A sea of red, green, blue and yellow condoms engulfed Midtown Saturday night.
As throngs of people arrived in Ubers and wrapped around the Midtown bars, members of Planned Parenthood Generation Action UF and the Women’s Student Association teamed up to hand out condoms and encourage safe sex. The activity was appropriately named “The Condom Crawl.”
The 15-person group handed out between 100 to 150 forms of protection and contraception throughout the night, said Alexandra Ruiz, an assistant outreach director for Planned Parenthood.
Ruiz, a 19-year-old UF health science sophomore, said Alachua County’s rate of reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases is among the highest in the state of Florida. This high rate could be due to a lack of access to protection, she said.
“We want to make sure there is access for everyone, no matter what situation they are in,” Ruiz said.
Trojans, Planned Parenthood branded condoms, FC2 Female Condoms and dental dams were tossed up to the second floor of the plaza and distributed to those waiting in line for Fat Daddy’s.
Some people laughed while grabbing the condoms out of the air, while others opted to discreetly ask the group for a few.
The event, which Planned Parenthood hosts once a semester, was scheduled for Saturday because of the Valentine’s Day festivities, said Judianna Meyes-Sinnett, a 20-year-old UF elementary education senior and president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UF.
During the evening, Planned Parenthood also encouraged people to fill out support cards, paperwork they use to contact supporters and encourage membership, Meyes-Sinnett said.
She said the response from crowds at Midtown Saturday was “overall positive,” as many people excitedly accepted condoms from the volunteers. Some even took a few minutes out of their night to discuss safe sex with the group, she said.
“People that care about us definitely get really excited to see us supporting and just being here,” Meyes-Sinnett said. “They love to see that Planned Parenthood is still strong.”
One of those supporters was Connor Scruggs, a 21-year-old Santa Fe College student and bouncer for Grog House.
As he stood distributing wristbands and checking IDs, The Condom Crawl group passed by him about three times. Each time, he took at least three condoms.
Scruggs said he thinks The Condom Crawl was positive for the community. He imagined those bringing home a special someone from the club would benefit the most from the event.
“You’ve got one (condom) from the club, and you just decreased your rate of having an STD,” he said. “Just like that.”