Sexual health is very important to students on campus, and 15 out of 16 students questioned in an informal survey feel as though the health center could do more to educate students about sexually transmitted disease protection and prevention.
“Basically we have several brochures in our waiting room about why it is important to take care of your sexual health,” Cynthia Denne, director of student health services, said.
Sexual health is something that is talked a lot about in programs for residential students, however, the entire student population does not benefit.
Students said ULV does not do enough to raise awareness of STDs.
“I feel like other campuses talk about STDs more openly, granted, on my floor, my resident assistant had put up a program, I guess, but if you don’t look on the wall you don’t see anything,” Michael Ryan Cesena, senior kinesiology major, said.
Although there is fish bowl of condoms and pamphlets bout sexual health in the health center, students wish that the health center would make more of an effort to reach out and provide information apart from their information session at orientation.
“All they do is give out condoms and pamphlets but they don’t initiate the conversation,” Naomi Grant, sophomore biology major, said.
The health center, located on E Street between 1st and 2nd streets, is foreign to several students.
“I didn’t even know we have a health center,” Bradd Henderson, freshman business major, said.
Providing free STD screenings is another service offered by the health center.
The health center website also provides links to several different sites such as Condomania, a superstore of condoms, and Go Ask Alice, a site that provides questions and answers about health. While these sources can be useful, students feel as though a more direct approach to education would be beneficial.
“The health center could do a sexual health event or something to make students more aware,” Brittney Britt, sophomore undeclared major, said.
The health center is currently working on building their staff so that they have enough people to adequately provide programming services to students, Denne said.
“We are working on peer education, it is just a matter of staffing,” Denne said.
Students on campus were most likely exposed to some form of sex education in high school or middle school.
However, once they get to college, the information directly applies to their real life.
“I feel like everyone is aware of sexual health and knows to wear a condom, but they don’t know that condoms don’t protect from all STDs,” Sahar Shahidi, sophomore kinesiology major, said.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, half of the 19 million new STDs each year are found in people ages 15 to 24.
With statistics like this, STD prevention is something students feel should be openly discussed.
“I think STDs are just a natural part of life, and whether it is talked about or not, it is going to happen so it might as well be out in the open,” Lisa Beaudoin, senior history major, said.
Students said it is just a matter of starting a conversation.
Kellie Galentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.