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Volume 1, Number 7           Autumn 2001

Maine Girls' Health

Summit & Action Plan
On June 1st, one hundred Maine health-care professionals and advocates for girls attended a day-long summit sponsored by the Maine Women's Health Campaign, in conjunction with Mainely Girls and the state Bureau of Health. Their goal was to develop strategies to improve the health of Maine girls and to ultimately produce a Maine Girls Health Action Plan, which would be a partner to a plan created for Maine women three years ago.

The keynote address, "Creating Hardiness Zones for Adolescent Girls," was given by Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., professor of Education at Colby College, author of Raising their Voices: The Politics of Girls' Anger and co-author of Meeting at the Crossraods: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development. In her speech, Lyn Brown looked at girls' health in terms of their hardiness and discussed what we need to do to create a culture in Maine so girls can thrive and grow into healthy women. This culture or hardiness zone would provide "women and girls healthier lives with less violence and alienation and more support for who they are and who they want to be." (Click here for the complete text of Lyn Brown's speech or visit

A final editing of The Girls' Health Action Plan is now being done and publication is expected by the end of October. We will have more information about the Plan on our website and in our next newsletter.

UPDATE: The Girls' Health Action Plan is here!

Kick the Habit: Call It Quits
If you or someone you know wants to stop smoking and wants some help doing it, call Maine's new "Quit Line," at 1-800-207-1230. This Maine Tobacco Helpline provides real help and support. A trained professional will answer your questions about quitting. You will get personal counseling that can help you become tobacco-free for life.

It's free and confidential. And it's there for you when you want to call it quits. The helpline is sponsored by the Bureau of Health and the Department of Human Services in partnership for A Tobacco Free-Maine.

Gonorrhea Outbreak

Since January 1, 2001, 95 cases of gonorrhea have been diagnosed in Maine. This compares to 54 cases during the same period in 2000. The Bureau of Health has now declared a gonorrhea outbreak in Maine. While some cases have been linked, most are not. Cases have been reported throughout the State.

Of the 95 Maine cases this year, 42 are female and 53 are male. Forty-three percent of the female cases are in the 15-19 year old age group, which is a significant increase in the disease among adolescent women from last year. The Bureau of Health has had two reported gonorrhea-related pelvic inflammatory disease cases this year. Both resulted in lengthy hospitalizations for the young women, one of whom was under 19 years of age. Fifty-five percent of the male cases are among men who have sex with men (MSM). Fourteen percent of these individuals were co-infected with HIV.

We encourage you to inform the young people you know and/or work with about the gonorrhea outbreak and look for appropriate opportunities to educate them about sexually transmitted disease (STD) transmission. Some specific messages might include the following:

  • An outbreak of gonorrhea is occurring in Maine
  • Gonorrhea can increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV
  • Symptoms can show up 2-21 days after contact with gonorrhea
  • Most women and some men have no symptoms (so if you know or think you been exposed, get tested)
  • Gonorrhea is spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea; it can infect the cervix, the urethra, the rectum and the pharynx - doctors need to take specimens from each site
  • Gonorrhea can lead to more serious infection, damage of reproductive organs, infertility, heart trouble, skin disease, arthritis, and blindness; a mother with gonorrhea can give it to her baby during childbirth
  • Use of latex condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex can reduce the risk of gonorrhea infection, as well as other STDs including HIV.
  • Young people can be treated for gonorrhea without parental consent.

For more information and for confidential STD testing and treatment referrals, contact the STD clinic in your local area:

Bangor STD Clinic 947- 0700
Lewiston-Auburn STD Clinic 795 -4019
Portland STD Clinic 874- 8446
Maine Bureau of Health 287- 2046

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