The student-led organization, Project Safe, had a table during the Wrap it Up block party. Photo provided by Project Safe (Instagram).

Project Safe changes perceptions of safe sex

April 23, 2024

If there’s one thing that makes Project Safe tick it’s the organization’s leaders, past and present. Three stars at Project Safe, the only HIV and STI prevention organization on N.C Central’s Campus, are Miss Project Safe Talia Hayes, Mister Project Safe Michael White, and Marcus Harris, who was the 2022 Mister Project Safe.

For those who don’t know Project Safe is a student-led organization that focuses on HIV and STI prevention along with other infections. Project Safe provides many resources such as on-site testing, informational events, and protective resources.

Project Safe is actively working to keep students informed about safer sex practices. The Office of Health Promotion and Education offers a program called safer sex supply distribution.

This program creates a space where people can learn about the culture of safe sex practices and gives students the chance to access different resources such as condoms being distributed in dorms and other resources students may benefit from.

“We provide different talks and discussions to the people on campus to make sure they are well informed about having safe sex and what that means and what that looks like and trying to erase the stigma that is surrounded by being sexually active,” said Hayes, a psychology senior.

Hayes is joined by Mister Project Safe Michael White whose duties include distributing and restocking the condoms and lubricants to condom boxes, planning, and organizing events, and always representing the organization.

According to White, it’s been humbling as he realizes he has been placed in a positive position to help his community. One issue that concerns White is the reluctance of young Black men to get tested.

“I feel there is a disconnect between black men and getting tested. Some feel that you only need to get tested if they think they have something. Which is not true.”

But for Marcus Harris, the 2022 Mister Project Safe, the benefits of being a leader in Project Safe extend beyond the support given to his peers. Harris was in the thick of student health issues during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic. It’s benefited him as well and he’s grateful for the experience.

“This organization has impacted my life because when I am in a group setting of colleagues, friends, or even family, and when a topic comes up to where I have first-hand insight and experiences, I jump at the chance to answer with informative information.”

Testing events are usually held in the residential halls where students are housed or the organization also partners with different centers such as the LGBTQ center, the women’s center, and the health department on campus.

Students have the option to get tested for bacterial infections via a urine sample and or viral infection via blood work.

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The student-led organization, Project Safe, had a table during the Wrap it Up block party. Photo provided by Project Safe (Instagram).
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The student-led organization, Project Safe, had a table during the Wrap it Up block party. Photo provided by Project Safe (Instagram).
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