, D.C., and, later, struggle with drug addiction.

“I struggled with bulimia and I was addicted to heroin,” she said. “I was letting my addiction systematically destroy everything I had in my life, and I was ready to give up.”

Grahovac has spent years educating students and parents about how to deal with addiction, and introducing them to recovery. She also welcomed students to the women’s Alcoholics Anonymous group that meets Fridays at 8 a.m.

“At the center we let students know there is a beautiful life out there, and we want to help them find the best version of themselves possible,” she said.

Sexual health issues often affect college students, said Guli Fager, health education coordinator at the Health Promotion Resource Center.

Fager said although most of the diseases she helps students cope with are curable, they often take their toll on students emotionally.

“A student having to deal with the reality of a [sexually transmitted infection] can be really heartbreaking,” she said. “We try to comfort them and say, ‘We’ll get you help,’ but it’s up to them to be proactive in staying healthy.”

The center provides students with prevention information and up to three free condoms a day, and refer treatment in the event of an infection.

Women’s Health Day is a Zeta Sigma Chi annual program that is usually hosted in Jester where members pass out informational pamphlets.

Nutrition senior Peace Dike said it was important for this year’s event to be more effective because their former method of tabling was not sending the message they wanted.

“We want to impact women and give them tangible information about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but we weren’t doing that passing things out at a table once a year,” Dike said.