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Tech near bottom for sexual health

October 27, 2016

Amber Harrington

Staff Reporter | anh038@latech.edu

 

Although Louisiana Tech may have ranked No. 1 in the State of Louisiana in MONEY’s 2016-2017 Best Colleges report, the university ranked much lower when it came to sexual health.

 

According to Trojan Brand’s 2016 Sexual Health Report Card, Tech ranked 121 in the nation for sexual health education on campus.

 

The study, hosted annually by Sperling’s BestPlaces, analyzed 140 major campuses nationwide and graded them according to their sexual health resources and information available to students. The study looked at factors such as hours of operation and accessibility of health centers, sexual health education, print and online resources, availability of contraceptives and STD and HIV testing. The main objective, according to the report card published by Sperling’s BestPlaces, is to positively impact college campuses as students continue to push to improve their rankings.

 

According to Sperling’s BestPlaces publication, “In the 11 years since we started the study, we’ve seen a huge improvement in the level of sexual health information and resources provided by the schools’ student health centers. It’s our feeling that the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is a key reason why students are getting better information and resources. Students have used the Trojan rankings to approach their administration and make a case for better resources and services.”

 

This past year, Tech jumped up 11 spots from 132 to 121 on the charts.

 

Drew Caldwell, a sophomore kinesiology major, said Tech isn’t proactive enough to tackle its sexual health issues, which accounts for its slow climb in rankings. He said beyond a freshman seminar on sexually-transmitted diseases and counseling services, not much more is offered on the subject.

 

“I haven’t heard about Tech doing anything to raise awareness about sexual health,” Caldwell said. “I’ve been to one awareness meeting that was mandatory for a class, but that’s the only thing I’ve ever gone to that talks about STDs and the problems they cause.”

 

Caldwell feels that without the adequate amount of attention, Tech’s lack of sexual health education could ultimately affect students’ futures.

 

“If you have an STD, and you don’t get treated, you could get really sick, and it could cost you a partner in the future,” he said. “It also makes you feel terrible and makes you not want to get up and go about your everyday life.”

 

Louisiana is no stranger to the spotlight when it comes to a lack of sexual health education.

 

The state is among one of the nation’s leaders in sexually transmitted diseases.

 

According to data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the 2013 STD Surveillance Report, Louisiana had the highest rate in the nation for congenital syphilis and gonorrhea, the second highest rate for chlamydia, and the third highest rate for primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis. Most cases were found in the northeastern region of the state.

 

“I think there are a lot of reasons the scores are so low,” Caldwell said. “From people just being careless to not knowing that STDs are a big deal to not taking the right approach – and everything in between. In the future, they should have a chapter talking about the dangers of unprotected sex, alcohol abuse and drug abuse to help students learn and hopefully keep them safe.”

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