Culture Beat / August 31, 2018

U.S. Seeing Record Numbers of STDs

With promiscuity promoted by the mainstream culture, is it any wonder that STD numbers are rising?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report showing that in 2017 the U.S. had a record-high 2.3 million diagnosed cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, the three most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said of the findings, “We are sliding backwards. It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”

The CDC’s report noted that 2017 showed a steep and sustained increase in STD cases as it highlighted those numbers:

  • Gonorrhea diagnoses increased 67 percent overall (from 333,004 to 555,608 cases according to preliminary 2017 data) and nearly doubled among men (from 169,130 to 322,169). Increases in diagnoses among women — and the speed with which they are increasing — are also concerning, with cases going up for the third year in a row (from 197,499 to 232,587).
  • Primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses increased 76 percent (from 17,375 to 30,644 cases). Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) made up almost 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases where the gender of the sex partner is known in 2017. Primary and secondary syphilis are the most infectious stages of the disease.
  • Chlamydia remained the most common condition reported to CDC. More than 1.7 million cases were diagnosed in 2017, with 45 percent among 15- to 24-year-old females.

While some have blamed the spiking numbers of STDs on social media for creating apps that cultivate an easy hook-up culture of “digital bathhouses,” the moral principles that have defined the appropriate boundaries for flourishing human sexuality down through history have not changed — even as they’re increasingly ignored. As has always been the case, individuals can easily avoid STDs by choosing not to engage in promiscuous behavior. Sadly, on the one hand, much of the mainstream culture maligns the logically consistent message of abstinence until marriage as “backwards” and “repressive,” while at the same time muses over some more effective means by which to combat the scourge of STDs. There’s a reason morals exist; they’re the roadmap to a happy and health life.

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