STD Infections still rising, I wonder why


Sexually spread diseases continue to rise, with reported chlamydia cases setting yet another record in 2008, government health officials said Monday.[…]

Syphilis, on the verge of being eliminated in the United States about 10 years ago, also has been increasing lately. About 13,500 cases of the most contagious form of the disease were reported in 2008, up from about 11,500 the year before. [source]

That’s weird. You’d think with the huge increase in access to contraception and a now widespread common knowledge of the risk of STDs that the number of such infections would be going down. Right? That’s the theory right?

So why isn’t it working? The answer is obvious. And the Church has been screaming it repeatedly for centuries: Until you respect the dignity of every human person and the purpose of our bodies, we will continue to have more and more problems.  We’ve got to use our bodies in the way that they were made to be used.  All other shortcuts not only fall short, but often exacerbate the overall problem.

Contraception and the sex-ed culture is one such shortcut.  Kids know more about sex now than anytime in recent history.  They know how to use contraception more than ever before.  They have more access to it than ever before.  They’ve been informed of the dangers of sex more than ever before.  They personally know more people who have had STDs.  Yet on many counts we have more STDs, more abortions (chemical or surgical), more adultery, more sex partners, more babies born out of wedlock, less happy marriages, more divorce, more broken families, etc.

Our sexually permissive (but supposedly “safe”) culture has created a false sense of security.  This perceived “safe-sex” has encouraged and enabled people to engage in more and even riskier sex.  So even if by some stats contraception may seem to be helping, it’s actually contributed more greatly to making the underlying problem worse.  It’s the same thing happening with the condom campaigns for the AIDs epidemic in Africa.

Some will cite, as they do in the news story quoted above, that the apparent statistical increase in occurrences of some STDs is due to increased testing.  That may be true for some STDs, but not for others.  Either way, the fact that more and more people are needing to get tested for more and more STDs more and more often is a sure sign that the root of the problem is getting worse.

We have to change behavior – our sexual behavior.  Only then will so much of what ails our society improve.  Everything else is just a cheap shortcut that will ultimately fall short.

8 comments Add comment

Andreas November 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I agree with some of your points, but you leave out the damage that years of “abstinence only” education have done during the Bush years. This approach has left a huge number of teens unprepared in the US. And has led to the resurgence of myths like “you can’t get pregnant the first time”. And young women who are 6 times more likely to engage in oral and 4 times more likely to engage in anal sex – because “it’s not really sex”. Telling kids lies about sex, the effectiveness of condoms or contraception does not help them – it just puts them in more danger once they have sex.

I live in Texas, which has one of the worst ratings when it comes to teenage pregnancies and STDs. And no wonder: the state still clings to “abstinence only” education, even though numerous studies have shown that the effect is at best neutral. But still tax-payer money is spent on these programs, instead of giving kids important information.

I read the report by The Roman Catholic Jesuit Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in its Journal of Religion and Society.

The report concludes, “The populations of secular democracies are clearly able to govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical ‘cultures of life’ that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developing democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards.”


Micaela Swift November 18, 2009 at 8:10 am

Have you realized how marriage has “fallen apart” in this country where it used to be strong and great? It has basically been “corroded” in this society-seen as a hardship that everyone should ignore for the most part….and instead seek their own comfort-pleasure single living. There are tons of these people now who have “lost” the meaning of love because they’ve been injured in this culture of death-system that teaches such a degraded view of human sexuality. Its the truth.

Its not “just” about the absolutely horrific effects of promiscuous sex being taught as “acceptable” within schools and the culture-But, how this “mentality” teaches kids to basically accept immoral sexual behavior as a “good” thing-That is the tragedy!! The fact that we see such a degraded form of love out there now-where it has turned radically materialistic within the culture, it shows how this society has accommodated itself to have its people forget the meaning of love, human sexuality, and the gift of life.

By implementing the typical “Sex ed” you find in schools (which basically teaches to use the human body we were given as a “pleasure seeking” machine or one that separates the true meaning of sex from procreation and its awesome fruit-through use of contraceptives+other forms) you are basically asking for the continuation of a degraded group of people within your society-to maintain this acceptance of immorality and distorted promiscuity. You should read up on the era of Romanticism, and you will have such an am amazing eye in the flourishing of a culture that followed the “true” meaning of sexuality and true love. What we have now in this culture is a “corroded” form of sexuality being taught and encouraged.

Of course implementing abstinence education programs will be difficult, but what is YOUR view on education? To teach others wrongfully or truthfully? There will always be some people/youth who fall and make the “bad choice” but we should not “accept” that type of behavior and education! Rather, we help them in the “right” ways…not accepting the corroded way and fall to wrongdoing/wrong-teaching ourselves. That is pure irresponsibility as parents, adults and politicians

Matthew Warner November 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Andreas – Thanks for your thoughts. But unless society as a whole improves its sexual morality, teaching kids to use contraception will make the root problem – as well as many of the side effects like STDs, unwanted pregnancies, etc. – only worse. That’s what we’re seeing.

I would suggest that the reason many “abstinence-only” programs don’t statistically “work” sometimes is because sex education in the classroom will rarely overcome the sex “education” kids are getting from their parents, from their friends, from music, from advertising, from TV shows, and from the culture in general. THAT’s the sex education they’re getting right now. You can forget about what some teacher in a classroom says. Until we fix the mentality of the culture, statistical analysis of some isolated school program doesn’t really mean anything.

Further, many of the stats in the sites you provide are difficult to know how accurate they really are. For instance, many women who get abortions don’t ever get counted ‘statistically” as having a baby, being pregnant, being an unwed mom, etc. So that skews all of those numbers. It’s a very complex situation to analyze. What we do know is that enabling people to have more sex outside of marriage (and legitimizing it for their consciences) leads to people having more sex outside of marriage. That’s simply human nature. And the consequences of this behavior are undeniable and foundational to many of our problems we face.

Micaela Swift November 18, 2009 at 7:50 am

Right on Matthew. The “culture” needs to change!! We dont need “methods” imposed on children and people that basically teaches them to accept sexual immorality. Contraception, abortion, homosexual relations are all resulting in the corroding of sexual truth and purity-the way human beings were truly designed. People need to “wake up” in this area more than ever!

David November 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm

One major problem that “sex education” in the U.S. has is that society has poorly defined its goal for the education. Is the goal to reduce the total number of unwed mothers? Is it to decrease STD’s? I believe that the goal should be for unwed young adults to not have sexual relationships. Prudence and purity should be the goal. So abstinence is not a method of achieving a lower teenage pregnancy rate; it is the goal itself. As Matthew has already stated, we need to teach teenagers God’s plan for themselves and their bodies. This can be done by teaching JPII’s Theology of the Body. Christ asks us to conform our lives to Him and to answer the universal call to holiness. Without God, secular educational institutions will find it very difficult to explain the needs and advantages of purity and modesty.

Ichabod's Cranium November 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Do you know why the more secular ‘democracies’ have the highest suicide rates?

Let’s look at your less theistic countries:

Suicide Rates per 100,000 people:
France – men = 26.1 & women = 9.4
Japan – men = 36.5 & women = 14.1
Scandinavia broken down:
Denmark – men = 20.9 & women = 8.1
Norway – men = 19.5 & women = 6.8
Sweden – men = 19.7 & women = 8.0

Let’s compare that to more Catholic countries:

Brazil – men = 6.6 & women = 1.8
Mexico – men = 5.4 & women = 1.0
Philippines – men = 2.5 & women = 1.7

How about America?
USA – men = 17.6 & women = 4.1

On your side we could count Canada (more secular, less theistic)
Canada – men = 19.5 & women = 5.1

Not looking too good Andreas for those secular/less theistic countries.
Compared to America those rates are much higher.
Compared to those ‘antiquated’ catholic countries the suicide rates are incredibly higher.
And what better gage for the mental health of a country…. it’s suicide rate.

Dana November 23, 2009 at 11:07 am

Until we address the root of the problem (i.e. people not knowing their purpose in God), lasting change will never be made.

Thank you for your work and passion. Do let me know if there is anything I can do to help with your mission.

enness July 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Gonorrhea has a superbug (antibiotic-resistant) strain now. If that doesn’t say it, I don’t know what does.

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