The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Health

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Question: I recently went through a bad break up and lost some weight, I have since put the weight back on but lost 2 inches in my hips. I have gone from a size 3-4 to a 2. How can I regain the inches and gain weight I am tired of shopping in the juniors department. At my age, most clothes are not appropriate in a professional forum.
– Lauren

Answer: OK, maybe I’m crazy. Well, no, we have established that already. Let’s start that all over. Maybe I’m not getting all the information here, but what I am getting is a little confusing. You lost weight because of a bad break up and now you want to gain it back in your hips. I’m sorry but almost every question I get has to do with taking inches off the hips. I’m going out on a limb here so bear with me. Let’s not put inches on your hips, let’s put good solid muscle on your butt and thighs because we want you back on the market looking hot! Trust me; saddlebags (just because everyone has them) are not the new black.

The exercise that I recommend the most is… of course “The Lunge," (25-35 reps on the same leg) but I want you to also find about a six floor stair case and do the stairs two at a time for two sets. Click here to see a video demonstration of Mountain Climbers. Mountain climbers do nothing but build your butt and help flatten your abdominals. So perform at least two sets for 60 seconds and you’ll be out of the juniors department before long sporting the new “bootylicious” you. Now that you’re back on the market, please let us in on some of the cheesy pick up lines guys use on you. It still amazes me…the stupidity some guys call “game." Viva la Mountain Climbers!

 

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Sound familiar? After an active weekend, you know your key ingredient to work week survival is energy, the fuel for mental and physical stamina that keeps you at the top of your game.
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Some energy "power point" suggestions:
Don't skip breakfast. After an active weekend, and those planned nightly workouts, everyone needs to restore glucose, or blood sugar. Each morning, your sleepy brain cells need lots of glucose for the heavy mental (not metal) work you perform every day.

Although a coffee and a Danish might seem to be the quick solution, the combo provides only a short term energy burst. Better: a wake-up menu. Try chai tea: a teabag of chai steeped for 5-10 minutes in 8 ounces of hot water during your shower time and stirred with skim sweetened condensed milk satisfies your caffeine fix with 35-55 mg caffeine. A cup of coffee is 100-150 mg caffeine. A quick mix of carbs, protein and fat is provided with a bowl of cereal with skim/low-fat milk and a banana.

Tomorrow, try a fruit smoothie: one cup of yogurt, some frozen fruit, a little vanilla, and ½ cup fruit juice. Pop it in a blender and you're good to go.

Plan your energy day. To help pass on the tempting high fat, no-brainer options at the office, stock your desk with bottled water, nuts and fruit.

Carrying your own water helps you keep track of how much you drink and it also reminds you to do so. Dehydration causes fatigue and poor on-the-job performance. If you can't stand plain water, try some of the flavored powder "tubes" now sold everywhere.

Almonds are tasty and provide the fiber and protein balance to help you make it through a busy day. A piece of fruit provides fiber, too. Foods with dietary fiber move through the body more slowly and help you to feel full and energized longer.

Survive business lunches. Many business lunches feature fatty/fried foods and simple carbs, and are usually topped off with high calorie sweets. Munching those 1,000+ calorie meals can run a person down. When you returning to your desk, you won't want to finish that high priority project. No napping today! Soup, salad and a serving of good whole grain bread can keep you going.

It's gym night. If you plan a late dinner after your workout, just go easy on the quantity, not the quality: a salmon filet, some quick-cooking brown rice, a small salad or some steamed veggies, plus plenty of water, herbal tea or diluted fruit juice will be just enough to prep you for the next work day. With energy to spare!

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I have a disease and it scares me to death. I've come to the realization that I'm not perfect and it's possible that I will be incapable of fulfilling my childhood dream of being a mother. But that's not what scares me the most.

An estimated 10 percent of females have the same disease. Most of them won't find out until they try to have children and it's too late.

My mission is to shed light on this disease to break the silence, even if it means exposing my health condition to our thousands of readers. I hope the readers of this issue will truly take it to heart. The theme of this issue is "Underneath it All." That's what I had to do – uncover layers of band-aids I had been putting on all my warning signs – and it's the only reason I still have a possibility of being a biological mother one day.

I noticed my first symptoms in high school. But being the typical pubescent teen, those signs were overlooked because I just wanted to be "normal." I had excessive facial hair. We're not just talking a random dark hair here and there. It was black, thick, curly hair on my chin and sides of my face. So, I bleached. Problem solved, or so I thought.

I also had a weight issue. But I managed it with excessive exercise, a very strict diet and a myriad of appetite suppressants. Oh, and I had extremely irregular periods too, but what sane woman would complain about having fewer of those, right?

But these band-aids on the exterior weren't inhibiting the activity of the interior. In retrospect, I learned that with every missed period, my ovaries would grow another cyst. Because I ignored my body's signs, my ovaries are now covered in these cysts. The medical term for "many cysts" is polycystic. So, when my doctor discovered my polycystic ovaries, he diagnosed me with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is the leading cause of infertility and it indiscriminately strikes women between the ages of puberty and menopause. Left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer. 050707HEALTH2.jpg

The symptoms of PCOS frequently rob a woman of her self-esteem and femininity. They can include irregular menstrual cycles, male hair growth patterns, acne, obesity/weight gain, depression and infertility.

The cysts vary in size. My largest one was the size of a golf ball, and doctors considered me lucky. the longer the symptoms are ignored, the larger the cysts grow. The cysts cause many problems and imbalances, and those irregularities lead to other problems and imbalances, creating a vicious cycle.

Believe it or not, insulin resistance is the root of most PCOS problems. Doctors still have not discovered why, but PCOS sufferers' bodies do not read insulin levels correctly. This causes two big problems: low blood sugar levels and high androgen levels. The low blood sugar causes constant cravings (maybe K.D. Lang has PCOS!) for sweets and carbohydrates. Those are of course stored as fat int he body. The high androgen levels cause the unsightly acne and excessive hair growth.

If you have symptoms of PCOS, or relate to my experiences with it, contact an endocrinologist immediately. They specialize in glandular disorders. They will run several tests, such as glucose tolerance, cholesterol, testosterone and ultrasound to determine a definite PCOS diagnosis.

New discoveries are being made all the time. For more is known now, than 80 years ago when the syndrome was discovered. Yes, there is still no cure. This is a condition to be managed and closely monitored, rather than cured. Treatment of the PCOS symptoms can reduce the side effects as well as your risks of future health problems.

I can remember the endless tests and the numerous doctor consultations. I had a tough time accepting and dealing with it all at first. I would sit there and think, "Why me? Why can't I just be normal like all of my friends?" I realize now, my friends might also be part of this large percentage of women hiding behind the same band-aids I was using to appear "normal."

So, take off the band-aids, shed light on the disease and stop the silence. Your health, happiness and future family depend on it.

 

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"I joined Weight Watchers online over a year ago and have lost 30 pounds and have kept it off. I work-out at the gym 3-4 days a week, doing elliptical, stepper, fast walking on treadmill and weights. I usually do 60 minutes of aerobics and switch up area of body with free weights. I also cycle 20-50 miles a week. My problem is how to firm up and lose cellulite from my hips and thighs. I've considered trying to loose 5 more pounds, but don't want to loose any more than that. What do I need to do?"
– Mindy, Cincinnati

You’re a friggin' lunatic! I see this all the time and it’s not going to be pretty. All I see in the question is aerobics…aerobics…aerobics and more friggin' aerobics. Holy s**t! Then I see that, you decide to switch one body part with free weights. Oh, how noble.

To be able to lose fat (which cellulite is) around any area you need to replace it with muscle. Gaining muscle in your hips and thighs will round out that area create a smoothing effect.

I would do 25-30 lunges on the same leg for two sets and one set of Mountain Climbers for sixty second before the lunges and one set after. If you don’t know what Mountain Climbers are, go to askROCCO.com , get a free Boot Camp Workout Card and I'll show you in person. Keep your rear down on the Mountain Climbers, and in no time you’ll be getting way too many compliments on it.  

 

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Just think about if pigs really could fly. I wonder if their bodies would burn more calories flying or if they ran the race? I know a lot of you have run or walked in a race for a charity event at one time or another, but have you ever wondered if this has increased your metabolism?

The body requires energy, also known as calories, everyday. Our metabolism is the amount of calories our bodies burn daily. Resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body needs for body functions like heart beating, breathing and muscle tone. Each person has a unique metabolism, similar to our fingerprints. Your resting metabolic rate accounts for about 75 percent of the calories we expend daily. There is a way to measure this unique burn by using a handheld medical device called a Medgem. This tool is a breathing test which takes about 5 to 10 minutes and measures the volume of oxygen your body consumes which is how our body converts food into energy by burning oxygen. This test puts a number on our metabolism, which is what many of us claim we do not have.

If you are looking for ways to increase the burn rate of your body, it is important to recognize that eating regularly scheduled meals and snacks will improve the amount your body actually burns. Complex carbohydrates fuel your metabolism. Along with your scheduled meals, it is important to realize that eating calories earlier in the day may also improve your metabolism. This means eat a well balanced breakfast, lunch, snacks and a light dinner. Remember, starving your body is not going to support the bodies basic needs and the body will actually slow down to protect itself. Do not eat less than 1200 calories per day, unless being medically supervised by a physician.

043007HEALTH.jpg A great way to rev up your metabolism is to engage in an aerobic activity like running. This has been shown to improve the rate of calories burned by using up those complex carbohydrates. A regular running routine will actually require a higher intake of calories to support the amount of calories your body will burn. A number of people make the mistake of increasing their running routine and not upping their calorie intake and their metabolism will slow down just like it does when you starve it.

Another way to increase your metabolic burn rate is to build muscle tissue. An increase in lean body mass will improve your bodies’ burn rate at rest. If you want to improve how much your body burns calories at rest, weight training or strength training is a most! Engaging in strength training at least three times a week can improve your natural burn rate, especially for those of us who are beginning to age. As we age our metabolisms naturally slows down, so if you want to eat more you will need to improve that burn rate or weight gain is inevitable.

Have a great time walking or running in any of the many local races this year and don’t forget about weight training to rev-up your metabolic rate. If you’re interested in getting your metabolism analyzed, Personal NEWtrition offers this service at their Western Hills and Blue Ash offices.

 

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"My husband recently lost over 200 pounds through a sensible diet and exercise. He's so afraid of gaining it back, though, that he's become obsessive about it. On Fridays before weigh-in, he works out at least two times (runs and/or does the elliptical machine) and barely eats. Plus, he wears one of those plastic suits when he works out. When he's done, sweat pours from him like a waterfall. Is it disgusting? Yes. But, I really want to know: Is this healthy?
– Jennifer, West Des Moines

This question is so loaded that I feel like I’ve got a big-ass Bulls Eye on my chest. Sweating is healthy when it is done naturally. What your husband is doing is not natural. Plastic suits were banned for use from scholastic and collegiate sports, such as wrestling, because they can create a deadly state of dehydration. Sweat is produced to cool the body so it doesn’t over-heat and blow a gasket (very similar to your car's radiator). The so-called “weight” that is lost during this insane sweat-a-thon is easily regained when you ingest any liquids. If your husband continues on with this stupidity, his body will show extreme signs of aging. Skin and the body, in general, needs to be hydrated to stay alive. Almost everything in the body needs water to complete its chemical processes. Something in your question really disturbs me, but I have to mention it. If your husband is this obsessive about his weight, he really needs to go and see a therapist that specializes in weight loss psychology.

 

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Growing up on the West side of Cincinnati, my Presbyterian family was outnumbered among a sea of large Catholic families. As a child, I can recall friends asking me what I gave up for Lent. Although I respected my friends’ sacrifice, I chose to celebrate Lent in my unique nonconventional manner. This practice continues as an adult.

On Ash Wednesday, when my friends announced their Lenten sacrifices, I went in the opposite direction. I have found through the last few years that this is my time to partake in the last feasts of winter. The day after Easter is when I got busy. When everyone is gearing up to dive back into their soft drinks, desserts, alcohol, pizza and junk food, I have kicked into what I call "clean living."

So, that's one way to slim up for the summer months ahead. But, as a personal trainer, I have a few tips in the exercise department to help you shed the winter weight and look great in your tank tops, dresses and shorts this year.

This is the time when I look in the mirror and ask myself, “Do you like what you see?” “Would you be comfortable wearing a swimsuit in public today?” Usually, the answer is, “Well… maybe, but I have some areas that could be improved.” If you are like me, and the majority of other women out there feeling this way, the area of concentration you are looking at is your upper body – specifically your arms. Even if you never put on a swimsuit all summer, I can bet you won’t be wearing your long sleeves. So, here are my recommendations for a fit upper body. The only things that you will need are 2-3 pairs of dumbbells. You can start with 5lb, 8lb and 10lb weight selections. A big dose of wanting to change is helpful too.

Pushups – 4 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between each set
Start by kneeling on your mat. Place your hands down a little wider than your shoulders. Walk your legs out until they are straight. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders through your hips all the way to your heels. Lower yourself down with your elbows traveling out to the sides. Stop one inch away from the mat. Push up through your hands and straighten your arms to come up.

Close Grip Bent Over Row – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between each set
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, hinge over from your hips. Your torso should be a few inches above parallel to the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent, abdominals pulled in. Bring your shoulders down and back. Your arms are hanging down with the palms turned in. Start squeezing your shoulder blades together as soon as you initiate the movement. Your elbows should move past the level of your back. Slowly lower your arms.

Overhead Triceps Extension – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
With a dumbbell in each hand, bring the arms overhead with the arms extended palms facing each other. The shoulders should be down and back. Keeping your upper arms still, slowly lower the dumbbells toward your shoulders. As you extend the arms up, contract the triceps.

Front Shoulder Raise – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your wrists straight. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. Pause and then lower your arms.

Biceps Curl – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Hang your arms at your sides, with the palms facing forward. Slowly curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders. Pause and then lower your arms.

The way to increase the intensity of these exercises is to increase the dumbbell weight until it is challenging to complete 12 reps. Make sure you are lifting in good form before you increase the weight.

 

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Question: I joined a gym in September. I guess I am pretty – blond, thin and a C cup. But that is my problem, I just want to workout and I not get treated like a piece of meat. Guys are constantly checking me out on the treadmill and keep asking me out with one-liners (like I am at a bar!). I signed a two-year contract at the gym and I can't get out of it. Believe me, I tried. Any suggestions for how to get left alone while working out? It is not fair. I almost dread going to the gym. I have talked to girl friends of mine and they have had similar experiences at their gym. Can you give a service announcement to the guys that hit on girls at gyms letting them know that we are there to workout?

Answer: There’s many ways to answer this question, but I will limit my wrath to only two. First of all, you paid a membership fee to workout and not be sexually harassed (by the way – that’s what it’s called, guys, especially at the gym). If you are at a bar, there is an inferred understanding that the girl may want to get picked up, so asking might not hurt. At a gym or health club, it is tacky and can be criminal.

Of course, the friggin' idiot guys out there are going to say something stupid like “Well, they shouldn’t dress like that at the gym.” And I say, “You shouldn’t be that f**kin stupid." My advice is to write me back with the gym name and number so I can deal with their sexual harassment policies and when a guy comes up to you starring at your breasts or asks you out in some tacky way… embarrass him. I say embarrass the sh** out of him. Tell him something like “with an ass like mine, I don’t talk to a face like yours."

If you can understand one thing about guys and their human nature, most of them are too stupid for their own good. If they bother you, bother them right back. When I owned gyms in the past, I used to take idiots like you’re describing and haul them out back and beat them into a bloody spot, but that’s me. Gentlemen, and I use them term loosely, treat women with respect and maybe you won’t get your balls cut off. Any questions?

 

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You know you do it. After a bad day at work, you crank up the volume to your favorite song, and sing to it at the top of your lungs. You don't even mind that the cute guy in the car next to you is looking at you like you have four heads. It just feels that good.

As a woman, Mimi Sinclair understands that feeling from a personal standpoint; as a board certified music therapist, she understands that feeling from a medical standpoint.

Sinclair, the owner and director of Music Therapy Services in Milford, uses music therapy to treat children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities, Alzheimers disease and many other conditions.

Music therapy research has demonstrated music's ability to improve immune function, assist with pain relief, promote speech development, facilitate relaxation, reduce anxiety, rehabilitate motor function, increase attention to task, among many others, says Sinclair.

But you don't have to be unwell to benefit from music. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming, as well as passive listening for relaxation. "Music is often a vital support for physical exercise," according to the AMTA's Web site. "Music therapy assisted labor and delivery may also be included in this category since pregnancy is regarded as a normal part of women's life cycles."

Well or unwell, Sinclair says anyone can contact us at Music Therapy Services for a consultation to see how music therapy can make a difference in their health and well-being.

"Music therapists are employed throughout the country in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, as well as private practices such as mine to serve the growing population of people looking for non-invasive and non-threatening interventions," she says.

But if you just want to learn how to incorporate music into your healthy lifestyle without a healthcare professionals intervention, Sinclair says there are many ways for women to informally take advantage of music's therapeutic effects. "I always encourage people to engage in music experiences in a way that is meaningful for them," she says. "Joining a community chorus, orchestra or band can provide an outlet for expression, keep the mind and body challenged and promote emotional health. It's never too late to learn to play an instrument if you want."

Another helpful piece of advice she imparts is to take advantage of the relaxing effect of listening to music to induce sleep, as so many busy women today experience sleep disorders. Also, listening to relaxing music can help with anxiety-producing events like visiting the dentist or other medical procedures. Many dentists and physicians provide CD players, or take your own. In fact, some MRI facilities have non-magnetic DVDs or CDs for you to enjoy during the imaging procedure.

There's a plethora of research available online about the health benefits of music, and according to Sinclair, we'll be seeing much more in the future. "There's is a great deal of exciting research being done to compliment the more than 50 years of research studies already published by the AMTA, among other organizations," she says.

For more information about services in Cincinnati, visit Music Therapy Services' Web site at www.mts-cincinnati.com, or go to the AMTA's Web site at www.musictherapy.org.

 

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It's true what they say. Knowing is half the battle. Being aware that STDs exist, being educated about them, knowing the best ways to avoid them, knowing the best treatment options and knowing how to avoid transmission are very valuable, sometimes life altering, things to know.

Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be transmitted during vaginal, anal and, although less likely, oral sex. A lot of women, and some men, experience little to no symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, they usually show up within one to three weeks after the infection was contracted. Because of this, it is very important for anyone who believes they may be at risk for chlamydia to get tested immediately.

Your doctor can test for chlamydia by taking a urine sample as well as taking a specimen from the infected area. If you fail to get treated in time, chlamydia can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can lead to infertility.

"Chlamydia can damage the Fallopian tubes and cause PID," explains Dr. Glen Hofmann, the medical director at the Bethesda Center for Reproductive Health and Fertility. "When a woman has one instance of PID, they have a 17 percent chance of becoming sterile. The second time, that chance raises to 35 percent and after the third time, it's up to 70 percent, even if they are treated. Those are really high odds."

Increasing numbers of chlamydia infections have made it the most widespread STD in the U.S. In 1996, there were 492,631 reported diagnoses, but by 2005, the annual total increased 98 percent for a shocking total of 976,445 reported diagnoses.

The rate of chlamydia among African-Americans was over eight times higher than that of Caucasians in 2005. Rates among American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanics were also significantly higher than among Caucasians.

Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is also a curable infection and it is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. It can be transmitted from performing or receiving vaginal, anal and oral sex. Typically, men present with symptoms, while most women are asymptomatic.

Women often confuse gonorrhea symptoms for a bladder infection or other vaginal infection so it is especially important to get tested if you think you could be at risk.

In 2005, Ohio was ranked as the state with the fifth highest rate of gonorrhea. In 1978, the annual number of reported gonorrhea diagnoses in the U.S. reached a record high of 1,013,436. Following decreases each year between 1985 and 1997, the annual number of cases hovered around 365,000.

If left untreated, gonorrhea can also cause PID and infertility. Although the 2005 rate of 115,600 diagnoses is one of the lowest ever recorded, gonorrhea remains the second most commonly reported disease in the U.S.

The rate of gonorrhea among African-Americans was 18 times higher than among whites in 2005. American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanics are also disproportionately affected.

Syphilis
Syphilis is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. If it is left untreated, it will progress through four stages with symptoms that get increasingly more severe.

Syphilis can be contracted if the skin of the mucous membrane inside the vagina, urethra or anus, or a cut, comes into contact with infected lesions. These lesions will appear during primary and secondary syphilis.

You can be tested for syphilis by getting a blood test, which looks for antibodies that your body has developed. It can take from a week to a few months for these antibodies to show up in the blood test, which can lead to false-negative tests during the early stages of syphilis.

Syphilis can be cured through antibiotics such as penicillin. It reached a high of 94,957 cases in the U.S. in 1946 and a low of 5,979 in 2000. Since the turn of the millennium, the number of reported cases rose to 8,724 in 2005.

Of counties that reported, 78 percent of them reported no cases of syphilis in 2005. Syphilis remains a problem in the South and also in urban areas that have large populations of men who are having sex with other men. In 2005, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis was six times higher among African-Americans than among Caucasians.

HPV
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of viruses that infect the skin. There are more than 70 different types and certain types cause warts on the hands or feet, while other types can cause warts on the genitals.
Most people with HPV do not know they have it, as a portion of the infected population never present with visible warts. About 30 of the types of HPV are sexually transmitted and cause genital HPV. If warts do not appear, HPV can still be detected by abnormal cell changes on the cervix and this can only be detected by getting a pap smear.

"Of all of the STDs, HPV is the most common in the paps I see," explains Hofmann. "HPV can kill a woman, so you and your partner should be tested and have trust in one another." If caught early enough, it can be treated.

But even if caught and treated, it can still have a negative impact on your life. "HPV requires a lot of aggressive treatment," says Hofmann. "If diagnosed early enough we can take care of it, but once child-bearing is over, you can have a hysterectomy to get rid of it."

HIV and AIDS
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV can be transmitted through the blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids or semen of an infected person. If any of these fluids enter the bloodstream, you could be risk for HIV. People can also become infected with HIV while injecting drugs using a shared needle.

Over time, HIV can weaken the immune system and the infected individual may experience difficulty fighting off certain infections. These infections are usually controlled by a healthy immune system, but they can cause problems or even be life threatening in someone with AIDS.

The immune system of someone who has AIDS can weaken to the point where medical intervention may be necessary to prevent or treat serious illness. A blood test can determine if a person is infected with HIV, but if a person tests positive for HIV, it does not necessarily mean that the person has AIDS.

AIDS was first identified in the U.S. in 1981. Since then, the epidemic has been steadily growing and by the end of 2004, it was estimated that there were just over 1 million people living with HIV and approximately 415,000 people living with AIDS. AIDS is also thought to have killed over half a million Americans. This is nearly 10 times the number of people who were killed in the Vietnam War.

Prevention
Since knowing is only half of the battle, there are many steps you can take to insure your health and keep from contracting STDs.

"Number one is abstinence," says Hofmann, "and number two is barrier methods, though condoms are not 100 percent full proof. They have a 20 percent failure rate for pregnancy, so they aren't going to be 100 percent effective in preventing STDs either."

Another great way to keep yourself safe is mutual monogamy, being intimate with only one uninfected partner. You can't be certain that you haven't contracted an STD even if you practice the above methods, so make time to get tested and set your mind at ease.

Education
Sexual health awareness efforts and STD education effectively save lives, but we still have a long way to go. A 2004 survey found that while 99 percent of Americans knew that having unprotected sex and sharing needles might transmit HIV, 38 percent thought that kissing could transmit it, 25 percent by sharing a drinking glass and 18 percent thought that touching a toilet seat could infect them. Clearly, more needs to be done.

"Awareness is really important," explains Hofmann. "I can council my daughter about abstinence all I want and she can have all of the best intentions, but I can't control what her husband-to-be has done in the past."

Being aware of the symptoms that STDs can cause, getting tested because not all STDs have symptoms and practicing safe prevention methods can save your life and the lives of those around you.