Concern for the health of sexually active Millersville University students along with a recent grant from the Center for Research on Women and Newborn Health (CROWN) foundation sparked a new three-phase course of action on sexual education set to begin in the fall. An initial pilot study conducted by health services showed many students do not use condoms for various reasons including being in a monogamous relationship, being intoxicated, and lacking preparation.
Nurse practitioner Anne Pryzbylkowski believes the main reasons Millersville students do not use protection is that they are in the developmental stage of young adults who are fearless and believe no harm will fall to them. Also, there is a large lack of information concerning sexual education.
“Many students come from public schools with abstinence-only education and have never had the talk about protection before college”, said Pryzbylkowski.
The $20,453 grant will be used to tweak the pilot survey results and purchase items to develop a sexual education curriculum. The first phase in this program will involve surveying students in general education classes on knowledge of as well as experience with barriers of condoms. Students will be surveyed regardless of their sexual orientation or if they are currently sexually active
From this information a curriculum will be developed to target what is lacking in the surveys. For example, although many students may be protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies by taking birth control pills they may not be aware of still contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Components of this will include an interactive website with a thirty minute educational piece as well as a hands-on activity in wellness classes. Items such as dental dams, female condoms, male condoms, and penis and vagina models will be used to educate students on protecting themselves.
The third phase will consist of compiling the survey results and publishing an article of their findings, which was a requirement of the grant.
This grant is a collaborative effort by principal investigator and health services nurse Jenny Monn, nurse practitioner Anne Pryzbylkowski, and Drs. Kim Mahaffy, sociology: Becky Mowrey and Julie Lombardi, wellness and sports sciences, who all assisted with the initial survey and will continue with the ongoing project.
Information will be used from the American Sexual Health Association’s website. Key facts from this source include that each year, one in four teens contracts an STD/STI and more than half of all people will have an STD/STI at some point in their lifetime. The program will stress that condoms are the only contraceptive option that can prevent both unintended pregnancies and STIs.
The grant is titled “Factors Influencing Barrier Protection Use Among College Students: Implementation of an Education Campaign”, and is set for an 18 month renewable period. “If successful the team may reapply for future money for the program, but it is still in the early phases,” said Pryzbylkowski.