Sexual Health Slowly Rising at Boston College

Trojan Brand Condoms collaborated with Sperling’s BestPlaces to release the ninth annual study on sexual health across college campuses nationwide. This year, Boston College ranks 108th out of 140 schools. While BC has improved seven places since last years’ report, this ranking still puts BC in the bottom 25% of schools.

The 2014 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card evaluated each school for its availability of sexual health resources and information to students. Student health centers were assessed based on a number of criteria including hours of operation, HIV and STI testing, sexual assault programs and outreach programs for students.

Topping the list are Oregon State University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Maryland-College Park. These schools have risen dramatically in the ranks from year to year by initiating safe sex campaigns and making resources more available to students. Without taking similar strides to promote safer sex, BC has lingered at the bottom of the Report Card rankings.

“Most people expect low sexual health on campus because we lack contraceptives and sexual education on campus," Samantha Hodge, CSON ’15, said. “We may be a religiously affiliated school, but offering these services would not condone behaviors that go against BC’s ideology. Instead, it would only help students make the same choices in a safer way.”

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Students may not find BC’s low ranking shocking due to the lack of contraceptives and other resources available on campus. The shock will instead come from the fact that over thirty schools fall below BC in sexual health ranking. Schools at the bottom of the list include Chicago State University, Providence College and Brigham Young University. Many of these universities experience more stringent regulations on contraceptive availability and open discussion of sexual activity than at BC.

A lack of sexual education and resources across campuses increases health risks for all college students. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that “nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in this country, with a record one in four (25 percent) college students having some form of an STI.” Given this statistic, it is all the more important for Boston College students to have access to high-quality information and resources on sexual health.

Awareness of sexual health issues and prevention tips is key to improving sexual health across campuses. The report provides access to The Trojan Sexual Health E-Toolkit, which is an online resource containing facts and tips on improving sexual health.

BC Students for Sexual Health seeks to bring similar resources directly to students by campaigning for policy reform and contraceptive availability. Without access to these resources in the campus health center, students depend on this organization as on-campus support.

The goal of the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is to be an eye-opener for schools nationwide and spark change in sexual health practices. BC’s slow uprising in national ranking should spark innovation and action among students to promote sexual health on campus.

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Michelle LaConte