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Thursday, December 07, 2023

The Gator Nation has proved, once again, that it likes to be on top.

In the 2011 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, UF ranked No. 8 in sexual health resources out of 141 surveyed U.S. schools. Last year, UF came in at No. 17.

The ranking methods are close to students' actual perceptions, said Bert Sperling, owner of Sperling's BestPlaces, which conducted the research.

Schools were graded on services in 13 categories including convenience and availability of health centers, condom and contraceptive availabilities, HIV or STI testing, outreach programs, website usability and sexual assault resources.

Sperling, who has done the research for all six of the annual report cards, said student health centers also receive a questionnaire to fill out as part of the project.

GatorWell Health Promotion Specialist Samantha Evans said she is aware of the rankings but has never been contacted.

Evans said GatorWell offers a wide variety of sexual-health education. Student organizations and classes can request presentations as part of GatorWell's outreach program, and students station the Health Hut around high-traffic areas of campus.

Evans said GatorWell promotes sexual health, among other issues. The Health Hut features different health topics every few weeks such as correct condom use and the importance of getting tested.

Free condoms and lubricant are available at the Health Hut, the main GatorWell office, and at the satellite offices in Jennings Hall and the Springs Area.

GatorWell also offers free HIV testing by appointment two days a week.

Murphree Area Resident Assistant Lindsey Wuest made her residents a bulletin board about sexual health and STDs. She said several dorms have also brought in "Condom Miranda," an AIDS Action Council campaigner who educates students.

Wuest said she thought GatorWell could advertise its services better to off-campus students, but overall she was happy with UF's sexual health education efforts.

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Sperling said breaking into the top tier on the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card is a hard thing to do.

"Competition is very stiff," he said.

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