STD Epidemic Stalks U.S.

In this day and age, some epidemics are politically correct while others are not. Other than AIDS-which in this country continues to afflict only a tiny proportion of the population-the sexually transmitted disease (STD) is not a popular cause for crusades such as those against smoking, breast cancer, and overeating.

Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of STDs whose exponential growth in recent years may be about to become the public health disaster of our time. In Epidemic: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids (2002), published by Lifeline Press, an imprint of HUMAN EVENTS’ sister company Regnery Publishing, Dr. Meg Meeker provides a great deal of statistics and anecdotes illustrating that point.

How great of an epidemic is it?

  • “STDs accounted for 87% of all cases reported of the top-ten most frequently reported diseases in the United States in 1995,” says Meeker.
  • “Nearly one out of four sexually active teens is living with a sexually transmitted disease at this moment.”
  • “Although teenagers make up just 10% of the population, they acquire between 20 and 25% of all STDs.”
  • “Consider that this year alone, 15.3 million Americans will contract a new sexually transmitted disease.”
  • It could be a lot worse than the statistics above indicate. “In February 2002, an editorial in the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Associationreported that the number of people with asymptomatic STDs (those that have no outward signs, like lesions or warts) probably exceeds those whose diseases have been diagnosed.” (Emphasis in original.)
  • In 1960, there were two STDs (gonorrhea and syphilis) common in this country, and both were confined mostly to high-risk groups such as prostitutes and sailors. Both were curable. Today, there are at least 25 STDs (more depending on how viral mutations are counted), many of them entirely incurable. Some can lead to infertility and even death if not treated early enough, and many lead to life-long localized and systemic illnesses.

    Reports Meeker about the typical young woman: “There’s a one in four likelihood that a virus is working its way up through her reproductive tract, changing the cells in her cervix so that in a few months, maybe in a few years, she’ll find that she had a precancerous condition requiring surgery.” Readers should be warned that Epidemic contains graphic descriptions of sexual diseases and much discussion of young people’s sexual behavior.

    Nature is jealous and she torments those who spurn her. The sexual revolution begun with the invention of the birth-control pill and completed in the 1960s and 1970s led to this state of affairs, says Meeker. There is no solution other than chastity.

    The idea of “safe sex” through condom use is one of the big lies of our time. STDs have surged tremendously among teens at the same time that condom use has, says Meeker, because condoms do not protect against most STDs and even provide very limited protection against HIV. Not only do teens often fail to use condoms or use them improperly when they do, condoms fail when used correctly.

    “Even if condoms are used perfectly, 100% of the time, risk still exists,” Meeker writes. “That risk is that the condom will slip or break about 2 to 4% of the time.”

    For anyone who has sexual relations regularly, that 2 to 4% turns into a virtual certainty before long. Meeker also points out that many young people believe that oral sex is safe when the reality is that STDs, including HIV, are transmitted by it.

    Meeker asserts that those who are supposed to be protecting young people from unhealthy behavior have another agenda. The highly influential Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) has guidelines on sex education. After reviewing the guidelines, Meeker concludes that “it seems clear that SIECUS places sexual freedom for teens above their health.”

    If this STD epidemic is to be halted, adults-who are far more responsible for it than young people-must reverse the attitude toward sex that has developed over the past few decades. So far, however, Meeker writes, “For this epidemic, there is no public outrage, no television news magazine expos??©, no based-on-a-true-story movie about crusading advocates fighting this scourge, no congressional hearings. . . .”