Showing posts with label STDs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STDs. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

HPV isn't the disease, it's the symptom

The United States is a nation awash in condoms, and the only gospel anyone is particularly comfortable preaching anymore is the gospel of "safe sex." And sexually transmitted diseases are running amok among American teens.

So wha'happen?

If you're a Boomer like me, and if you can read
this Associated Press story and not want to rend your garments and pour ashes over your head in grief and guilt over the sick patrimony our generation has bequeathed to our children . . . well, then you are seriously screwed up:

At least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, or more than 3 million teens, according to the first study of its kind in this age group.

A virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in teen girls aged 14 to 19, while the highest overall prevalence is among black girls — nearly half the blacks studied had at least one STD. That rate compared with 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-American teens, the study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

About half of the girls acknowledged ever having sex; among them, the rate was 40 percent. While some teens define sex as only intercourse, other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some infections.

For many, the numbers likely seem “overwhelming because you’re talking about nearly half of the sexually experienced teens at any one time having evidence of an STD,” said Dr. Margaret Blythe, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine and head of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on adolescence.
PERHAPS WE HAVE less a medical emergency than a moral and philosophical one. And maybe the worst infection laying waste to our children and our future isn't HPV, but instead MTV.

And BET . . . and TNT . . . and ABC . . . and NBC . . . and CBS.

It's simple enough to escape infectious venereal disease by not sleeping around, and then by marrying someone who hasn't slept around. At least theoretically. But it's not so simple to escape a toxic and pervasive American junk culture that has warped our minds and deadened our souls.

That, of course, not only makes not sleeping around and marrying someone who hasn't slept around not only damned difficult, but also absolutely heroic.

Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.