Troy University has been ranked 137 out of 140 colleges and universities, placing Troy in the bottom 10, according to the Trojan Brand Condoms sponsored 2014 Sexual Health Report Card.
Student health centers at universities across the U.S. were graded on services across 11 separate categories, including the following:
- Hours of operation
- Allow drop-ins or require appointments for student scheduling
- Quality of sexual health information and resources on website
- Contraceptive availability — free or at cost
- Condom availability — free or at cost
- HIV testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
- STI testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
- Lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education
- Sexual assault programs, resources or services
- Overall website usability and quality
- Extra credit
According to the report card, released by Sperling’s BestPlaces, an independent research firm, sponsored by Trojan Condoms, Oregon State University is ranked No. 1. Oregon took the lead from Princeton, as the top university for providing resources and information about sexual health for students. Oregon State had a significant jump in the rankings from the 2013 study where they were placed at number 26.
“Oregon State University has shown dedication to improving its resources and worked hard over the past year to get back into the top 10 and come out on top,” said Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s BestPlaces.
“With high scores in condom availability, student health center hours of operation and the usability and quality of their sexual health website, the campus is a model for schools nationwide,” according to Sperling’s BestPlaces website.
Auburn University was ranked number 98, the University of Alabama was number 3, The University of Alabama at Birmingham was ranked 120, and The University of South Alabama was ranked number 123, based on their promotion of sexual health for students. Troy remains at spot 137, the same ranking as 2013, indicating lack of progress toward providing students sexual health awareness.
Charlotte Petonic, the University of Alabama’s assistant director for health promotion and wellness said that peer education is one way the university promotes good sexual health.
“We have about 130 peer educators that help with sexual health promotion,” Petonic said. Peer educators are connected with Project Health, which, according to its website, is “a student-led organization that The University of Alabama campus recognizes as the go-to source for innovative peer health education.”
Auburn University, Oregon State University, University of South Alabama and UAB did not comment.
The importance of being aware of sexual health is made evident by the escalation of reported STDs in Alabama in people ages 15-19 and 20-24. In 2008, there were about 10,000 reported cases of Gonorrhea in the same year and about 25,000 cases of Chlamydia, according to the Alabama Public Heath website.
One part of sexual health awareness is education on condom use.
“Condoms provide greater protection against diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, because they are a barrier against the secretions that cause them,” according to the American Sexual Health Association website.
The CDC reports in 2009 that there were 1.5 million cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most sexually transmitted diseases. The age groups most affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea are 15-19 year olds and 20-24 year olds. According to a study done by Trojan Condoms, “Sixty-four percent of college age adults reported using a condom the last time they had sex compared to 54 percent of those ages 23-34.”
Lack of availability of information and resources contributes to the rising numbers of STDs, especially among college students and young adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “The higher prevalence of STDs among adolescents also may reflect multiple barriers to accessing quality STD prevention services, including lack of health insurance or ability to pay, lack of transportation, discomfort with facilities and services designed for adults, and concerns about confidentiality.”
While condoms cannot 100 percent prevent or cure sexually transmitted diseases nor reduce likelihood of pregnancy, being protected decreases chances of transmission and conception.
“Condoms are reliable, easy to use, and when used, they are 98 percent effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and STIs when used consistently and correctly,” based on ASHA resource material.
To promote sexual heath and awareness, there is a downloadable Sexual Health E-Toolkit, which contains fact-based insight and resources about sexual health at http://www.factsaboutcondoms.com/index.php, found under the Resources tab.
The top ten schools ranked according to accessibility of sexual health resources and information available to students on campus include:
- Oregon State University
- The University of Texas At Austin
- University of Maryland-College Park
- University of Arizona
- Stanford University
- University of Michigan
- Brown University
- Columbia University in the City of New York
- Syracuse University
- University of Wisconsin
For a full 2014 health report card rating, please visit: http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/sexual_health_report_card and for more information on condom use visit, http://www.factsaboutcondoms.com/index.php.