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Author Topic: Advice pls :)
eryn_smiles
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Hi folks,

I'm really excited to be running a workshop on sexual health for queer women, coming up at a national youth conference in a few weeks time. I have reasonable experience in talking with people one-on-one about sexual health, but not really with big groups (yet!). Ages are 13-27, length is an hour.

Could you guys offer any advice about fun interactive activities/ games/ demos that would go with the theme? Was thinking of having a quiz and splitting people into teams. What about good ways to do intros and closings so everyone feels comfortable? I really don't want it to be dry and boring!

Is there any secret to getting people to ask their questions without being embarrassed?

thanks for your insights xo

[ 05-14-2011, 08:54 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I've always found that when I am at conferences of any variety I have felt more comfortable asking questions when the presenter was open and friendly. As soon as one person asks a question people generally tend to open up and talk, so perhaps if you knew anyone in your audience you could ask them if they might ask the first question if nobody else seemed like they were going to. If not it might help to talk about how you might feel or might have felt in the past if you were in the audience and the kinds of questions you might have asked.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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eryn_smiles
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Thanks moonlight..yes, I was thinking of 'planting' someone in the group to get the ball rolling with questions. I guess another option is for everyone to write their questions anonymously on paper and then to pick each one out and answer them. I'm not sure how well that works in practice.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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The question box, like that, can work out pretty well.

I think what sounds tricky to me with this group is that that's a very, very wide age range for something in person. Typically, the questions someone 13 will be asking are going to be very different than those someone 27 will be. I don't suppose there's either any way to divide those groups up into similar age groups or, rather than doing Q&A, instead do a less interactive presentation where you're being much more general? There's a plus to doing that with a new group anyway, which is that it's tough to have trust be there for Q&A when a group and presenter are totally new to each other.

Alternately, something I've done before with age-disparate groups is have people simply share their own stories, picking some kind of theme to link them. In this case that could be about when someone first realized or questioned their orientation, or when they first had feelings for someone else, or what ideas about LGBT they had growing up. Again, you'd want to think about building trust for that (though with topics like that, that's less of an issue than, say, someone talking about their body parts), but I tend to like that because I think it can build important bridges between generations in a really cool way.

Just waking up, so not as sharp with ideas around this as I could be later, so if you want to talk more later, I'll be here!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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Heather- thanks, I'd love to talk more about this!

Yes, it is a wide age range, and I'm not sure if I find out the ages of people signed up for it before I get there. I don't get to split up the group unless I find someone else to facilitate with me. But also, I think the concept is aiming to be very inclusive of everyone.

We're supposed to do a workshop, rather than a lecture or presentation- "an activity everyone can participate in, or try out, or a demonstration of some kind"

I hear what you're saying about having people share stories about their feelings/ideas on orientation. That does sound good, but my vision is more of a sexual health workshop. So talking about what happens at a check-up, STI and smear tests, HPV vaccines, latex barriers, toys, emotional safety and helplines. Not sure how to make it interactive or 'an activity'..

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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So, how about maybe getting everyone to share what their concerns, fears or conceptions of getting sexual healthcare and taking care of our sexual health are like? Then you can have a big share around that topic, and then do some educating to address what was brought up?

Another idea might be to make some kind of sexual health bingo for everyone to play?

(This sounds so great, by the way! How exciting for you, and how lucky this group is to have you!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Djuna
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Hi Eryn! This sounds great. I wanted to drop in and say I've seen the question box - getting people to write questions beforehand - work really well. And that way if you have a few, you can start with one off the cards, and hopefully people will open up in person, but if questions from the floor dry up again you can go back to the cards.

Also, I don't see that it's unethical to plant questions in a box like that, and if you don't know anyone in the audience, putting your own questions in the box can be a good way of settling your nerves, even if you don't end up having to use them.

Best of luck! I really like the quiz idea too, and maybe there could be candies/T shirts/prizes you toss to people who get the answers, depending on your budget. Even if it's a tiny prize, people can get quite excited. [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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eryn_smiles
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Heather, I think both of your ideas sound really good. Maybe the first one would suit better for a smaller group and bingo or team quiz would be cool for a larger group.

Hi patrickvienna, thanks for your kind wishes and ideas. Yes, I was thinking of giving out candies [Smile] .

Thanks for your help, I'll let you guys know how this goes. Workshop is called 'Queer, Safe & Sexy'. yay!

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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eryn_smiles
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Need an opinion- Are you guys familiar with the GirlF--k comic by Erika Moen? Do you think it's ok/appropriate to show some images from it during the presentation? Thanks.

(Found out that people under 16 probably won't be allowed to attend the workshop as we wouldn't specifically have parental consent for that).

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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Love that comic!

I think it could totally be appropriate, and that deciding if it is is going to have to do with your sense of how it will be received by your particular audience. If you think, for instance, this is going to be very scary or emotionally heavy for a lot of the participants, I could see it feeling too light or like too big a leap, know what I mean?

IOW, I think it's going to depend a lot on what you know about your group and how things are going. maybe have it so you can use it if it feels right, but have an alternate plan in case it doesn't?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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Sure, I can do that. Am a bit scared about this, myself. Really hope that people will feel reasonably comfortable and not overwhelmed. Apparently theres going to be counsellors on site during the whole meeting, to help people in crisis, so that's good.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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That's great.

And I know -- in my bones and all my viscera -- you are going to do fantastically. Seriously, you have to know you are, because you're awesome.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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I've sent you an email regarding this. Thanks ++ again [Smile]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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Just saw it. What a daymaker of an email! As always, thanks so much for sharing with me. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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India, not SL, but wondering if you saw this: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Lending-a-helping-hands-to-bisexual-and-transgender-women/articleshow/8729992.cms

Pretty awesome stuff! [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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Thanks [Smile]

No rush with this question- I am wondering why Scarleteen recommends routine HPV testing for young women along with a full STI panel? Is the US HPV test different from our one?

This is what our local guidelines recommend:

"When should I have an HPV test?
The NCSP’s Guidelines for Cervical Screening in New Zealand recommend HPV testing in the following circumstances:
•
If you are over 30 and your smear shows mild (low grade) changes. In this situation the lab will do an HPV test on your original liquid based cytology sample, so there is no need to return to your smear taker for another test. If the HPV test is negative you will have a follow-up smear in one year. If the HPV test is positive you will be referred to colposcopy.
•
If you have previously been treated at colposcopy, HPV testing can be used to enable you to return to three yearly screening rather than having annual smear tests. This needs to be discussed with your smear taker.
•
Sometimes your colposcopist may recommend an HPV test to help determine whether treatment is necessary.

Why is HPV testing not recommended for women under 30 years who have a mildly abnormal smear result?
Women under 30 years should not have an HPV screening test in this situation because HPV infection is very common in this age group and usually goes away. For younger women, including an HPV test along with a smear test provides no real health benefit and might lead to too many tests and unnecessary treatment."

Ref:
http://www.nsu.govt.nz/files/NCSP/HPV_and_HPV_testing_fact_sheet_for_women.pdf

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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When we talk about HPV testing, we're talking about a digene test, not a pap smear. Is that the test being referenced there?

I will say, I'm a bit confused by that last sentence, per unnecessary treatment, There isn't any treatment that would be done for someone who tested positive for HPV unless they had warts that were present, which would likely be seen without that test at all. If they were positive for a cervical strain, the usually recommendation to my knowledge would just be to keep an eye on it and to be sure that patient kept up with regular pap smears.

(I forget, does New Zealand have an NHS? I ask because that can make a big difference with these kinds of guidelines, perhaps obviously.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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I believe we're talking about a similar test, although I can't find the word digene in the NZ guidelines. Isn't digene test a test for high risk HPV, which is done on a sample of cervical cells obtained during a pap smear?

I think in the last sentence they were referring to unecessary colposcopy. For example, if someone had a low grade abnormal smear (very common in young women) plus a positive HPV test, would they all need colposcopy?

We do have a national screening programme which starts at age 20.

But, even looking at the US website for the digene HPV test, we see similar guidelines:

"When is it appropriate for women under the age of 30 to have an HPV test as well as the Pap?

When your doctor's lab is unable to tell whether your Pap is normal or abnormal, the HPV test can determine quickly if you have a high-risk type of the virus and thus need further examination to catch any abnormal cells that need treatment. Without the HPV test, you would have to wait several months and then repeat the Pap. For many women, this wait is a very anxious time. In addition, Pap results can sometimes be incorrect.

Special note for girls under 20: The consensus guidelines published in the October 2007 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology do not recommend HPV testing at all for adolescents. This is because HPV infections are very common in sexually active girls, but cervical disease is very rare. Thus, the guidelines recommend that adolescents who have Pap smears that are inconclusive be re-tested with another Pap in 12 months. If the second Pap suggests the presence of pronounced cervical disease, a colposcopy exam is recommended. If not, the guidelines say a third Pap should be done in another year (24 months after the first Pap). If the Pap result does not appear normal at that point, a colposcopy should be performed (even if the Pap is still just "inconclusive").

Why shouldn't women younger than 30 be routinely tested for HPV too? Don't they sometimes get cervical cancer?

Women under 30 are indeed sometimes diagnosed with cervical cancer despite having normal Pap results. However, it is relatively rare. While HPV infection is very common in young women, it usually goes away on its own or is suppressed by the body before it causes any problems. That means that if younger women were tested routinely, many would be found to have HPV and thus – even though the infection is most likely temporary – they might undergo additional, unnecessary procedures. It's a bit like mammography. Although young women sometimes get breast cancer, regular mammograms are not recommended until they reach the age of 40, when the risk is significant enough to justify regular monitoring.

Both the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend against routine testing for HPV under the age of 30."

Ref:
http://www.thehpvtest.com/about-the-digene-hpv-test/hpv-test-vs-the-pap-faqs/under-30/

(If this stuff is too much beyond the scope of Scarleteen, no worries. Just something that interests me [Smile] )

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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Just to first make clear, at Scarleteen, we're not just addressing adolescents: we aim to serve people between the ages of 15 and 25, on average.

To my knowledge, no, everyone in that situation by no means would all need a colposcopy. However, this is getting past our scope, as we'd never make recommendations for treatment around the results on an exam: these are things we always refer users to their healthcare providers to determine. Same goes with even what tests someone should have done: what we generally suggest is that people simply be honest with their doctors about their sexual history and let their providers determine what tests to do.

But where things might be getting garbled is that if a person hasn't been tested for all possible infections, then no, we're not going to say they can assume they don't have them.

And yes, women under 30 do also get cervical cancer, too, which is the primary reason why we support testing for HPV for young women who have been sexually active when their doctor is in agreement.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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