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13 November 2010

Trojan’s health report marks improvement

Graphic by Brittney Bomnin//Art Director

At this stage of the game, it may be surprising that some college students are more sexually savvy than others.

Trojan brand condoms partnered with Rock the Vote and Sperling’s Best Places to put together Trojan’s Fifth Annual Sexual Health Report. The study rated 141 universities and colleges in America, ranking them from the most sexually healthy (Columbia University) to the least (University of Idaho).

While UM did show improvement by moving up from 68 to 56 in the rankings last year, it still remains rather low in comparison to other Florida universities.

The University of Florida ranked 17 and Florida Atlantic University came in one position lower. Florida International University even ranked higher than Miami at 49.

Universities were placed according to their student health center’s services based on 13 categories that varied from availability of condoms and contraceptives to on-site HIV and STI testing. Anonymous advice for students through the student health center’s Web site as well as the site’s usability and functionality were taken into account.

Schools across the country have been mirroring Columbia’s sexual health online resource, “Ask Alice,” which gives students the option to submit sexual health questions anonymously rather than going to the health center.

“Columbia has always scored high in sexual health, ranking in the top 10 in the two previous studies for consistent availability of on-site HIV testing, free condoms, anonymous advice capabilities and student peer groups,” said Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s BestPlaces, a Web site that analyzes data about people and places and rates them for major publications. “This combined with the success of Ask Alice helped propel them to number one spot in our study.”

Suelyn Chong, the administrative assistant at the University of Miami’s Student Health Center said that although UM was ranked number 56, the center is pleased that it has moved up from 68 in 2009. UM’s health center said that since last year it has improved and updated its Web site to include information about contraception and other valuable resources for students. Additional improvements are in progress for their Web site redesign.

“They do have pamphlets in the student health center with information, but having an online resource is well needed because it can be embarrassing to go inside the student health center and ask about STDs and stuff like that,” said Rosmary Ros, a freshmen in the College of Arts and Sciences.

However, students say the health center can still make improvements.

“I wish they gave free birth control besides condoms to students and free testing,” said Paola Esquijarosa, a sophomore in the School of Communications. “We pay a lot to attend UM, it’d be great if they gave us those.”

Rose Aviles may be contacted at raviles@themiamihurricane.com.

UM’s student health center services are readily available at the Student Health Service (SHS); students can make appointments online at mystudenthealth.miami.edu or they can walk in to the SHS.

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