Americans tend to believe America is numero uno in terms of, well, everything. Granted, we do have a lot of amazing things happening in the United States, you know with the election of our first biracial President and all, but there are just some areas of life we just shouldn’t excel in, Uh like being the nation to set a record for sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, that’s something we shouldn’t be good at…right?
So maybe that whole “abstinence only” thing hasn’t been working out so well. And when one contrasts our head-in-the-sand attitude to sexuality compared with, say, the frenzied response to H1N1, it is to laugh, albeit ruefully. On the bright side, those big numbers represent a spike not just in transmission, but in diagnosis.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the United States has set a record for people with STD’s. Back in 2008 it was reported the US ranked in with 1.2 million cases of Chlamydia and about 6.2 million of HPV, while Syphilis mounted with 13,500 cases last year. There seems to be only one age group creating the most action to create these ratings, unsurprisingly this age group is my own. Men and women under the age of 24 are doing the wild thing and opening up each other to a world of problems which results in the 19 million new cases of STDs being transmitted annually in the United States. Like I’m sure most of us have learned in that good old sex education class back in high school, these diseases have the potential to create cervical cancer, infertility, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
John Douglas, director of the division of sexually transmitted diseases, said today that “We have among the highest rates of STDs of any developed country in the world,” adding, “We haven’t been promoting the full battery of messages. We have been sending people out with one seat belt in the whole car. We are not honestly and openly dealing with this issue — and it’s the larger issue of sexual health.”
Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we’re going to deal with this as a country. None of this hypothetical “abstinence only” talk either, because it doesn’t seem to be working. Let’s face it, we live in a world where sex and the idea of sex is very accessible. With sex tapes of our favorite celebrities and wannabe’s dropping out of thin air everyday, and our sisters, brothers, and children are experiences the joys (and pains) of sexual relationships at younger ages, we need to figure out a way to protect ourselves and each other. So the next time you get ready to do the horizontal mambo, tell your partner to be responsible and wrap it up. Like my Granny always use to say: No glove, no love!
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