Durham University sexual health services named second worst in the UK

Only the University of South Wales was ranked worse

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The online medical service, Zava, has found that Durham University’s sexual health services are the second worst in the UK, according to a study carried out across major UK institutions.

Of the 50 universities included in the study, Durham came 49th, losing out only to the University of South Wales. The findings were based on the quality of online sexual health information available, the opening hours and location of student clinics, and the ease of access to help with sexual health.

Liverpool University was rated as having the best sexual health services, with Swansea University and the University of Bristol rounding off the top three.

Experts estimate that on average, students will have unprotected sex an average of 12 times during their time at university.

Dr Kathryn Basford, Zava GP, said: “Our analysis of 50 of the UK’s top universities shows that many students are lacking both virtual and physical access to sexual health information and resources from their universities.

“While universities should look to educate and provide access to sexual health services for their students, students also need to take some precautions of their own. As our data shows, the average university student will have unprotected sex 12 times during their studies. This puts them at risk of catching an STI as well as spreading an STI they’ve already got.”

The study also found that nationwide, almost most half of students have delayed getting tested through fear of embarrassment in front of a doctor or nurse. A third stated that they were concerned they might be seen by friends, while a quarter claimed to put off getting tested out of worry of what the results might say.

An additional finding of the research showed that of the 50 universities included in the analysis, 21 lacked any detailed STI information or specific sexual health support pages for students online.

Jeremy Cook, Durham University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges & Student Experience) said: “Our students access support and advice on sexual health matters through our Colleges, our central professional services, our student Common Rooms and our Students’ Union. We also signpost information on our student support web pages.

“We are in conversation with the local public health service, who are facilitating a series of information roadshows at induction events and at each of our Colleges throughout the coming academic year. These will provide a safe space for conversations about sexual health and will direct students to the relevant NHS information and facilities.

At present, Durham University students can be tested for STIs by their GP, the Sexual Health Hub at North Road Hospital, or by ordering a free SH:24 kit to their Durham address.