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UB gets passing mark in sexual health

University ranks No. 53 in annual Trojan Sexual Health Report Card

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UB offers students free Trojan condoms from the Wellness Education Services office located in the Student Union. That’s one of the reasons Trojan, a brand of condoms and lubricants, is giving UB a passing mark in its annual Sexual Health Report Card.

UB ranked No. 53 in Trojan’s 2014 Sexual Health Report Card – a ranking of 140 American universities’ sexual health services. UB dropped two spots from 2013.

“I’m proud that we rank so well [because] our providers love what they do and take great care of their patients,” said Nicole McDermott, a staff assistant at UB’s Student Health Services office in Michael Hall. “We have added some new services recently, like the [long-acting reversible contraceptives] placements, so I hope that helps us to rank higher next time.”

Trojan commissioned the study that was done from Sperling’s Best Places, an independent research organization based out of Portland, Oregon.

The rankings are based on a number of classifications, from the number of hours per day the university’s student health center is open, to whether HIV and sexual transmitted diseases (STIs) testing is done on university health premises and if the university website provides information on sexual health for the students, according to Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s Best Places.

Sperling said the top schools in the rankings offer a wealth of information about the resources and services provided by the health center, and create their own informational pages about topics such as different contraceptive methods.

The clinical services that UB offers include free condoms for both males and female, dental dams, lubricant, STI testing, pregnancy tests and GYN exams, according to McDermott.

Student Health Services also has a board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner and offers birth control counseling and prescriptions and placement of long-acting reversible contraceptives such as IUDs and implants.

“I work in a very non-judgmental environment and we really try to stress the fact that everyone likes and wants different things when it comes to their sex lives – and that is 100 percent OK,” said Maddie Collins, a junior sociology and media study major who works as an SBI student Health Educator.

UB’s SBI Health Education, a student-owned division of Sub-Board I Inc. that offers sex-positive education and support, has hosted “Sex Week” for the past three years in the spring.

Sex Week includes classes and services for students on education, exploration and discussion of healthy sexuality, according to Jane Fischer, Director of SBI Health Education. Making the choice to be sexually active and communicating about likes and dislikes with partners are some of the topics educators encourage students to consider.

“We hope it is an opportunity for students to find something in the week that speaks to them and their needs or interests regarding sexual health and sexuality,” Fischer said.

Sex Week will be held in April this year.

Collins said she is particularly proud UB has the Safety Shuttle and walk stations because it encourages sexual safety when walking to different points on campus.

Mustafa Khalafalla, a junior aerospace engineering major who works as a Safety Shuttle driver said that the safety shuttle is a key aspect of UB’s sexual health programs in that it encourages a safe environment.

But he also said that giving out free condoms might be an encouragement for students to engage in too much sexual activity. He worries that this may cause students to look at sex as a “sport.”

Oregon State University, which ranked No. 1 on the list, provides students who live in residence halls and co-ops with a service to anonymously order free condoms, known as “The Condom Express.”

The University of Oregon, which ranks No. 17, has an iPhone app called SexPositive that adds up the type of sexual activity that students are thinking of engaging in and makes recommendations on the safest way of avoiding pregnancy and STIs.

Sperling said some of the universities that rank near the bottom of Trojan’s list have a policy not to acknowledge sexual activity between students.

“They believe sexual activity should be between married students and not between unmarried students,” he said.

Brigham Young University ranks last on the list at No. 140.

Sperling said the best thing that UB can do to improve its future ranking is to increase the amount of sexual health information which is provided on its student health center web site.

“We are passionate about this because we are providing this information to students and what they’ve done with this is that they’ve approached administration to say we need to have better resources,” Sperling said.

email: news@ubspectrum.com


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