Sexually Transmitted Diseases
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2003|
|Apart from the common cold and flu, sexually transmitted diseases are now the most common diseases in America. With the large number of STDs that have emerged, research is consistently behind in determining the exact consequences of most of them. Although drugs and other treatments have proved successful for many, we still don’t know the long-term consequences for others. The only solution is a radical change in sexual attitudes and behavior.|
Their Extraordinary Cost to Society
- The damaging effects of STD’s can be mild, but extremely aggravating or they can be severe and permanent—as in death. . . It seems that every few years human beings are assaulted (literally, battered) with new sexually transmitted diseases. Each succeeding disease seems worse than the last. . . Most STD germs are very fragile . . . outside the body. . . . Inside the body, however; STD germs are extremely potent and can cause tremendous damage.
- Joe Mcllhaney, M.D.
- Sexuality and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The Guinness Book of World Records does not yet have a category for the individual with the most sexually transmitted diseases, but “Hud” might as well submit a report. Hud claims that he has had sexual encounters with more than eight thousand different men and women. In a period of ten years he has contracted herpes, Chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid, a multidrug resistant form of tuberculosis, scabies, genital warts, and thirteen other diseases related to his sexual practices. In fact, he has contracted these diseases a total of sixty-seven times. Surprisingly, he has not yet contracted AIDS.
It might not matter. Doctors have told him that his life span may have been reduced by as much as fifteen years—which means he may not have long to live. Although Hud is clearly the exception, it is becoming more and more common for people to encounter multiple sexually transmitted diseases in their lifetimes.
THE STD EXPLOSION
But worldwide the picture is just as dismal. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 250 million (one-quarter billion) cases of STDs each year. Unfortunately, it could be that the battle to control these diseases is lost.
In that it was largely persons having liberal attitudes on sex who have helped produce the current epidemics—not those who have advocated abstinence—it is somewhat unrealistic for these persons to now attack the position of abstinence—our only safe recourse—as “unrealistic and harmful.” In this chapter we will document why it is the liberal, permissive view of sex that is “unrealistic and harmful.” In fact, the current epidemics will not cease until parents, teenagers, and the rest of society understand fully the devastating consequences of sexual promiscuity—and act accordingly. “STDs have touched the lives of everyone from innocent spouses to a celibate nun, resulting in birth defects, cancer, sterility, and death among men, women, and even children, who never knew they had a disease. And the problem is expected to escalate to incredible proportions.”
Leanne and Henry had been dating for about a year. They soon entered into an uncertain stage of their relationship and both decided to begin dating other people. Unfortunately, this led to sexual experimentation with others, hoping to discover if they really were “right” for each other.
Both affairs turned out poorly, and soon Leanne and Henry were back together. Leanne never realized she contracted both herpes and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) from what she thought was one of the nicest, kindest men she had ever met. Henry never realized that he had contracted syphilis.
Within a month of re-continuing sexual intercourse, they had each passed their diseases to the other. Leanne was furious with Henry and vice versa; their mutual trust had been destroyed. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t survive.
In recent years, the most noted STDs have been AIDS and herpes. But many other STDs constitute as serious a problem. For example, in the same years since AIDS first appeared, other STDs are estimated to have caused up to ninety thousand fatalities as well as fetal and infant deaths in the millions. Gonorrhea, syphilis, and cancroids are now “increasing at epidemic rates among urban minority populations in the U.S.” Further, each year more babies are born with birth defects caused by STDs than all the children afflicted by polio during the entire ten-year epidemic of the 1950s.
Most people have no idea of the collective damage caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Since the sexual revolution began in the sixties, the result has been nothing short of incredible.
In twenty years hardly anyone will risk sex outside of certain knowledge of an uninfected, monogamous partner. Until that time, among literally tens of millions of people the message will either go unheard or unheeded, making the present years the most dangerous of all for risk of infection.
As far back as 1981, The Harvard Medical School Health Letter noted the existence of twenty different STDs, and the greater concern emerging among professionals was not the immediate symptoms of the STDs, but “their role in causing birth defects, infertility, and long term disability.”
Three years later American Health magazine reported on twenty-eight different STDs. It noted that this was the biggest explosion of “social diseases” since Columbus. It said that beyond the dread of AIDS “a savage variety of lesser known ailments” now infect Americans. Further, “in romantic moments each year, ten to fifteen million citizens now enroll each other as victims of sexually transmitted diseases.” And, “at last count, 28 different viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites get exchanged with awesome frequency.”
On July 14, 1988, the New York Tunes reported fifty-one STDs and their numbers are increasing. In other words, thirty years ago there were only a few sexually transmitted diseases—the principal concerns were syphilis and gonorrhea. In 1992 we are approaching sixty, and apparently a new one is discovered every nine months.
What’s worse, many of these diseases are asymptomatic or mimic other illnesses and, therefore, are difficult to diagnose. For the majority of the most common STDs “there is on the average a 40 to 60 percent chance that you will have no discernible symptoms or will mistake them for something else.” Thus, women who do have the characteristic signs of an STD are easily misdiagnosed. For example, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, fever, abnormal discharges or bleeding from the vagina, nausea and vomiting, pain with urinating or defecating—may receive a false diagnosis of bladder infection (cystitis) because the symptoms are so similar. Without proper tests for various STDs, the condition will progress unobstructed, frequently to the point where the damage is done and it is too late to help. (The best way to diagnose PID, for example, is a small operation called laparoscopy, which allows the physician to examine the tubes for inflammation and get specimens for culture). Unfortunately, as with AIDS, many people resist testing for fear of the consequences. No one likes being diagnosed as having a sexually transmitted disease. But the consequences of not being diagnosed are far worse.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF STDS
Ten to twenty million American women are now sterile because of sexual infections from promiscuity; the figures may go as high as one-fourth of all women of childbearing age. That is a terrible price to pay for a few moments of pleasure.
Regardless, apparently twelve to fifteen million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur each year. “Statistics show that the incidence of nearly every STD is on the rise.” Somewhere between thirty-five and forty thousand Americans acquire an STD every day of the year. This means that at least 25 percent—or one in every four—of Americans between the ages of fifteen and fifty-five will eventually acquire a sexually transmitted disease. And the figures may run higher.
Further, STDs are frequently synergistic, having a combined effect surpassing that of their individual infections. For example, concurrent infections with gonorrhea and Chlamydia greatly increase the risk of PID and infertility when compared to these infections alone. Further, many STDs, such as syphilis, and herpes, actually increase a person’s risk for AIDS infection.
Herb was not particularly sexually active. He had been with only a few women before he met his “true love.” Sharon was much more sexually active than Herb and in the past year had contracted both herpes and chancroid. But Herb loved her and wanted to many her.
Unfortunately, what Sharon couldn’t know (later confirmed by doctors) was that her forthcoming diagnosis of HIV infection was probably attributable to her earlier exposure to other STDs. Tragically, after her diagnosis, she discovered she had passed on the HIV virus to Herb. As of this writing, Herb is dead. Sharon is in the hospital and weighs less than sixty pounds. She is not expected to survive the month.
Scientific American reported the following in 1991: “This increase [in chancroid rates] could have profound public health consequences because chancroid may facilitate HIV transmission. Worse still, the bacterium that causes chancroid has developed resistance to many antimicrobial drugs. In persons who have been exposed to HIV, chancroid often fails to respond to some therapies that are otherwise highly effective. Thus, HIV infection may help the spread of a bacterial STD that in turn helps to spread HIV.”
- The evidence that other STD’s increase the sexual transmission of HIV can be summarized as follows. The STD’s that cause genital ulcer disease, chancroid, syphilis and genital herpes—have been associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV infection in heterosexual men and women in Africa. Syphilis and herpes have also been associated with HIV infection in heterosexual men and women and in homosexual men in the U.S. In African women the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV has been elevated in those with gonorrhea or Chlamydial infection of the cervix or those with a form of vaginal discharge caused by Richomonas, a common parasite.
- Conversely, HIV infection leads to altered manifestations of other STD and thereby probably promotes their spread. Genital and anorectal herpes ulcers normally heal within one to three weeks, but they may persist for months as highly infectious ulcers in persons with HIV infection. As previously noted, HIV infection also raises the risk of treatment failure for chancroid ulcers. There is anecdotal evidence for the failure of syphilis treatments and for altered manifestations of syphilis and gonorrhea in HIV-positive persons. We can, therefore, postulate that HIV and other STD may promote one another’s spread.
Then there are other possible synergisms. Science News reported that those women infected with certain types of HPV (human papillomavirus) who also smoke tobacco may be at greater risk for cervical cancer.
What’s worse, “teenagers have more STD’s than any other group in the ‘United States.” Each year some three million of them acquire STDs and 25 percent of all the sexually active will get one before graduating. Again, every year one in seven teenagers contracts an STD, making STDs epidemic among teens as well: “While the STD rate is severe for the population as a whole, the rate in the 16 to 20 year-old age group is three times that of the general population. For example, Chlamydia has become the most commonly diagnosed STD, and among sexually active teens, its prevalence may be as high as 30 percent. Its incidence in teens can be called epidemic. Other STDs are also increasing among teens. Cervical cancer, now classified as an STD, is a problem especially among young teens. . . . The prevalence among sexually active teens is estimated to be 11-22 percent. Doesn’t this suggest that millions of our children are suffering because, as a nation, we lacked the common sense to teach them abstinence?
Teenagers, like many of their parents, frequently ignore the consequences of their sexual activity. Consider the letter to “Dear Abby” as reported in the Los Angeles Tunes for October 16, 1979. A sixteen-year-old girl had thanked Abby for a column on STDs. She wished she had seen something like this a few years earlier. She explained that at sixteen, she had just undergone a “very painful and serious” hysterectomy as a result of contracting gonorrhea. This teenager noted that she was not promiscuous and had never slept around. She had only one boyfriend. Now she had a seven inch scar on her stomach. She confessed that the worst part was knowing that she would never be able to have children. She concluded that most kids do not understand how serious STDs are, and signed her letter, “Paid a High Price.”
Unfortunately, viral STDs such as HPV, AIDS, herpes, and hepatitis are with a person for life and have no cure. Some fifty million Americans now carry one or more of these viruses in their bodies and will have to live with them permanently.
Nor are married men and women safe if their partners are sexually unfaithful. Josh McDowell, who has spoken to more than ten million people on the subject of human sexuality, reports:
Last fall . . . 24 women spoke to me who were each carrying three to six sexually transmitted diseases they had contracted from their husbands. Many of the diseases were incurable and/or cancer producing. Several of the women said that their doctors strongly admonished them to be tested for cancer every six months—for the rest of their lives. When their husbands played around sexually, some before marriage and some after, they weren’t just participating in innocent, private affairs. Their so-called private acts will affect their wives and children for as long as any of them live.
Even while a person is without symptoms and the STD is dormant, it can be transmitted to anyone else that person has sex with. Edward Wiesmeier, director of the UCLA Student Health Center warns, “One chance encounter can infect a person with as many as five different diseases.”
FACTS ABOUT THE MOST COMMON STDS
- Twenty percent of all people with AIDS are in their twenties, many of them infected during their teenage years.
- Infants born to infected mothers have a one-in-ten to one-in-three chance of testing positive for HIV depending on the stage of HIV infection (early or late). This means that eventually millions of children will be infected. Without a cure, all will die.
- UNICEF estimates that by 1999 almost thirty million children will be orphaned by AIDS.
- Because AIDS destroys the immune system, making the body susceptible to a large number of damaging or fatal illnesses it could otherwise ward off, the means by which most people die of AIDS are more painful, disfiguring, and traumatic than many other illnesses. By the time a person has died from AIDS he may have had various types of pneumonia, debilitating fungus infections, tuberculosis, syphilis, severe forms of common infections, various cancers, severe brain damage involving dementia, seizures, and so on.
- In the brief few years AIDS has existed, it has become the leading cause of death for single American men between the ages of fifteen and fifty. Among teens the number of cases is doubling every fourteen months, and more teenagers now get AIDS heterosexually than adults.
- Before the epidemic is over, a few authorities have estimated that,without a cure, between 500 million and two billion could die.
Thankfully, current research seems increasingly promising—and we just may find a vaccine or cure. Unfortunately it appears that it will not be before at least fifty million people are dead.
- By 1988, forty million Americans were infected with herpes—more than one-half million are newly infected each year. Characteristically, an individual may not have physical symptoms.
- Although estimates vary, it would seem that between one-third and one-half of all adults carry the genital herpes virus in their blood stream. A JAMA study as far back as 1986 indicated that “the average adult male in the United States has almost a 50 percent chance of having already been infected with the virus.” Further, according to Masters and Johnson, “The risk of developing genital herpes in a woman exposed to an infected man is estimated to be 80 to 90 percent”
- Again, one-third to more than one-half of initial herpes infections are symptomless or go unnoticed. Such persons who continue to have sex continue to infect others. “Remember, that 75 percent of herpes-infected individuals have never had an outbreak of herpes (and, therefore, may be unaware of its existence), but can pass it on nonetheless.”
- There is even a new strain of herpes that is entirely asymptomatic. (Like the AIDS virus, other STDs are also mutating into different forms.) This new strain is impossible to detect until the woman has a child born with a birth defect.
- In common with other viruses, herpes cannot successfully be treated with antibiotics although some antiviral agents may suppress the infection and its characteristic recurrences.
- Herpes can spread to others even when condoms are used.
- Babies vaginally delivered to mothers with a primary outbreak of infection have a high chance of contracting the disease (60 percent or more of these may die and most others will suffer brain damage). This requires delivery by C-section if the mother is known to have an active infection or shedding herpes viruses.
- Rarely, herpes infects the brain causing severe brain damage or death. It has also been associated with cancer of the cervix.
- As with AIDS, just one sexual experience with a symptom-free but infected person may lead to years of intermittent suffering.
- Nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) and mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC) refer to a variety of diseases that affect men and women respectively. NGU is any infection of the urethra not due to gonorrhea and is also known as NSU or nonspecific urethritis. Frequently, NGU and MPC are lumped together under NGU.
- About half of all cases in men are caused by the organism chlamydia trachomatis, which is also responsible for about one-quarter million cases of acute epididymitis each year. (Epididymitis infects the ducts carrying the sperm from the testicles, causing sterility.)
- In women, chlamydia trachomatis accounts for an estimated one-quarter to one-half million cases of PID per year (see below).
- Reader’s Digest reported in November 1979 that NGU (which it described as “an insidious disease”) had become the most common venereal infection in the U.S., England, and other developed countries. Victims of NGU outnumbered those of gonorrhea by two to one—four to nine million cases each year. Symptoms of NGU in men are similar to those of gonorrhea but deceptively milder. Infected women frequently have no symptoms. NGU can cause Reiter’s syndrome, an especially painful form of arthritis. In addition, 75 percent of epididymitis cases involving men under thirty-five were traceable to NGU.
- NGU also sterilizes women by infecting and closing the fallopian tubes.
- From 1965 to 1980 tubal pregnancies tripled in America, partly the result of epidemics of gonorrhea and NGU. Unfortunately, pregnancy itself makes women more susceptible to NGU—the disease can infect the womb after delivery. But it is even more of a menace to babies. Reader’s Digest described the effects of NGU upon “tortured babies,” noting, “Venereal diseases have been a medical wasteland in this country.” Today, NGU/MPC continues to infect men and women at epidemic rates.
- inflammatory disease also strikes about one million American women each year and is caused by a variety of bacteria or other organisms such as chlamydia trachomatis. It is a major cause of infertility and ectopic pregnancy. In 1991 we spent four billion dollars treating this disease and will spend at least ten to twenty billion more by the year 2000. According to STD specialist Judith Wasserheit of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, by 2000 A.D. about 50 percent of all women will have contracted PID.
- Although PID is a “silent epidemic” usually infecting women, it can also affect men—without symptoms—and, rarely, it can even be fatal. In some cases, a severe infection is produced. Without surgery, the patient may die within a matter of hours, but the surgery itself may involve removing the reproductive organs, leaving the woman unable to bear children.
- Even when PID involves very mild infections, it may still lead to complete blockage of the fallopian tubes and infertility from scarring. Many women never suspect something is wrong until they attempt to get pregnant and discover they cannot.
- PID may cause miscarriages and premature labor, stillbirths and postpartum infection. In newborn children it may cause eye infections and pneumonia. Chlamydia trachomatis, which also causes PID, is more common than gonorrhea and syphilis combined, presenting about four million new cases every year. Each year combined costs of chlamydia are $1.5 to $2.5 billion. With chlamydial infection, up to half of all women have no symptoms when they are infected.
- As is true for many other STDs, infected women may not discover the results of their sexual activity until they attempt to get pregnant or discover they have infected their babies:
- Maternal chlamydial infections during pregnancy are commonly passed to the newborn during childbirth, presumably from the infant coming in contact with infected secretions in the birth canal. Up to 50 percent of infants born to infected mothers develop conjunctivitis (a type of eye infection), and 3 to 18 percent develop chlamydial pneumonia (a lung infection) before they are four months old. While chlamydial pneumonia is not usually serious, chlamydial conjunctivitis can sometimes cause chronic eye disease. . . . A number of studies also link chlamydial infections with various complications of pregnancy, such as premature rupture of the fetal membranes, premature delivery, and postpartum endometritis.
- Scientific American noted that “silent but destructive disease is the hallmark of chronic chlamydial infection. In fact, permitting an infection to “burn in your body without treatment even a few days too long” greatly increases chances of sterility.
- Women who develop PID as a result of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or another bacterial infection have a 10 to 15 percent chance of becoming permanently infertile on their first infection, a 30 to 35 percent chance on their second, and a 60 to 75 percent chance on their third. Each year twenty thousand women become infertile from chlamydia infections alone.
- PID may lead to ectopic pregnancy, which has experienced a dramatic rise in the past decade; 50 percent of those who have ectopic pregnancies become infertile.
- Science News reported that because of STDs ectopic pregnancy “now ranks as the leading cause of pregnancy-related death among women in the first trimester.”
- Condoms do not prevent the spread of chlamydia.
- Like many other STDs, cytomegalovirus frequently produces no symptoms, but may cause illnesses similar to flu or mononucleosis.
- An estimated forty to eighty thousand babies were born in 1982 with congenital CMV infections; 10 to 20 percent have significant or permanent handicaps, including small or large headedness, seizures, psychomotor retardation, and hearing and learning problems. Other babies will die before birth, be born prematurely, or have fatal problems of the liver and spleen. It may also cause pneumonia and other respiratory problems in babies.
- Hepatitis B is another common viral STD, presenting 300,000 new cases per year in the U.S., with some 200 million carriers throughout the world.
- Approximately 60 percent of all homosexual men have had hepatitis, with 85 percent becoming infected by age forty.
- Mild cases of hepatitis result in flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all; severe cases may result in fatal liver damage or cancer.
- Hepatitis can be transmitted to an unborn child resulting in its death, a stillbirth, premature delivery, or ongoing infection through childhood. Some research indicates that 90 percent of babies born to mothers who are chronic hepatitis B virus carriers will be infected at the time of birth; of these, 90 percent will become chronic hepatitis B carriers themselves.
Venereal Warts and HPV:
- Human papillomavirus is a common STD linked to cervical and other cancers.
- The Los Angeles Times of October 8, 1983, reported that every year cervical cancer is expected to strike sixteen thousand American women, causing seven thousand deaths. It noted that a new STD was spreading to more people than both herpes and AIDS combined. In 1981 nearly one million people were treated for HPV.
- But on January 23, 1991, USA Today reported that HPV has now “reached epidemic proportions in sexually active youth.” Indeed, almost half of all sexually active college women may now be infected. Every year one or two million new cases of venereal warts are reported in the U.S. and, currently, up to twenty-four million people are believed to be infected with HPV.
- This disease starts as little more than a nuisance—genital warts—but can result in cervical cancer in women and other genital cancers in both sexes. Once exposed, a person may be predisposed to cancer by one of several mechanisms—for example, the herpes virus interacting with the papillomavirus, or excessive exposure to sunlight.
- Sometimes genital warts go away. Usually, they spread and become uncomfortable or disfiguring. Treatments include surgery, burning, freezing, or chemical removal. As with herpes, women with genital warts should have frequent pap smears because of the cancer link. Thus, HPV is thought to be a contributing factor in “cervical, vaginal, and vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia and carcinoma.” About eight thousand women die each year from HPV associated cancers.
- Sixty percent of the sexual partners of patients with venereal warts have the infection themselves.
- Other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are frequently found along with venereal warts.
- Venereal warts may interfere with the delivery of a child.
- Women who have venereal warts, secondary to the human papillomavirus infection, are much more likely to have cervical cancer than women without the warts.
- Certain types of human papillomavirus are found in more than 90 percent of cervical cancers studied. Family Practice News of August 1-14, 1984, reported that “an epidemic of cervical cancer among women is likely to occur if liberal sexual lifestyles continue.
- In the last ten years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of syphilis cases, which has five main stages.
- Syphilis is a potentially severe STD that may produce heart, brain, and spinal cord damage leading to a variety of debilitating conditions, including death. Syphilis of the brain can mimic almost any psychiatric disorder and some data link syphilitic infection with increased rates of AIDS infection.
- “[In] . . . Benign Diseases of the Vulva and Vagina, Drs. Herman L. Gardner and Raymond Kaufman write: . . . ‘According to estimates, approximately half of the patients with syphilis are either unaware of its presence, or consider the lesions inconsequential until the disease is past its early stages.’ …
- “When syphilis reaches the late stage, it can produce devastating medical problems in almost any part of the body. Some of the more common effects are aneurysms of the cardiovascular system, deterioration of the central nervous system, involvement of bones, and damage to peripheral nerves. . . . During the latent stage, the syphilis spirochetes do tremendous damage throughout the body. Large abscesses are formed and entire organs can be destroyed. Once well into the latent stage, a patient may sustain irreversible damage to the bones, liver cells, heart valves, blood vessels, and central nervous system.”
- Congenital infections have increased fourfold from 1985 to 1987 and have continued to rise. About 25 percent of infected children die before birth, another 25% die shortly after birth and many others develop various complications.
There is one major threat that occurs during all stages of syphilis—damage to the unborn child of a syphilitic mother. Babies can develop syphilis while still in their mother’s womb, and congenital syphilis is a disaster. Such pregnancies often end in spontaneous miscarriages or stillbirths. Other infected babies die soon after birth. Those that live are often born with such abnormalities as nose obstruction, flattening of the bridge of the nose, fractures of the bones, enlarged liver and spleen, and eye or ear damage. Population Reports (July 1983) quotes a study showing that of 220 pregnancies in women with untreated primary or secondary syphilis, 38 percent ended in spontaneous miscarriages, stillbirths, or neonatal death; and 41 percent resulted in the birth of a syphilitic infant.
- Gonorrhea has become “the most common reportable disease in school-age children, surpassing chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella combined?” The highest rate of gonorrhea infection of any age group is the fifteen- to nineteen-year-old category. Gonorrhea is also the principal cause of arthritis in young adults. One to two million new cases are reported each year.
- In women, gonorrhea may cause PID leading to infertility or ectopic pregnancy.
- Sixty percent of women and 20 percent of men with a gonorrhea infection have no symptoms, making treatment and spread of the disease difficult to control.
- As is true for several other STDs, gonorrhea is increasingly resistant to penicillin even while it continues to develop resistant strains.
- Trichomoniasis affects about 20 percent of all women who are sexually active with multiple partners during the reproductive years. There are an estimated three million or more new cases in the U.S. every year with one study reporting eight million. This disease may also increase risk of infertility in women.
- Ureaplasma (T-mycolplasma) is a temporary cause of infertility in women and may play a role in miscarriages; in men it may lead to urethritis, conjunctivitis, and arthritis.
- There is also gardnerella vaginalis or hemophilus, chanchroid, LVG (lymphgramuloma venereum), GI (granuloma inguinale), molluscum contagiosum, Epstein-Barr, virus, and three dozen more STDs too numerous to list. “Chanchroid, GI, and LGV are highly dangerous and destructive diseases causing the loss of vital tissues in the reproductive organs, gross enlargement of the sex organs, stricture of the intestines and rectum, obstruction of the anus, even death.
Unfortunately, with the large number of STDs that have emerged in the last thirty years, research is consistently behind in determining the exact consequences of most of them. Although drugs and other treatments have proved successful for many, we still don’t know the long-term consequences for others.
But additional research is not the solution. STDs may never be controlled medically because they are growing at too fast a rate. They may also mutate. Again, the only solution is a radical change in sexual attitudes and behavior.
To risk infertility, life-long pain, cancer and other diseases—or even death—is absurd. To teach our own children and the rest of society that safe sex is the solution seems almost criminal.
In spite of the repeated degrading of Christian values in this country, the simple fact is that abiding by those values would have prevented the entire STD epidemic. It is surprising that nearly 2,000 years ago God warned through the apostle Paul: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
The words of Dr. McIlhaney appropriately conclude this chapter: “If sex is avoided until marriage and then engaged in only in marriage, all these sexually transmitted diseases would be of no importance at all because they could not enter into a closed circle relationship between husband and wife. Such an approach is not only not naive, it is also not moralizing, but it is now necessary.”
- Joe S. McIlhaney, Sexuality and Sexuality Transmitted Diseases (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 10 (citing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). (Reprinted with the new title Safe Sex A Doctor Looks at the Risks and Realities of AIDS and Other STD’s).
- Ibid., 15.
- T. M. Hooten et al., “STD Briefs,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, February 1991, 59. This figure is also reported in the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, “STDs On the Rise,”Ms., March 1991, 76.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 11; a partial listing of recent STD reports in popular magazines is illustrative, Seventeen, November 1990;American Health, May 1991, June 1991; Glamour, May 1991; New Yotk magazine, 3 June 1991; Scientific American, March 1991; Science, 19 April 1991,23 August 1991, 5 July 1991; The Futurist, March/April 1991; World Health, November/December 1990; Discover, February 1991; Science News, 20 April 1991.
- William Hines, “Other Sex Diseases Dwarf AIDS,” Chicago Sun Times, 21 May 1989, cites a figure of eighty thousand deaths from 1981.
- Sevgi O. And and King K. Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the AIDS Era,” Scientific American, February 1991, 62.
- E.g., Jean Seligman, “A Nasty New Epidemic,” Newsweek 4 February 1985, 73.
- Department of Continuing Education, Harvard Medical School, The Harvard Medical School Health Letter, April 1981, 1.
- Judy ‘smack, “Brave New World of Warts and Worries,” American Health, April 1984, 84.
- Ibid. This article noted that STDs were “the major cause of preventable sterility in American men and women” (p. 84). “In one decade, pelvic inflammatory disease from STDs has tripled the rate of ectopic pregnancies-to more than 50,000 a year. These tubal pregnancies require surgery to remove the embryo, and can kill the mother if not spotted early.” The article further warned: STD-related complications-miscarriage, premature delivery, post-partum infection of the uterus, for instance-are only beginning to be documented. They probably affect over 100,000 women annually. At least 100,000 newborns a year have eye disease from chlamydial infection. Herpes from infected mothers kills hundreds of babies, though planned Caesarean birth will prevent it. Group B strep kills more babies each year than polio in any year before the vaccine. Those who live may be blind, deaf, retarded or have cerebral palsy. The list of STD/cancer ties is long and growing. Genital warts from papillomaviruses are strongly linked
to cervical cancer and anal cancer in homosexual men, and hepatitis B is believed to be the leading cause of liver cancer (p. 86). The article pointed out that germs and viruses can still get in men and women through infected condoms and that “all intra-uterine devices raise the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, especially in the first four months use” (p. 87). The article noted that gonorrhea strains resistant to penicillin have “increased 13-fold in three years” (p. 88). Researchers are worried that they won’t develop newer drugs quickly enough to keep ahead of resistant strains. Tests for many of these diseases such as chlamydia and ureaplasma are very costly and not always available.
- Fifty-one of these diseases are mentioned in “Sharp Rise in Rare Sex Related Diseases,” New York Tunes, Health Section, 14 July 1988; discovering a new one each nine months is mentioned in Lewis J. Lord; “Sex with Care,” U.S. News & World Report, 2 June 1986; cf. McDhaney, Smuttily, 97-167, who discusses twenty-two.
- The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, The New Ourbodies, Ourselves (New York: Touchstone, 1984), 263.
- Between the ages of twenty and thirty-five, according to Dr. Robert Francoeur, professor of Human Sexuality and Embryology in J. Kerby Anderson, Genetic Engineering (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 23 (citing Parents, May 1981, 63-4).
- The New Ourbodies, Ourselves, 265.
- Statistics from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, from Josh McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life, 1990), 159; and Dinah Richard, Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers? A Research Report (Pomona, Calif.: Focus on the Family, 1990), 24; cf. U.S. News & World Report, 2 June 1986, 53; American Health, May 1991, 44; Newsweek Summer/Fall, 1990, special issue, 57.
- Ibid.; Peggy Brick et al,, Teaching Safer Sex (Hackensack, NJ.: Center for Family Life Education, Planned Parenthood of Bergen County, Inc., 1989), 27.
- Aral and Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 64.
- Ibid., 66-67.
- Science News, 6 April 1991, 215.
- Chicago Sun Times, 21 May 1989.
- American Health, May 1991, 44.
- Richard, Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers? 24.
- Cf. Curtis Pesman, “Love and Sex in the 90s: Our National Survey,” Seventeen, November 1991.
- San Diego Union, 7 October 1991, Al, AS (citing CDC estimates, gives a figure of forty-three million).
- McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 51.
- U.S. News & World Report, 2 June 1986, 56.
- Transcript of interview with Dr. Robert Redfield conducted on Jan. 30-31 and March 21, 1991.
- CNN News report, 29 November 1991.
- McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 160-61.
- William H. Masters, Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny, Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human
Loving (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988), 535.
- Ismach, “Brave New World,” 46.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 114 (citing Journal of the American Medical Association, 4 April 1986).
- Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 536.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 114; Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 537.
- McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 51.
- Aral and Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 66.
- Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 563.
- Ibid., 564.
- The New OurBodies Ourselves, 264-65, 268-71.
- “STD Briefs,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, December 1990, 53-54.
- Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 564.
- Ismach, “Brave New World,” 46.
- Aral and Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 64.
- Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 566; The New Ourbodies, Ourselves, 265.
- Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving 564.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 24.
- Wendy Gibbons, “Clueing in on Chlamydia: Microbial Stealth Leads to Reproductive Ravages,” Science News, 20 April 1991, 250.
- Aral and Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 66.
- Journal of the American Medical Association, 23/30 January 1991, 475.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 153-54
- Ibid.; cf. Journal of the American Medical Association, 23/30 January 1991, 475.
- Ibid.; cf. Ting and Greer Bauer et al, “Nearly Half of Sexually Active College Women May Be HPV-Infected,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, March 1991, 49.
- Ismach, “Brave New World,” 46; cf. “STD’s on the Rise,” Ms., 76.
- See Aral and Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 66; Journal of the American Medical Association, 23/30 January 1991, 475; Ismach, “Brave New World,” 46 (cf. “STD’s on the Rise,” Ms., 76); Mcllhaney, Sexuality, 136-39.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 137.
- Multiple sexual partners and beginning sexual intercourse at too early an age also increase a woman’s chance for cervical cancer. Apparently, beginning sexual activity early is a greater risk than having multiple partners because of the immaturity of the cells that line the cervix in young women. “All studies agree that cervical cancer risk is increased by … first intercourse at early ages. By observing abstinence, the adolescent female is on reasonably valid biological grounds, which requires no moral or religious support” (Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 February 1962, 486; cited in McDowell, Myths of Sex Education, 170). One study discovered that the risk of cellular abnormalities of the cervix is five times greater in a group of promiscuous teenagers than among a group of virgin teenagers. The risk of cervical cancer doubles in women who become involved sexually before the age of seventeen (cf. McDowell, Myths of Sex Education, 170). Further, extramarital sexual practice by either the man
or woman is also associated with cervical cancer risk.
- “Epidemiology of Primary and Secondary Syphilis in the United States, 1981-1989,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 19 September 1990, 1432; U.S. News & World Report, 14 August 1989, 7.
- McIlhaney, Sexuality, 124 -25, 128.