Photo courtesy of Lisa Belanger

By Amy Hinshaw, UHCS NP

    Movie Date Ken experienced his first spring break this year…and what a time he had! You may have seen him on usmhealth’s Instagram page soaking up the rays. Back to Maine meant back to reality for Ken. Even though spring break may seem like a distant memory, it’s only been two and a half weeks. For Ken (and many others) that’s the perfect amount of time for chlamydia to rear its ugly head.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Belanger

    Should Ken be worried even if he doesn’t have symptoms? You bet he should. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) rates are at record highs, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Here are some statistics from 2016 to soak up in addition to those sun rays Ken:

In the United States there were 1.6 million cases of chlamydia, in Maine there were 4,159. There were approximately 470,000 cases of Gonorrhea in the U.S., with 444 cases reported in Maine. For primary syphilis there was 28,000 cases in the U.S. and 47 cases in Maine.

    For anyone who is sexually active, STD’s are something that needs to be a part of your wellness plan. Taking a little time to think about them proactively can prevent some really uncomfortable emotions and stress on the reactive side. Here are a few tips:

TALK – Have a conversation about STD’s with every partner you have and your healthcare providers. Remind your partners that the best way to prevent STD’s is to use condoms every time you have oral, vaginal or rectal intercourse.

TEST – If you have had sex, get tested regardless of your number of partners. Your healthcare provider will help evaluate your risk factors and determine what tests are appropriate for you.  

TREAT – Some STD’s are curable once discovered. Your provider can help you get the appropriate medication. For STD’s that aren’t curable, there are treatments which your provider can discuss with you.  

    April is STD Awareness month and the CDC has titled this year’s campaign “Treat me right.” We at USM Health Services are committed to this campaign and providing a safe place where students can share concerns, ask questions, get tested and treated if necessary. We want to help you be as safe as you can be in your sexuality. That includes STD testing. Please come see us and start a conversation.  

For more information visit:, our website at, or check out our Instagram @usmhealth.


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