Men’s Preventive Maintenance Guide

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photo: wikimedia commons

Get your vaccination

In recognition of June being Men’s Health Month, let’s review some updated CDC information on tests needed for healthy men 18 and above:

Hypertension  (High Blood Pressure) – All men should have their blood pressure checked periodically

  • every 2 years in persons with blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg
  • every year if higher than 120/80

Elevated Lipids (Cholesterol, other fats in blood) – All men aged 20-34 years should be screened for elevated lipids if they are at increased risk for coronary heart disease

Who has increased risk?

  • Diabetes.
  • Previous personal history of heart vessel disease or atherosclerosis.
  • A family history of cardiovascular disease before age 50 in male relatives or age 60 in female relatives.
  • Tobacco use.
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity (BMI ≥30).

Diabetes management – Get screening tests for diabetes if you have a strong family history of diabetes, or if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.  High blood pressure increases the risk for complications of adult diabetes

Tobacco cessation – Smoker?  STOP!  But if you continue, make sure you get a pneumococcal vaccine once, and a influenza vaccine every year.

HIV screening – EVERYONE should be screened for HIV at least once, and periodically if you are at risk for exposure (sex, needle sharing, occupational risk, diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease) 

Influenza vaccination – Flu vaccine is no longer limited to people with health problems.  Every guy (and gal)  should consider getting a flu vaccine every fall to protect them during the winter influenza season.

All of this is available at Student Health Services, so start your checklist, and get busy!

Good Health.

Roger Miller, MD  (OSU Student Health Services

Get Your GYT On!

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We use a lot of resources from the GYT (Get Yourself Tested) site, sponsored by MTV and CDC.  This is especially true during STD Awareness Month, which is rapidly coming to a close.  One fairly new item on the site is the GYT Party!   Rest assured, this is not a political party.  It is an interactive website, where you hang out, get some information, and listen in on some cool conversations.   You might even learn something!! 

So, come on, join us at the Party!


Good Health! 

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health)

Q: I’ve been exposed! When should I get my STD test?

Get Yourself Tested

Use protection


Students come in on occasion with immediate concerns about STDs, especially after an unprotected sex act, or one in which the protection failed.  Their questions?

  • What STDs could I have gotten last night?
  • When would I get symptoms if infected?
  • How soon can I be tested to know that I’m ok?
  • Can I spread this to another sex partner?
  • When is Emergency Contraception needed, if there is a pregnancy risk?

These are excellent questions, and require some discussion with a healthcare provider.  The reason is that STDs can vary from a few days to several months or more in terms of INCUBATION.  INCUBATION means the time needed from exposure to infection.  Getting tested immediately (or the next morning) may be too early to find the bug when it is first growing, but can tell us about your past risks. 

While testing may need to be delayed or repeated, treatment is often given right after exposure, if a partner is known to be infected with an STD.  This is called EMPIRIC treatment for an exposed partner, and can prevent an STD before it starts.

Final points –

  • While we will strive to address all your concerns on the first visit, there will likely still be some unknowns at the end of your visit.  We will establish a treatment and testing plan that is best suited to your needs.
  • Protection is Prevention if used consistently and carefully.  Most condoms fail because of user errors. 
  • Student Health Services is your healthcare provider in the heart of campus.  Come see us for our caring and expertise.   

Good Health!

Roger Miller, MD  (OSU Student Health)

Have you been asked the Five P’s??? – April is STD Awareness Month

Wilce Student Health Center

GYT - Make your appointment!

Use protection

Lets say you are going to Student Health or your private caregiver.  In most cases, they are going to ask you a few questions about your sexual health and sexual practices. These questions are very personal, but they are as important as the questions about other areas of physical and mental health. Your answers are kept in strict confidence. 

So, are you ready to talk about your five P’s?  The five “P”s stand for Partners, Practices, Protection from STDs, Past history of STDs, and Prevention of pregnancy.


  • Are you currently sexually active? (Are you having sex?)
  • In the past 12 months, how many sex partners have you had?
  • Are your sex partners men, women, or both?


  • What kind of sexual contact do you have or have you had?
  • Genital (penis in the vagina), Anal (penis in the anus), Oral (mouth on penis, vagina, or anus)?

Protection from STDs

  • Do you and your partner(s) use any protection against STDs? If not, why?  If so, what kind”
  • How often do you use this protection? If “sometimes,” in what situations or with whom do you use protection?
  • Are there other forms of protection that you would like to discuss today?

Past history of STD’s

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an STD?
  • Have you had any recurring symptoms or diagnoses?
  • Have you ever been tested for HIV, or other STDs? Would you like to be tested?
  • Has your current partner or any former partners ever been diagnosed or treated for an STD?

Prevention of pregnancy (Based on partners noted earlier, conception and contraception questions may be appropriate)

  • Are you currently trying to conceive or father a child?
  • Are you concerned about getting pregnant or getting your partner pregnant?
  • Are you using contraception or practicing any form of birth control?
  • Do you need any information on birth control?

Finally, before you move on to discuss other things with your caregiver, consider:

  • Are there other things about your sexual health and sexual practices that you should discuss to help ensure your good health?
  • Any other concerns or questions regarding sexual health in general?

Student Health Services can offer you expert advice, all the current diagnostic and treatment options, and vaccinations that can protect you long term.  Come see us, and GET YOURSELF TESTED

OSU Researcher gets Savage about HPV and throat cancer!

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is a journalist and advocate for LGBT rights who writes a syndicated relationship and sex advice column called Savage Love.  Last year, he started the internet-based It Gets Better project, whose goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve.  He’s gotten multiple celebriteis to post a video message, including President Barack Obama.

Dan came to Ohio State in October where he he met Dr. Theodoros Teknos, Director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at the Arther G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.  They struck up a conversation about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – it’s relationship to oral sex and throat cancer risk, the vaccines that are available to prevent it, and what you need to know to keep yourself healthy.  

Dan interviewed Dr. Teknos for this week’s installment of his podcast, Savage Love Episode 270.  You should check it out; not only is the talk with Dr. Teknos really good but later on, Dan checks in with a gay college student who is dealing with coming out, suicide attempts, and being cut off by his family.

Just to warn you, Dan’s podcasts and columns are based on two main ingredients – his political views, and very frank discussions of sexuality in all of its varied forms.  They can be pretty strong and may not be to your taste.  But even if you don’t agree with everything he says, you can still learn something from the guy.  After all, he figured out that the best students and researchers in the world are right here at THE Ohio State University, so he’s got to be pretty smart, right?

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

What’s the Deal with HPV?

genital wart caused by HPV infection


Use protection

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. There are over 100 strains of HPV, about 30 of which can be sexually transmitted. HPV can cause a number of different diseases including genital warts and cervical cancer, as well as other less common cancers of the anus, throat, penis, vulva and vagina. Different strains of HPV cause different diseases; the “low-risk” types are more likely to cause genital warts while the “high-risk” types are more likely to lead to cancer.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that about 50% of sexually active men and women will get HPV at some time in their lives.  Some people who have HPV have no visible signs of infection, so they spread it to their partners without even knowing they have it.  HPV is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact so you can get it even if you are using a condom.  There is no medical treatment for HPV but fortunately, in about 90% of cases an individual’s immune system will get rid of the virus on its own within two years. 

It is very important that all sexually active women receive an annual exam.  Your health care provider will examine you for genital warts and/or signs of precancerous changes of the cervix called “cervical dysplasia.” Cervical cancer is most successfully treated when it is caught early.

A vaccine that protects against the four most common strains of HPV is now available for men and women ages 9-26. This vaccine will greatly decrease your chances of becoming infected with one of the viruses that can cause cervical cancer.  If you’ve already been infected with one of these four strains, the vaccine won’t cure you but it can prevent you from getting one of the other types.  Even if you do get the vaccine, it is very important that women still go for regular exams.

The staff at Student Health Services is happy to answer any of your questions, perform all recommended exams and tests, and provide the HPV vaccine.  In the meantime, here are some other good sources of reliable information:

Angie Walker (Ohio State College of Medicine)

John A. Vaughn, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)

What can I do if I think I’ve been given a “date rape” drug?

While thankfully rare, incapacitated sexual assault does occur on college campuses.  Womens Services at Student Health has put together some really useful information about what Ohio State students can do if they feel that they were the victim of a “date rape” drug. 

Please check it out.  And remember to be careful when going out to bars or parties or any other place where you might be given a drink from someone you don’t know.  Keep your friends close by to make sure you all get home safely.  

Beth Askue, MS, CNP
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Are Sex Toys Necessarily Safe Toys?

I just ran across a great article about sex toys from our colleagues at Brown Univeristy.  Now I know this is an embarassing topic for a lot of people to talk about, but I wanted to share it with you for a couple of reasons:

1. The whole point of this blog is to talk about embarassing stuff that you want to know, and

2. It brings up an important point about not making assumptions about “safe” sex.

Just like sex that doesn’t include men isn’t automatically safe, the use of sex toys doesn’t guarantee a risk free experience either.

If you’re using a sex toy with a partner, you can catch a sexually-transmitted infection from it.  While bacteria and viruses prefer living at body temperature, they can survive in blood and bodily fluids for a time outside of the body and therefore can be on the surface of sex toys passed from one partner to another.

Now, if you’re flying solo you obviously don’t need to worry about getting a sexually-transmitted infection from a sex toy, but they can result in bacteria passing from the anus to the vagina or mouth, which can cause a vaginal or intestinal infection.  So if you plan to use them in multiple areas, cover them with a condom or wash them before moving from the anus to the vagina or mouth.  

The article by the folks at Brown covers a lot of this stuff in more detail and provides some really good tips for cleaning and maintaining sex toys.  If you are worried that you may have or have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, come in and see us – we’re always glad to help.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

A cool way of SEEING how safe the HPV vaccine is

The Visual Miscellaneum

About a year and a half ago, we did a post linking to a very cool and informative article about the H1N1 vaccine that presented tons of information in an almost purely visual format.  The blog is called Information Is Beautiful, and it’s done by a London-based “independent visual & data journalist” named David McCandless whose passion lies in reporting information through images and with a minimum of text.  

Well he’s at it again, but this time he’s taking on the HPV vaccine.  The article is definitely worth a look – it should give you a whole new way of “looking” at the HPV vaccine.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the HPV vaccine, our preventive services department will be happy to answer them.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Let’s talk: STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) testing


Love - Fear

GYT - Make your appointment!

So you’re no virgin – you fooled around in high school and had a “went all the way” partner before coming to Ohio State.  But now you’ve met a special person, and things are getting pretty serious.  When do you start talking about testing?

As a doctor at Student Health, I have talked to students that have made different decisions when it comes to sex and STI testing. Some get tested before they ever have any sex.  Some do it before they decide to have penetrative sex (you know, intercourse, either vaginal or anal).  Some decide to get tested when they are ready to stop using condoms with their partner. (which opens up a whole can of worms when it comes to preventing pregnancy, but that is a different post.)  

So, which decision is the right one? Let’s compare another situation:

  • Person 1 likes to put on her seat belt as soon as she gets in the car,
  • Person 2 waits until she is pulling out of the Lennox parking lot and onto the street, and
  • Person 3 only wears hers when driving on the freeway. 

Who is the safest? Who is right? It’s hard to say because everyone thinks about risk and how much risk they are willing to take on differently.  That is why you must talk to your partner about STI’s.  Don’t assume that they will decide for you, or that you can decide for your partner.  TALK. 

Need some suggestions for getting ready for the TALK?  Visit the GYT site for some talking tips

Ready to get tested?  Visit our web site or call for more information and to get it done.  All enrolled OSU students are eligible to be seen at Student Health Services, right here next door to the RPAC. 

See you soon.

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University