World News and Trends: STD crisis in America

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STD crisis in America

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to plague America. For example, "the U.S. syphilis rate rose for the seventh straight year in 2007, driven by a continual surge in cases among homosexual and bisexual men, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] said on Wednesday . . . Homosexual and bisexual men accounted for 64 percent of syphilis cases in 2007" (Reuters, March 12, 2008).

CDC authorities are concerned about the increased risk of those already afflicted with syphilis being more susceptible to contracting the AIDS virus and more likely to pass it on it to others. CDC epidemiologist Dr. Hillard Weinstock stated, "Syphilis can increase the likelihood of HIV transmission from two to fivefold."

Dr. Weinstock also stated the obvious: "Having multiple sex partners and other high-risk behaviors, like not using condoms, do put you at a higher risk for HIV and syphilis." Of course, condoms are not true safeguards against disease transmission, while premarital abstinence and monogamous marriage are.

Young women are very much at high risk from STDs as well. An AP report stated that "at least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease," with human papillomavirus [HPV}, a virus that causes cervical cancer, by far the most common (March 11, 2008).

Research indicates that nearly half of sexually active teenage girls are infected with an STD at any one time. (Sources: Associated Press, Reuters.)