Compared to other Big Ten schools, MSU is falling short when it comes to sexual health, according to a report from Trojan Condoms.
MSU ranks 45th in U.S. on Trojan Condoms' 2013 Sexual Health Report Card
The condom company recently released its annual Sexual Health Report Card, which ranks U.S. colleges and universities based on the sexual health resources available to students on campus.
MSU ranked 45th out of 140 schools, up from a 2012 ranking of 48.
But among Big Ten schools, MSU is ranked 9th out of the 12. With the addition of the University of Maryland and Rutgers University to the Big Ten in 2014, they’d be ranked 11th out of 14.
University of Michigan ranked 11th overall, with University of Iowa as the top Big Ten school at No. 4, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne at No. 1 in last year’s rankings.
MSU was ranked as high as No. 2 in 2010 but has since plummeted down the list.
Areas evaluated in the analysis include condom availability, HIV testing, lecture and outreach programs, student peer groups and website quality and accessibility.
But Erica Phillipich, coordinator for the MSU Center for Sexual Health Promotion, pointed out the Trojan rankings are based on survey data and not study or research.
“Each college campus in the United States has its own culture and ‘vibe,’ if you will, so to compare schools to each other in this way is not really comparing apples to apples,” Phillipich said.
The largest sexual health resource at MSU is through Condom Connection and a partnership with the MSU Residence Halls Association, she said.
“We make 25,000 condoms accessible through the Condom Connection program, and another roughly 40,000 to 50,000 condoms are available through our clinics and other sexual health programs,” Phillipich said. “I think it’s safe to say students know about and appreciate the free condoms.”
But some students wish there was stronger sexual health education and outreach.
Josh Boike, director of public relations for the MSU Freshman Class Council, said the only sexual education incoming freshman receive is through the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program, or SARV.
“SARV is required for all freshman, but it was mostly about abusive relationships,” Boike said. “It’s good that MSU provides some resources, like free meetings with health counselors, but there isn’t enough outreach about sexual health. Incoming freshman could use more information about risks for STDs, for example.”
For Student Health Services Health Educator Kevin Bator, outreach means getting students to feel comfortable talking about sexual health.
Bator advises the In Your Face Theatre Troupe, which performs skits about various sexual topics throughout campus.
“I think our new website mirrors a lot of the topics we address in our shows,” Bator said. “If we talk about it, chances are there’s a section students can access (about it) on the sexual wellness homepage. But I think a big part of it is having MSU health advocates attend performances and other events. You need face to face contact and not just send students to a website.”
Bator also is an HIV counselor. Students might not know that there’s an option for free, anonymous HIV testing, he said.
The university offers two kinds of HIV testing — a session with a physician in Olin’s Primary Care, or free and anonymous testing at Health Education.
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