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USA ranks 109 in Trojan list

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Trojan’s annual sexual health survey ranks USA low

USA ranked 109th out of 141 colleges and universities on this year’s Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, jumping up two ranks from last year’s report card.

The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is an annual ranking of the sexual health resources and information available to students on 141 major campuses nationwide.

The focus of the study is not to measure sexual health because it “can’t be measured accurately,” according to the head of the independent research firm that fielded the study, Sperling’s Best Places (SBP).

SBP researchers collected data via student health center representatives, along with follow-up secondary research on those centers and students on campus. Student health centers were graded on services across 13 separate categories, including HIV and STI testing, convenience of health center, website usability and outreach programs.

Sperling, who has done the research for all six of the annual report cards, said student health centers also receive a questionnaire to fill out as part of the project.

Beverly Kellen, director of the Student Health Center (SHC), is not sure where Trojan collected the data for South Alabama and is not sure how valid the information is, because she never spoke to Trojan about the information collected in the survey.

“I’ve had no one from Trojan call me, and none of my staff has been interviewed. They must go to the website to get information,” Kellen said.

Kellen says no appointment is necessary at the health center and drop-ins are more common.  SHC is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

SHC provides gynecological services to women, and students can come to the SHC and get tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases for $10.

The health center does not distribute contraceptives because they do not have an on-site pharmacy, but condoms are available.

SHC provides an outreach program called the SEX TEAM, which consists of USA students committed to educating fellow students on issues concerning sexual health and facilitating open, informative programs regarding sexual awareness, sexual communication, sexual assault/rape, dating skills, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, birth control, pregnancy and sexual orientation.  The SEX TEAM could not be contacted for any other information about the program.

In last year’s Vanguard article about the 2010 Trojan survey, College of Medicine Public Relations Associate Director Paul Taylor said he feels that because the study isn’t conducted scientifically and only examines certain aspects of schools’ sexual health programs and resources, it lacks qualities necessary for being a reliable measuring stick.

“The bottom line on this survey is that it’s interesting and an opportunity to talk about this issue,” however, it’s still an incomplete collection of data, Taylor said.

Written by Carey Cox | Copy Editor

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