Modeled after popular subscription services, UConn Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) has created a subscription service that delivers boxes of safer sex supplies to students living on campus. Cassy Setzler, a health and wellness specialist for the SHaW Health promotion team, explained the concept of gloveBOX in more detail.
“GloveBOX is student health and wellness’ new condom and other safer sex supply delivery service,” Setzler said. “On-campus residents can order safer sex supplies through our order form and then receive a box to their mailroom and they can receive either a one-time order or order a subscription to receive the box every three to four weeks.”
Over 700 students have taken advantage of gloveBOX so far, with five different boxes to choose from. “Choose-Your-Own” allows students to customize their own box; “Larger-Size” features a variety of larger condoms; “Non-Latex” contains non-latex condoms; “Mystery” has condoms, lubrication and dental dams chosen by the SHaW staff and “No-Glove” features an assortment of lubrication, dental dams, and internal condoms. Setzler said the “Choose-Your-Own” is the most popular.
“People seem to like having the ability to customize their experience. The second most popular is the ‘Mystery’ box, people like being surprised and it’s also a really good option for students who don’t know what they prefer yet and want to see what there is available, so they can order that box and then try different supplies and then customize it after they find what they like.”
Setzler said the idea came about because the office wanted to find a creative way to provide students with safer sex supplies. She was brainstorming with UConn Sexpert coordinator Anika Vincent.
“We wanted to take it actually a step further than that and we wanted to make the service really customizable and have it available on a subscription,” Setzler said. “Kind of like those boxes like Birchbox, Stitch Fix, and there’s some on createjoy.com, and we wanted it to be classy and cool to get a subscription every couple weeks. We did some research, crafted a proposal, and brought it to my supervisor.”
For students who live off-campus, in Mansfield Apartments, Northwood Apartments, the Spring Valley Farm or Birch Cottage, where delivery is not currently available, safer sex supplies are still available in Wilson Hall, South Campus and Hilda May Williams Student Health Services, better known as the Infirmary.
Setzler also emphasized the importance of having such a subscription box on campus.
“So we know that one in two sexually active people will contract an STI (sexually transmitted infection) by the time they’re 25, and over half of all new STI cases are among those ages 15-24,” Setzler said. “The United States itself spends over sixteen billion dollars each year treating STIs, and that’s just direct costs alone.”
Setzler said that condom usage reduces the risk of transmitting and contracting HIV and other STIs, particularly among at-risk groups like young adults and college students.
“So if we know that condom distribution increases condom usage, which reduces the risk of HIV and STIs, then a program is really a no-brainer,” Setzler said. “While our department has always provided safer sex supplies and condoms to students, this allows students to provide a discreet way to receive their supplies and also explore their options and customize their supplies so they can have a more positive and safe experience.”
To order your gloveBOX from now until November 21st, visit www.studenthealth.uconn.edu/glovebox/.