Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Survey shows: UA good in bed

The University of Alabama ranked 48th out of 141 institutions in Trojan Condoms’ fifth annual Sexual Health Report Card. Auburn University ranked 136th.

Trojan hopes to inspire dialogue about sexual health on college and university campuses with the report, said Bruce Tetreault, group product manager for Trojan Condoms.

The report card ranks colleges and universities from across the nation on a four-point scale according to the institutions’ availability of sexual health services and resources, Tetreault said.

“What we wanted to do was evaluate the assets and availability of sexual health information,” he said. “We wanted to improve the state of sexual health information by advocating for sexual health [awareness].”

Trojan Condoms hired the independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to field the study.

“We have had very little contact with Trojan directly, which is proof of our independence,” said Bert Sperling, president of the research firm. “We’re not following some sort of corporate directive.”

Sperling’s BestPlaces has fielded the study since the beginning of the report card in 2006.

Sperling said the focus of the study was not on the moral issue of pre-marital sex or the commercial value of Trojan brand condoms, but instead on the presence and accessibility of sexual health information and services to the student bodies in question.

“We looked at the places that are doing the best job in providing services and resources [pertaining to sexual health] to their students,” he said.

According to the press release for the report card, a total of 12 categories were used in this year’s survey, and each category was assigned a grade on a four-point scale that in turn allowed the research firm to calculate a cumulative grade point average for a university.

The categories researched include: contraceptive availability and cost, condom availability and cost, HIV testing cost and locality (on- versus off-campus) and the availability of anonymous advice via e-mail or newspaper column, the press release reads.

Sperling said the universities that earned top rankings acknowledged that pre-marital sex in college is a reality.

Schools with poor rankings tended to treat sex as an act that ought to be reserved for married couples, he said.

“They didn’t feel that they should be providing information or resources,” Sperling said.

On a positive note, Tetreault said the rankings have continued to improve since 2006.

“The good news is that the GPA’s are going up over time,” he said.

Kerri Boyd, UA assistant director of health education and promotion, said in an e-mailed statement that the University manages strategic health teams that deal with sexual health issues on campus.

“The University of Alabama, through the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness, has many outreach efforts to promote healthy sexual behaviors as well as healthy relationships,” she said. “The HPW office hosts seven strategic health teams, one being Sexual Health and Healthy Relationships.”

She said the University strives to cater to students’ needs pertaining to sexual health.

“Throughout the year, many programs, events, presentations and personal interactions with students provide evidence-based information in an engaging way,” she said. “It is our commitment to provide accurate information for students to use in making informed and healthy decisions…. Personal health, healthy relationships and sexual health are key issues to our students, and we take it seriously.”

Boyd said the University does not rely upon the report card for research purposes or to meet the needs of students.

“As a department, we only use empirical and research-backed data when forming our health messages and programs,” she said. “Advocating brands is not our business; it is the purview of that business itself and their proprietary research is just that, an effort to promote their own product.”

Boyd questioned the validity of the rankings issued from the report card.

“The validity of these rankings is questionable since they are not based on research,” she said. “Criteria for their rankings, as listed on their website, are met and often exceeded by the University of Alabama.”

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