Illinois action blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CDC report highlights the importance of GYT

The CDC's latest annual report on sexually transmitted infections, released this week, contains both good news and bad news about the state of STIs in 2010.

The good news is that the year saw rates of syphilis fall for the first time in nearly a decade.  The bad news is that STIs still remain a significant problem in the US, with 19 million new infections each year (at a cost of $17 billion dollars to the health care system).  Gonorrhea and chlamydia, the other two infections measured in the report, haven't followed syphilis' pattern.  Rates of gonorrhea rose slightly, while chlamydia saw an uptick consistent with its rising rates over the past 20 years.  While much of chlamydia's increase is due to a higher rate of screening, fewer than half of all sexually active women have ever been screened at all, an indication that rates for the disease are higher than reported.

Just as worrying as these trends are the disparities they reveal.  While syphilis may be on the decline overall, its rate of infection among young gay African American men has more than doubled, following the same pattern as the rate of HIV infection.  African Americans and Hispanics carry a disproportionate burden for STIs in general, with rates far higher than those of whites.  Young people aged 15-24 are similarly at risk, accounting for half of all new infections even as they represent only a quarter of sexually active people in the United States.

Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's  National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, was quoted on these disparities:
"It's really what these represent in terms of differences in health insurance coverage, employment status, in ability to access preventive services or curative services.  These are all factors which are going to have a huge impact on communities as well as individuals who are vulnerable to acquiring STDs or not getting them diagnosed early."
Here at Planned Parenthood, we're dedicated to increasing access to affordable, quality care, including STI education, screening and treatment, regardless of ability to pay.  We've touted the message of GYT (Get Yourself Tested) before, and we'll do it again - the best way to protect yourself and others is to know your status.  To make an appointment, click here or call 800-230-PLAN.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, STIs

5 Comments:

Blogger will said...

Wow! After reading these shocking statistics it is obvious that the moral culture of America has been and remains on a rapid decline. As individuals continue to have multiple sexual partners the spread of STD’s will continues to increase. I can only imagine that as the age of adolescence expands both younger and older that STDs will continue to increase in this demographic. Also as there is more cultural acceptance of homosexuality (and what seems to be a homosexual fad in high schools) it makes sense that there will be an increase in the spread of STDs.
I was surprised to see the information concerning how much STDs are costing taxpayers in the healthcare system. Seventeen billion dollars is a lot of money to pay because men and women can’t make responsible decisions about sex. On a pragmatic level the same thing can be said of taxpayer funded abortions.
Something needs to be done to stop this trend, more than just STD testing, there needs to be a change in expectations. People today expect to get what they want. They live for instant gratification without thinking about the consequences that will follow. People think that they will not be held responsible for their action, and why should they our society continues to make accommodations for their irresponsible actions. On a very practical level the biblical outline for sex curbs the spread of STDs. When sexual relations are restricted to marriage, and marriage is between one man and one woman for life the spread of STDs is minimized. On a more important note the truth concerning personal responsibility is that everyone upon death will give account to the God of the universe for their actions in this life. It is quickly evident (and this study shows it well) that all of us humans are sinful in light of the perfect standard that the God of the universe demands. However there is hope that can be found in Jesus Christ.

November 29, 2011 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Planned Parenthood said...

Hi Will - While we agree that it's important for people to take responsibility for protecting the health of themselves and their partners, sex in itself does not indicate a "moral decline."

To address a few of your points: 1) As long as safe sex is being practiced, Same-gender and opposite-gender couples have the same low risk of contracting STIs. 2) People in committed, monogamous relationships can still contract or spread an STI, often without knowing that they have it in the first place. 3) Condoms break. Unwanted sex happens. A negative consequence of a sexual encounter should not automatically be linked to a "lack of responsibility."

Planned Parenthood encourages everyone to make smart choices about their sexual health, regardless of gender, sexuality or relationship status, we don't believe that pointing fingers and calling names will accomplish any kind of positive change.

November 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger will said...

Planned Parenthood, thank you for your response to my post. I was not intending any name calling if that came across I apologize. Secondly, the only finger I am pointing is that every individual take responsibility for his or her actions (as we both agree).

However there are a couple of areas that I believe we do disagree on. “Moral decline;” I agree that sex itself does not indicate a moral decline. Sex within marriage is a morally good thing, but sex which contradicts the moral standard does indicate a moral decline. Since we both agree that there are morals and therefore there must be a moral standard where is this standard derived from? 1) Is there such thing as “safe sex” in connection to STDs? The last time I looked at a condom box it specifically said that it does not protect against Sexually transmitted diseases. I was also noticing the research that was cited in the original article that, “its (syphilis) rate of infection among young gay African American men has more than doubled, following the same pattern as the rate of HIV infection” indicates that those practicing homosexuality are in a growing percentage of SDI carriers. 2) I agree that people in monogamous relationships for life can still contract and spread STIs, but I would argue that it not at the rate of 19 million new cases per year. To argue from this position is to argue from a minority case. 3) Again as stated earlier I do not think that condoms breaking ( which do not prevent STDs when working properly) or cases of forced sexual encounters accounts for 19 million new cases of STIs each year. What I am saying is that when it comes to sex especially people make decisions that will give them instant gratification. Often causing undesirable consequences that could have been foreseen. I would label this decision making as a “lack of responsibility.” Even further than the earthly consequences that come from these decisions there are eternal consequences that come in accordance to the moral standard that I mentioned earlier.
let me know your thoughts this dialogue is helping me think through different issues.

November 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger will said...

Planned Parenthood, thank you for your response to my post. I was not intending any name calling if that came across I apologize. Secondly, the only finger I am pointing is that every individual take responsibility for his or her actions (as we both agree).

However there are a couple of areas that I believe we do disagree on. “Moral decline;” I agree that sex itself does not indicate a moral decline. Sex within marriage is a morally good thing, but sex which contradicts the moral standard does indicate a moral decline. Since we both agree that there are morals and therefore there must be a moral standard where is this standard derived from? 1) Is there such thing as “safe sex” in connection to STDs? The last time I looked at a condom box it specifically said that it does not protect against Sexually transmitted diseases. I was also noticing the research that was cited in the original article that, “its (syphilis) rate of infection among young gay African American men has more than doubled, following the same pattern as the rate of HIV infection” indicates that those practicing homosexuality are in a growing percentage of SDI carriers. 2) I agree that people in monogamous relationships for life can still contract and spread STIs, but I would argue that it not at the rate of 19 million new cases per year. To argue from this position is to argue from a minority case. 3) Again as stated earlier I do not think that condoms breaking ( which do not prevent STDs when working properly) or cases of forced sexual encounters accounts for 19 million new cases of STIs each year. What I am saying is that when it comes to sex especially people make decisions that will give them instant gratification. Often causing undesirable consequences that could have been foreseen. I would label this decision making as a “lack of responsibility.” Even further than the earthly consequences that come from these decisions there are eternal consequences that come in accordance to the moral standard that I mentioned earlier.

November 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Planned Parenthood said...

Hi Will - We're talking apples while you're talking oranges. Where we fundamentally disagree is in the definition of "morality" - Planned Parenthood doesn't believe that a sexual encounter between two consenting adults is "immoral" simply for occurring outside of marriage. All we encourage is that both parties make smart, healthy decisions that feel right for them.

December 1, 2011 at 3:09 PM  

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