UB ranked 40 for healthy sex


According to research from the makers of Trojan brand condoms, the University at Buffalo is ranked 40th on its list of sexually healthiest American universities.

Researchers based each school's placement on scores in 12 statistical categories, several of which include the availability of contraceptives, the existence of lecture programs and peer groups and the availability of sexual health testing.

"I think being number 40 on the list is pretty significant, considering how many people the university needs to accommodate," said Emily Urbanowicz, a senior health and human sciences major. "The school is good at providing education and [inexpensive] protection."

In the spring of 2010, Wellness Education Services conducted a sexual health call survey where UB students anonymously shared information pertaining to their sexual health habits.

The survey shows that 65 percent of the UB students polled typically use a condom to prevent pregnancy, 56 percent of students use a barrier to prevent transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, and about half of the students back up condom usage with another method of contraception, namely birth control pills.

"From a health professional's perspective, we are certainly excited to be in the top 40," said Susan Snyder, the director of Student Health Services. "We've worked hard to boost our sexual health initiatives."

In the same study taken in 2009, UB ranked 85th.

Since, UB programs have done the job to increase the school's ranking. The Student Wellness Education Services office orders thousands of condoms through the New York State Safer Sex Program, a subsidiary of the state health department which issues free condoms to organizations with sexually active constituencies. In addition to male condoms, Wellness Education Services provides free female condoms and dental dams to cover all permutations of sexual contact.

"I think it's a great thing that students are showing that they care about having safer sex," said Anna Sotelo-Peryea, the research coordinator and violence prevention specialist in the Health and Wellness office.

UB 101, the popular first-year student information seminar, incorporates sex education in its one credit hour course curriculum. A nurse educator comes in each semester to teach students safer sex practices, and to play "STI Jeopardy."

"We update the program each year," Snyder said. "Returning students are better educated and most know their [sexual health] status and how to protect their partner."

Student Health Services administrates a variety of women's health services, including primary care gynecology care. Michael Hall has also hired a full-time women's health nurse practitioner, Michelle O'Dierno.

The university's non-profit pharmacy in Michael Hall also provides condoms and prescription birth control pills at lower prices than commercial pharmacies.

"Health Services has taken the initiative, and we're happy with the result," Snyder said.

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