Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Reward for Info Leading to Arr... | Today in Great Ape-Related Cra... »

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our Stupid Country

posted by on November 13 at 16:00 PM

After a decade’s worth of abstinence education—a billion dollar’s worth—should we really be reading headlines like this one:

U.S. sets record in sexual disease cases

More than 1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States last year—the most ever reported for a sexually transmitted disease, federal health officials said Tuesday. “A new U.S. record,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More bad news: Gonorrhea rates are jumping again after hitting a record low, and an increasing number of cases are caused by a “superbug” version resistant to common antibiotics, federal officials said Tuesday.

Man. That’s depressing news. But there’s a silver lining:

Syphilis is rising, too. The rate of congenital syphilis—which can deform or kill babies—rose for the first time in 15 years.

Abstinence education kills babies! Just like abortion, RU-846, Plan B, the morning after pill, and swallowing! Quick! Someone tell the American Taliban!

RSS icon Comments


I thought syphilis was "the French disease."

Posted by Greg | November 13, 2007 4:16 PM

But Dan, you're only focusing on the negative and completely ignoring the 350 million Americans who didn't get chlamydia! And all thanks to Abstience Education!

Posted by boxofbirds | November 13, 2007 4:25 PM

Correction: "Abstinence Only Edumacation."

Posted by boxofbirds | November 13, 2007 4:28 PM

Rep. Waxman's investigation into "abstinence-only" education found one program teaching that "sweat and tears can transmit HIV." Obviously, the increase in the STD rates comes from life imitating education.

Posted by Paddy Mac | November 13, 2007 4:34 PM

Abstinence education is not just bad, it increases unwanted pregnancies and abortions, in addition to STDs.

That said, many male carriers of Chlamydia don't know they were infected by their female partners, especially if they got it on after a Christian music event or revival ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 13, 2007 4:34 PM

Just another example of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Bushies and everything they stand for.

Will the people wake up in '08 and throw the bastards out? Don't be too surprised if they don't. Sadly, I think P.T. Barnum was all too right about us.

Posted by Westside forever | November 13, 2007 4:38 PM

Abstinence education kills brain cells. Why not babies as well?

Posted by Jake | November 13, 2007 4:45 PM

this must be a falsehood. Everyone knows that the 60's and 70's were the height of social diseases. It was Carter's fault, mostly.

Posted by Good Christian | November 13, 2007 4:50 PM

I had no idea! Who are these people that are having sex? And I'm sure NONE of these people are in a sanctified holier-than-your-trash marriage. Only holy marriage is the protection from these diseases. Now that I'm married I don't get anything not even a cold.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 13, 2007 4:59 PM

#1, historically, syphilis is referred to as the disease of a nation's enemy. French disease, German disease, Italian disease. The Dutch called it the Portugese disease.
Slutty dirty Portugese.

Posted by gfrancie | November 13, 2007 5:05 PM

So are we supposed to call syphilis the Saudi disease, then?

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 13, 2007 5:35 PM

Woo-hoo! We're Number ONE!

In your FACE, Brazil & Indonesia!

Posted by 12th Man | November 13, 2007 6:21 PM

To you, my heart cries out "Chlamydia!"

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 13, 2007 6:34 PM

While it's sad news that measured rates have increased, the article clearly states that "[CDC officials] think the [chlamydia record] is largely a result of better and more intensive screening."

Also, the headline is sensationalist. (I thought Dan looked down on that sort of thing, but I guess not.) It is the per capita rate that is most pertinent, and from the numbers given in the article it is obvious that the per capita rate for gonorrhea in 1978 was much, much higher than this 'record'.

The only real news that I could see is that gonorrhea and syphilis per capita rates have gone up.

Posted by booji boy | November 13, 2007 7:13 PM

re#14: From the actual CDC report (, not the news story:
"The national rate of reported chlamydia in 2006 was 347.8 cases per 100,000 population, an increase of 5.6 percent from 2005 (329.4). The increases in reported cases and rates likely reflect the continued expansion of screening efforts and increased use of more sensitive diagnostic tests; however, the continued increases may also reflect an actual increase in infections."

Click on "Figures in the National Profile." Note Fig. 8, the percentage of women tested who have ever had the disease (have antibodies to it), has increased slowly but steadily since 2000. And Fig. 9, showing that data by state, suggests that chlamydia seems to be a red-state disease.

The gonorrhea rate has indeed come down since '78 (and syphilis since the 40's). The news story is that the current gonorrhea increase is primarily of drug-resistant gonorrhea that cipro can't treat - scary.

Overall, the US has 10 times the STD rate of Northern Europe. We can do a lot better. Abstinence is great for those who can do it; but that simply is not the majority of human beings. Teaching only abstinence is short-changing most kids, with predictable results.

Posted by micro prof in the boonies | November 13, 2007 9:12 PM

#10 - That's pretty ironic that "syphilis is referred to as the disease of a nation's enemy", since so many royal families around the world carry a genetic strain of syphilis. It's the enemy within. It's easily cured nowadays, but it's still a great metaphor for monarchs.

Posted by Donovan | November 14, 2007 2:33 AM

There's a super strain of The Clap? Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Posted by Mike in MO | November 14, 2007 5:49 AM

I just got my annual HIV/STD tests back a week ago, and I"m still HIV negative and STD-free. And I'm not exactly virginal; I'm 41 and I've been plenty sexually active for longer than most of you have been alive.

I don't know, honestly, if sexually-transmitted diseases are a matter of statistical probability, or good judgment. But I suspect there's danger in saying it's exclusively one or the other. I tend to operate under the assumption, wrong or not, that HIV and STDs are generally easy to avoid--provided to adhere to the rules of safer sex.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | November 14, 2007 6:25 AM

So I thougth I had seen a stat about it increasing at the greatest rate in the Detroit area, but a quick google search says that it's increasing the most in the south.


Posted by Michelle | November 14, 2007 7:32 AM

But according to the idiot author of the 'The Abstinence Teacher' (Tom Perrotta), high school health teachers don't have an impact at all upon high school students. Specifically he notes how teens are still sexually active even with a abstinence only education. According to him, health educators can't influence the kinds of issues noted.

Yay, USA #1 (in STDs)

Posted by Just Some Guy | November 14, 2007 8:12 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).