Summer is ending and it’s time for the students to go back to school. But first things first, how many of the students of the 2012 college freshmen class or parents’ of incoming freshman thought to consider the school’s sexual health before making such an important decision? Probably not many. While most of us, including myself, were focused on the academic aspects of the school it is also important to analyze the availability of information and health services when determining your home for the next four years.
I was proud to see the University of South Carolina- Columbia (my alma mater) in the 2011 rankings of the Top 10 Sexually Healthy Schools in the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card. The report ranked the sexual health of 141 colleges across the country based on measures including hours of operation, permission of drop-in appointments, access to contraceptives, access to testing, and student peer groups. It is encouraging to see that the University is ranked in top colleges considering that Columbia, SC has the 6th highest rate of AIDS in metropolitan areas across the nation.
In a state that has the 4th highest rate of Gonorrhea and 5th highest rate of Chlamydia in the nation it is of the utmost importance that we educate our youth on their bodies and ways to protect themselves from these health issues. Be sure that you sign our Bill of Rights and take the initiative to communicate with your legislators regularly. Without the policies to support responsible proactive measures our state will continue to be at the top of the wrong charts.