Minnesota Daily (Minneapolis) (04.30.2013)
University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health Service officials are investigating whether international students lack comprehensive sex education. Physicians at the health center have noticed an increase in STDs, abnormal Pap smears, and positive pregnancy tests among international students. According to Lisa Mattson, Boynton Women’s Clinic associate director, approximately a dozen physicians and nurse practitioners met to discuss the trend and she suggested that a of a lack of sex education among several international communities could be a factor. Mattson noted that many of her patients have misconceptions about the effectiveness of condoms and the chances of pregnancy.
Nan Sinchai, vice president of the Minnesota International Student Association, commented that many students from different countries have difficulty talking about sex openly, even to a physician. Chief Medical Officer Gary Christenson said that Boynton has started collecting patient data to investigate physicians’ impressions. If findings show that international students have higher STD and positive pregnancy test rates, the health service will devise new outreach strategies. According to Mattson, physicians have started discussing ways to improve the health center’s presence during orientation and Welcome Week as well as ways to increase interaction with international student groups. Boynton spokesperson Dave Golden said that this summer Boynton will begin offering online health videos, including some on sexual health translated into different languages.