Trojan gives us a grade – on sexual health

We’re in school — yay! And we get grades — yay again! So why not get another one? Trojan (“America’s #1 condom”) came out with its annual Sexual Health Report Card and gave us here at UC Berkeley another, you guessed it, grade.

The good news: we went from being ranked 54 in the nation last year to being 12 this year. Go Bears! The bad news: I’m not really sure what this is supposed to mean, or if I even really agree with that.

Just to get you up to speed, each school was evaluated based on thirteen criteria, from student opinion of Health Center, to contraceptive availability and various sexual health education resources, among others. If you read my little review of my experience talking to our Sexual Health Education program folks on Upper Sproul, you should know that I wasn’t particularly impressed. However, I do have to say that we have a sexual health program, sexual health awareness and education events, available STI tests (at a cost), counseling, a DeCal, and some other resources included in the list.

While I applaud our school for having all these resources, I think that my puzzling experience last week left me with a negative impression of our peer counselors. They just weren’t very well versed in even what was going on at the event (which makes me wonder how much depth they could offer me with real sexual health issues), or very at ease discussing sex with a stranger on Upper Sproul. Random ironic observation: our SHEP website’s list of resources actually includes Columbia University’s “Go Ask Alice!” website (Columbia ranked first for the second year in a row).

There’s something else, however, that I think really bothers me about our so-called good sexual health here: the students’ seemingly large lack of knowledge about STI’s and birth control methods. I continue to find that most people don’t know much or anything about HPV, believe that the “pulling out” method is totally fine and many other things. For such a “sexually healthy” campus, that’s a bit weird.

Much more can be said about our campus sexual health and education resources, but that would take much more time and words than I have here. So, in the meantime, whether you choose Trojan’s new BareSkin condoms (yes, they shamelessly promoted these throughout the packet they sent us) or another brand, use them and go learn about all the stuff you don’t know.