Sexuality and Student Health: Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources and Information at American University
Degree awarded: M.A. Sociology. American University
Access to sexual and reproductive health resources is a vital aspect of overall health and wellbeing. College students are in a unique position related to their sexual and reproductive health needs. It is imperative that colleges and universities both provide necessary sexual and reproductive health resources and also that they ensure students are able to readily access those resources. This qualitative research examined access to sexual and reproductive health resources at American University from the perspective of the undergraduate students through interviews. It identifies both facilitators and barriers to access, and makes recommendations for improvements to access. Findings encompass several barriers, including lack of knowledge and information, stigma and certain gender biases, cost and transportation barriers. There were also facilitators, including a number of very strong student-led groups, and a recent program focused on sexual violence prevention. Recommendations include a well-designed education and information program at orientation, increased visibility of programs and services offered on campus, and greater availability of free safer sex supplies and testing, among others.