Writes of Passage

Welcome to Writes of Passage, a blog written for adolescents, young adults, and the people who care about them. This blog is dedicated to safe transitions, surviving adolescence, and promoting health and happiness on the path to adulthood.

Get the facts about HIV and get tested

Twenty years ago, it was difficult to avoid information about HIV and AIDS as it was making headlines as a deadly disease passed through sexual activity and shared needle drug use. Today, in many parts of the country young people may only hear about HIV briefly in a school education class or occasional discussion with their parents or doctor.  Though many new and easier ways to prevent and to treat HIV infection have been identified, there is still NO cure for HIV. A person with HIV infection still lives with a chronic disease that requires ongoing medication and medical care in order to stay healthy. It is important for everyone to know that HIV still exists and is continuing to infect young people.

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How a sport psychologist can help youth athletes

Young athletes can be hard on themselves and each other. A missed pass, a dropped ball, a slow swim time can lead to feelings of “I’m not good enough” and that they let their coach, teammates and even parents down.

While no athlete is immune to anxiety, teens seem to be particularly vulnerable to the effects. The pressure they put on themselves can be intense, and unfortunately they’re not necessarily able to manage it. And it can ultimately affect their performance.

UW Health sport psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, explains that anxiety causes us to think less clearly, have slower reaction times, tense our muscles and even be less willing to take risks. All of which can affect an athlete’s performance during the game.

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Hepatitis C – what’s the deal?

I have been seeing an awful lot of commercials warning about Hepatitis C. Have you seen the commercials encouraging baby boomers to get tested for Hepatitis C? I found this line of advertising somewhat surprising, since Hepatitis C isn’t something I see too often.  Then, I hear the news out of the CDC last month that number of reported cases of Hepatitis C has TRIPLED in the past 5 years, and millennials are the most impacted group. Say what?!

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13 Reasons Why – Let’s talk about suicide


I finally bit the bullet and sat down to binge watch the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  I have been asked about it by parents and patients alike. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and numerous other professional organizations have all released statements talking about this show. To tell you the truth, I was nervous to watch it.  There have been other movies that depicted teen suicide (who can forget the 80s Heathers or Surviving, the 90s The Virgin Suicides, or the more recent A Girl Like Her….ooohh and check out the documentary Audrie & Daisy). Anyways, teen suicide is always a media topic.  And for good reason.  Check out these stats on teen suicide:

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Bone Health and Teens

The body is an incredible machine. It performs countless functions without our knowing and is able to turn the food we eat into energy to do homework, play sports, lift the remote to change channels, walk the shores of Lake Mendota, and do every other activity we do. But what happens when our bodies don’t get the energy they need? This is a topic that has been studied by many doctors and organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.

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