because it's your health...

Tip of the Week: Have A Healthy Spring Break Trip (With No Regrets!)

A Spring Break trip is often a week-long party and great fun in a warm, sunny place. It is an opportunity to "recharge your batteries" and get ready (mentally and physically) for the last half of the semester and finals. But if you are not careful, the "rest and

relaxation" can be replaced with extreme fatigue and the potentially serious results of the excess use of alcohol. Some students return ill, tired, and poorly prepared for the resumption of classes. Worse yet, some return with regrets that may stay with them for a long time. Some of these regrets may be from serious injury, sexually transmitted infections and sun-damaged skin. To avoid these consequences, consider the following advice:

1. Keep alcohol consumption moderate; alcohol excess is associated with impaired judgment which may lead to risky behavior resulting in accidents and injuries of all kinds and possibly physical and sexual assaults. Boating and water-sports injuries and deaths are highly associated with alcohol use. Alcohol impairs sleep. Alcohol causes dehydration which is a serious concern in warm climates.

2. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water.

3. Always use the appropriate personal protective equipment, including seat belts, with all activities.

4. Protect your skin in the sun; overexposure ages your skin and

increases your risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds confer the same risk as natural UV light. Use sun block SPF 30 or higher. Re-apply every one and a half hours and after swimming. Use light clothing, hats and sunglasses for protection.

5. Practice safer sex: The use of latex condoms for all sexual practices will greatly reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Know the potential risk by knowing your sexual partner.

Question: I've heard that HPV is the most common STD on campus, but are there any other STDs going around currently that have been diagnosed? If so, which ones?

Answer: Although Health Services does not keep official statistics about the prevalence of any one particular STI on campus, you are most likely correct, as HPV is probably the most common STI on campus. However, HPV, HSV, chlamydia and gonnorhea are all diagnosed at Health Services. As far as anything currently "going around," STIs really don't work that way; all of them are diagnosed in varying degrees, depending on an individual's exposure and risk behavior (ie. number of partners and sexual practices).

Question: How quickly and painlessly can someone get tested for STI's? How much does it cost? What are the tests like?

Answer: You need an appointment at Health Services in order to have STI testing and usually that is available within one to two days. Depending on the tests requested, the pricing can be approximately $20 to $70. You can bill your insurance for the tests if you choose. Some of the tests are done by blood-work, others by urine or genital swabs. For more details, please call Health Services at x5736.