Survey poses concern about university efforts to raise students’ awareness of sexual health

Lilly Casolaro
Staff Writer

In a survey done by Trojan Condoms, Troy University ranked at 137 out of 140 for sexual health awareness and resources available.
From this result, students seem largely uninformed of the risks of unprotected sex. Some are also clueless about where to receive materials concerning sexual health.
Furthermore, the university seems to be complacent with its standing because, for three consecutive years, Troy has been in the bottom 10 of the Trojan Condoms-sponsored survey.
In 2012, Troy was ranked 138th. It moved up a single placement in 2013, and remained the same for 2014.
Little is being done to improve the availability of resources or increase education for students on sexual health.
“Troy should definitely try harder when it comes to sexual health awareness, especially being so poorly ranked,” said Devin Blount, freshman nursing major from Phenix City. “We should have more available resources when it comes to sexual health.”
Factors contributing to the lack of student awareness are the withholding of information and lack of easy accessibility to sexual health resources, both online and in person.
Oregon State University, ranked as the top school in the Trojan Condoms Survey, has a mass of information on its school website. A specific tab is designated for student services and provides straightforward information on sexual health.
It further details where students can receive sexual health screenings, provides materials for where to locate condoms and other “safe sex” materials, and gives a plethora of information on related resources, which can all be found on the university website.
The information that Troy offers pales in comparison to that of Oregon State University. The closest attempt at locating sexual health concerns is the tab on Student Health Services.
After navigating three separate pages and clicking on several successive links, I was finally able to locate what I was searching for: “The health center has brochures and pamphlets available in a wide variety of topics pertinent to college life, such as migraines, allergies, and vaccines.”
None of those topics includes sexual health. I was not satisfied with what I found, especially based on how easy it was to locate resources on Oregon’s website.
Despite the Student Health Services Mission to “provide health care and education to the students of Troy University,” there is a failure to fully educate students, specifically in sexual health.
According to a student worker at the campus’s student health services clinic, students rarely come in requesting information on sexual health.
The student health center offers testing and treatment options for sexually transmitted diseases, but,  if a student requires further testing, the center will arrange an appointment with an off-campus facility. Though the student health center provides services to students, it falls short when attempting to inform, engage and adequately equip students with the materials they may need.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health website, Pike County’s reported STD rates were highest among people 20 to 24 years old, totaling 62 cases in the first four months of 2013.
A higher rate among this demographic could be attributed to the mindset of young adults. They seem to think of sex as a source of pleasure rather than a means for reproduction.
The Trojan Condoms survey ranked the schools based on several factors such as quality of sexual health information and resources on website, lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education, and overall website usability and quality.
The combination of factors proves an accurate reflection of the university’s low rating because Troy’s performance is poor in all of these areas.
To change the current position that Troy is in, a website update and links to applicable resources for students could be added. Furthermore, an awareness of sexual health risks and effects must be a priority. Students are uninformed because of their pressure to conform without considering all factors associated with sex.
“People base sex off of short-term emotions, and they don’t think about the long-term consequences,” said Mary Stewart, a freshman undeclared major from Prattville.
Changes need to be instituted considering Troy’s consistently low ratings in the Trojan Condoms survey.
If no one tells them, how will they know? Further steps need to be taken to provide clear and helpful online content to students, as well as accurately informing students through presentations, handouts or surveys about the importance of maintaining sexual health and recognizing boundaries to reduce STDs.
Troy University’s server blocked the Trojan Condoms website due to the content being deemed inappropriate. After the Tropolitan made inquiry into the blocking, the page has been made accessible through the server.
Yet, the question remains whether the efforts to  restrain students’ access to sexual material compromise their access to sex education. Moreover, as such materials are stigmatized, so is sex and the discussion about sexual health. It is hard to raise awareness without discussion and open sources.
The Trojan Condoms company, in conjunction with the American Sexual Health Association, has released resource material informing others of condom use and STD information. Its website has related links and supplemental materials to determine one’s sexual health.

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