September 26, 2016

Webster should invest in student sexual health services

According to the 2015 Delegates’ Agenda, 70 percent of Webster students believe the university’s sexual health services need improvement. On Feb. 19, students proposed a budget increase to fund the creation of a nursing station on campus, where a full-time practitioner could distribute contraceptives, HPV vaccines and STD and pregnancy tests.

The Journal stands with the student majority on this issue: sexual health is vital to students’ well-being, as well as their academic performance. We believe it is Webster’s responsibility to provide quality access to these services.

During the Delegates’ presentation, students said Webster’s sexual health services fall short compared to other universities in the St. Louis area. If Webster invested in more services like pregnancy tests and prevention methods, it would not only help current students, but also improve the overall quality of campus life.

The Guttmacher Institute conducted a study that found 40 percent of women who obtain abortions are college-age. When a young woman keeps an unplanned pregnancy, it can place financial and emotional strain on her as a student and lead her to her drop out of school. Providing better access to contraception on campus would prevent unwanted pregnancies and lower the number of abortions, as well as maintain a supportive environment where students feel safe and healthy.

The spread of STD and HIV is another major health concern on college campuses. The National College Health Assessment Survey found only 54 percent of college students use condoms during intercourse, and just four percent use them during oral sex. In light of this statistic, it’s no surprise Stanford University found 1 in 4 college students has an STD. Many people with STD and HIV are not even aware they carry a disease.

Since sexual diseases are so prevalent on college campuses, Webster should be attentive to this issue and provide easy access to tests and prevention.

Many out-of-state students don’t have local doctors where they can receive such care during the school year, so an increase in sexual health services would also potentially save students expensive medical bills and encourage them to get tested. This would increase overall campus safety and health.

Students perform better when they feel healthy and secure. Sexual health affects student performance and thus affects the quality of Webster’s campus. An investment in sexual health services would ultimately benefit both Webster students and the university.

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