Iowa State’s sexual health ranking improves

Ted Sics

Iowa State placed 81st in the Trojan condom company’s annual college sexual health resources survey.

The survey, which was released Oct. 19, was conducted by the research firm Sperling BestPlaces. It ranked the student health centers of 141 colleges and universities within the Bowl Championship Series system, according to a criterion, which included the availability of STI testing, sexual health outreach programs and contraception distribution.

Iowa State’s current ranking reflects a slight improvement over last year’s 100th-place finish.

Reonda Washington, prevention program coordinator at the Thielen Student Health Center, said her department tries to make it as easy as possible for students to access sexual health resources.

Free Condom Wednesday and Thursday have proven especially popular among students, Washington said.

“We are one of the only schools in the Big 10 or Big 12 area that distributes condoms in this way to our students,” Washington said. “Last year we distributed 96,000 condoms.”

In addition to giving out male contraceptives, the health center provides female birth control options at or below the market price.

Thielen also offers a number of sexual health awareness programs.

“We do bystander interventions, which is part of sexual assault awareness,” Washington said. “There are other groups on campus that do sexual health programs that talk about intimate relationships and things like that, but we’re focusing more on what’s effective.”

Columbia University in New York City topped Trojan’s list for the second year in a row. The University of Iowa came in at ninth place. DePaul University, a Catholic school in Chicago, finished last.

Despite Iowa State’s relatively low ranking in the survey, Story County is the third-healthiest county in Iowa in terms of STI and teen pregnancy rates, according to the County Health Rankings.

“Considering that [Free Condom Wednesday and Thursday] is the only program I’ve ever heard of, I think there is room for improvement,” said Matt Lutjen, junior in criminal justice.

Taylor Harrison, senior in psychology, held a different opinion.

“Overall, they do a fairly good job of making sexual education available here,” she said. “But it’s depressing that Iowa beat us.”