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

photo: tbdhu.com

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

Food “benefits” are more marketing than medicine


I just came across a great article in the New York Times, Foods With Benefits or So They Say.  I highly recommend you check it out.

We all get that certain foods are healthier for us than others, but most of us wouldn’t confuse a carrot stick with a cholesterol medication.  Well, if Big Food marketers have their way, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

Does Activia improve “intestinal transit time” as it claimed in its commercials that said it was “clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in two weeks.”  Turns out it doesn’t – even by the lax standards of their own “clinical studies” – and the FDA made them pull the ads.

My kids love Frosted Mini-Wheats, but does it improve their attentiveness by 20% like they claimed?  Um… not that I can see.  But their ad said that “A clinical study showed kids who had a filling breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved their attentiveness by nearly 20 percent.”  What the ad doesn’t say is that they compared the kids who had Frosted Mini-Wheats to kids who were given only water for breakfast!  Not only is that completely misleading (not to mention a little cruel) but it turns out that only about half of the kids in the “study” were more attentive after eating the frosted Mini-Wheats than they were before they ate them.

Does POM Wonderful pomegranate juice really help you “cheat death” and aid in the treatment of prostate cancer?  Do Rice Krispies boost your immunity?  No, no and no.

This is important stuff.  Don’t be ripped off or fooled by people who are only interested in selling you something.  If you have questions about how to really eat a healthy diet, talk to one of our nutritionists – they’ll give you the honest scoop.

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

Student Health and a Healthy Campus

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Check your running shoes!

Pertussis Campaign

Student Health Services gets involved in all sorts of disease outbreak announcements, vaccine information, and health awareness activities and serves as the public health agency for issues that impact students.  We work with experts from the OSU Medical Center, Columbus Public Health, the Franklin County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health and even the CDC! 

So, how healthy is our “public”?  The 20th century brought a nearly 30-year increase in life expectancy, and dramatic decreases in infectious diseases.  Now that we are 10 years into the 21st century, are we still making progress?  The CDC asked their public health experts to rank this past decade’s top achievements – here are the ones that most impact health on campus:   

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases – we are now up to 17 different diseases covered by our childhood and adult immunization programs, preventing 42,00 deaths and 20 million illnesses each year for children born from 2001 to present.

Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases – Tuberculosis cases have dropped 30%, and certain infections that can occur in hospitals have decreased 58%.  We are also seeing more rapid detection of diseases like HIV and West Nile virus.

Tobacco Control – The number of current smokers found in youth surveys decreased from 35% to 19% this decade, although this trend has slowed in the last few years.  State-wide comprehensive smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in worksites, restaurants, and bars did not exist in the US in 2000, but that number increased to 25 states and the District of Columbia (DC) by 2010.

Motor Vehicle Safety – even though we drove our motor vehicles more in 2010 than in 2000, death and injury rates due to crashes, and the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed all decreased.   This is largely due to safer cars and roads, along with seat belt and child car seat laws.

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention – These top killers each decreased by about a third in this decade, associated with better control of blood pressure and cholesterol, less smoking, and better treatments.

Public Health Preparedness and Response – 9/11 provided many lessons about preparedness, and now the public health system can respond more rapidly to new threats, like the H1N1 flu and the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Due to these and other health interventions, the death rate in the United States declined from 881.9 per 100,000 population to 741.0 in the past ten years, a record low.  Want more detailed analysis?  Visit the CDC’s Ten Great Public Health Achievements — United States, 2001–2010.

Healthy Living!

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

200 Year Old Condom Found in a Book!

A recent video posted on MSNBC shows a couple of 200-year-old condoms that were discovered in a book in Spain.  Pay attention, OSU librarians – with bookmarks like this, Thomspon library would be the most hopping spot on campus!  

Just a reminder to always check the expiration date before you put on your “raincoat”.  These are “animal skin” condoms, actually made from the lining membranes around the intestines of sheep.

BTW, don’t be too intimidated (or too proud if you’re from Spain) by the size of these condoms – they were held on with a string or ribbon around the base. 

Good Health! 

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

You Got What!?! Measles!?!

Gorakhpur, India

1960, when measles killed many

Measles virus - up close

The CDC recently reported increased cases of measles across the country.  Here are some abridged questions and answers provided by the “Ask The Experts” panel from CDC:

Q: How many cases are we seeing across the United States, and where did they come from?

A: during the first 19 weeks of 2011, 23 states reported 118 cases (usually 56 cases for an entire year). Of those cases, 89% were associated with importation from other countries.

Q: How serious is measles?

A: Measles can lead to serious complications and death, even with modern medical care. Of the 118 cases reported in the U.S. in the first 19 weeks of 2011, 40% had to be hospitalized and nine had pneumonia.  Of the 118 cases, 47 (40%) resulted in hospitalization. All but one hospitalized patient were unvaccinated. The vaccinated patient reported having received 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine and was hospitalized for observation only.

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of measles?

A: Look for

  • a generalized rash lasting 3 or more days, and
  • a temperature of 101 degrees F or higher, and
  • cough, runny nose/congestion, and/or conjunctivitis.

especially if you have recently traveled abroad or have had contact with international travelers.

Q: How contagious is measles?

A: Measles is highly infectious. Droplets has been documented in closed areas for up to 2 hours after a person with measles occupied the area.  Following exposure, up to 90% of susceptible people develop measles. The virus can be transmitted from 4 days before the rash becomes visible to 4 days after the rash appears.

Q: How long does it take to show signs of measles after being exposed?

A: It takes an average of 10-12 days for the first symptom, which is usually fever. The measles rash doesn’t usually appear until 2-3 days after the fever begins.

Q: If a susceptible person is exposed to measles, can anything prevent them from developing the disease?

A: If the person has not been vaccinated, measles vaccine may prevent disease if given within 72 hours of exposure. Other treatment may also help.  See your doctor.

Q: I don’t remember if I ever received MMR vaccine or had measles disease and I am planning an international trip. How should I handle this situation?

A: You have the choice of testing for immunity or just getting 2 doses of MMR at least 4 weeks apart. There is no harm in giving MMR vaccine to a person who may already be immune to one or more of the vaccine viruses.

Q: I’m a healthcare worker or student. How can I ensure I am protected against measles?

A: If you do not have acceptable evidence of immunity for healthcare workers–documented receipt of 2 doses of live measles virus-containing vaccine at least 4 weeks apart or laboratory evidence of immunity–either get tested for immunity or get 2 doses of MMR at least 4 weeks apart. If you choose the testing route, and your result is negative, indeterminate, or equivocal, get 2 doses of MMR at least 4 weeks apart.

Q: Does the increase in measles cases indicate that vaccination with MMR isn’t effective?

A: No. Unvaccinated people accounted for 105 (89%) of the 118 cases. Among the 45 U.S. residents ages 12 months through 19 years who acquired measles, 39 (87%) were unvaccinated, including 24 whose parents claimed a religious or personal exemption and eight who missed opportunities for vaccination.

Among the 42 U.S. residents age 20 years and older who acquired measles, 35 (83%) were unvaccinated, including six who declined vaccination because of personal objections to vaccination. Of the 33 U.S. residents who were vaccine-eligible and had traveled abroad, 30 were unvaccinated and one had received only 1 of the 2 recommended doses.

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University


Source: The Immunization Action Coalition (http://www.immunize.org/express/issue937.asp)

Images: Public Health Image Library