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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Teen and young adult summit on health, gender identity and sexuality

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The Damien Center’s +Positive Youth Action Group and Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council are hosting a summit on teen and young adult health, gender identity and sexuality at the IUPUI Campus Center from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 30.

This free event is offering a space for youth 14-21 years old to feel comfortable discussing topics related to sex education, HIV misconceptions and more through engaged workshops, discussions and interactive sessions.

“It’s important that we just don’t provide any sex education. We provide a comprehensive, all-inclusive and affirming sex ed. as it relates to our queer youth because we need our education to not only talk about things like STIs, sexual health and healthy relationships; we also need to speak to the actual experiences our youth are going through,” said Nick Atkinson-Tavi, Damien Center Youth program specialist.

The event will cover various topics, including:

  • Health policies affecting youth in Marion County
  • All-inclusive and affirming sex education
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Human trafficking

The Damien Center is Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization and works with community members living with and at risk for HIV “through a comprehensive, innovative approach to HIV care and prevention,” according to the center’s official website.

As a youth program specialist, Atkinson-Tavi leads the Damien Center’s +Positive Youth Action program. The program was founded to empower youth in Indianapolis communities to educate and destigmatize the conversation around HIV and sex education.

Priscah Norwood, a student at IUPUI and member of the +Positive Youth Action Group, decided to join the group after hearing about it through a professor. Since joining, she has been impressed with the Damien Center’s community work and the education they provide to youth.

“One of the things that stick out to me is a community event that we did. We were able to meet with different people in the community who do HIV advocacy and people who are living with HIV, and that sort of opened my eyes to a lot of the struggles, and a lot of the stigma that happens, and a lot of the work that still needs to get done,” Norwood said.

She has also enjoyed getting closer to her group members and creating a community of understanding, acceptance and leadership.

“I think that the education just furthers and allows more people to open their eyes about the issue and get the help needed, and also it allows for people with HIV to have more support from the community around them because they know more about the topic,” Norwood said.

To learn more about the event and register for free, visit Eventbrite.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847.

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