Campus drops in Trojan sexual health rankings

The grades are in for universities nationwide, but this is not a typical report card. Trojan Brand Condoms released its 2007 Sexual Health Report Card on Monday, which is the second annual ranking of 139 U.S. university and college health centers, according to the Trojan Web site. The study said TCU students have little access to sexual health products and information.

According to the Web site, TCU raised its sexual health GPA from 1.1 to 2.64, but was ranked 85th, a drop of seven spots from last year’s 78. The University of Minnesota was ranked No. 1 and fellow Mountain West conference member, University of Wyoming, was second. The highest-ranking Texas university was the University of Texas at Austin at No. 53.

In the study, the Web site stated that researchers polled student health centers and graded the schools based on sexual health awareness programs, sexually transmitted disease testing, health services, sexual assault programs, availability of contraceptives, hours of operation and Web sites.

Carolyn Hunt, a sophomore social work major, said, “It’s just really nice to have (the Health Center) on campus and not have to go to an actual hospital.”

However, Hunt said she wanted the center to improve communication with students, especially after the pharmacy’s abrupt close last year.

Carter English, a sophomore business major, said he has never gone to the Health Center because he heard that its services are “sub-par.”

The Women’s Network coordinator JoHannah Hamilton said her organization has been trying to persuade the Health Center to provide the human papilloma virus vaccine for female students since last fall.

Hamilton, a senior anthropology major and women’s studies minor, said at first, the center only bought 10 vaccines.

“They’re not advertising very well,” Hamilton said. “It’s not on the Web.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, at least 80 percent of women will have HPV by age 80.

Mary Rae, medical director for the Health Center, said nursing practitioner Johnnie Ireland helps students with sexual health questions, especially women’s health. Ireland and Dr. Burton Schwartz are available on request to speak in dorms, Rae said. She said she hopes to have peer education groups by next year.

According to the Health Center Web site, birth control, diagnoses and treatment of STD’s and contraception advice are available, but are listed as women’s health issues. In addition to oral contraceptives, Rae said, the pharmacy has hormone shots, the NuvaRing and condoms.

Hamilton said Texas’ legislation of abstinence-only education in schools may have contributed to Texas universities’ low rankings.

“I think that sexual health and sexual activity is not something we can ignore,” Hamilton said. “If we learn safe sex here, we’ll carry that with us for the rest of our lives.”

As for the effectiveness of TCU’s sexual assault programs, crime prevention officer Pamela Christian said TCU is “doing everything it can to protect students.”

Christian said she offers Rape Aggression Defense classes once a semester to teach female students self-defense techniques.

“One in three females will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” Christian said. “I think what needs to happen is to change the thinking of the female and let them know that they can be a victim.”

Hamilton said the Health Center should improve its communication by updating its Web site, providing pamphlets and programs on sexual health issues, as well as work with TCU to keep students healthy.