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.

World AIDS Day 2017

The start of December brings about many things, including World AIDS Day.  This year’s theme is about ending the stigma of those living with HIV/AIDS (follow along on Twitter at #LetsEndIt). There is still a lot of misinformation about HIV/AIDS – remember a couple months ago when a Georgia state representative (and former anesthesiologist) recommended quarantining those with HIV to curtail the spread of the virus? Stigma and discrimination are some of the biggest barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support. Specifically, research has shown that stigma and discrimination undermine HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to seek HIV information, testing, and services to reduce their risk of infection.

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Possible change to legal drinking age?

This week, a new bill introduced by some Republican lawmakers (and a former President of the Tavern League) would lower the drinking age in in Wisconsin to 19 if passed.  Proponents of the bill state that it will decrease amount of money and time spent on patrolling underage drinking (mainly on college campuses). They also point out that an 18-year-old can serve in the military, live independently, purchase firearms, purchase tobacco products, and vote, so why shouldn’t they be able to enjoy an adult beverage? Although, the proposal would not allow 18 year olds to purchase alcohol (that is to prevent high school students from legally drinking, according to the bill’s authors).

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Why aren’t teens getting their license?

I missed National Teen Driver Safety Week by a couple weeks this year (it was October 15-21, 2017. If you’re totally bummed, check out this post from last year – the stats remain the same.) I was trying to think about why it wasn’t on my radar like usual. Were there a lot of other things going on in the news? Ummm….yes. But I think there’s another reason –driving doesn’t seem to be a big thing with a lot of my teen patients right now. In a totally non-scientific chart review of my 16-17-year-old patients in the past few months, only about 50% have their driver’s license (and plenty haven’t even taken driver’s ed).

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How to (safely) get out of an unsafe relationship

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (in fact, this month is the 30th Anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #DVAMturns30).  Domestic violence and dating violence is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. I participated in an amazing photoshoot, where violence survivors and support people anonymously shared their stories (check out A Day in My Shoes exhibit at the Goodman Center, until Oct 30).  An interesting study was just released that found a possible link between home stressors in preschool years (like alcoholism in parents) and being involved a violent dating relationship as a teen. Plus, the news coverage of sexual harassment and assault perpetuated by certain famous people has been pretty much nonstop over the past few weeks. Read more

Guys and HPV – it’s not just about protecting the girls!

Women get a lot of attention in the human papillomavirus (HPV) world. Maybe too much emphasis is put on women. I recently heard from a loved one that her son’s pediatrician didn’t really recommend the HPV vaccine for boys since it’s “really a public health thing” that’s “more for girls’ protection than anything.” Well, that’s not true, and a study that came out this week demonstrates this. According to the study, about 11.5% of American men are infected with the oral form of HPV (vs 3.2% of women).

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