According to the data, South Carolina ranks 7th in the nation for the most sexually diseased states.

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report which analyzes the national trends of STDs in the United States, and their findings were troubling.

According to the report, 2016 was the worst year on record with more than 2,000,000 new cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis infections nationwide, spiking past the previous record that was set in 2015. The vast majority of those 2 million infections were chlamydia with a whopping 1.6 million. which continues to make it the most widespread STD across the country behind HPV with infections on the rise, especially among young women.

Syphilis infections are on the rise, jumping 18% from 2015. According to the report, the majority of these infections are among men and especially men who have sex with other men (MSM), half of whom are HIV positive. But men are not alone in this increase. Syphilis infections saw a 36% increase among women, and a tragic 28% increase among newborns, also known as congenital syphilis. In 2016 the United States saw more than 600 cases of congenital syphilis, a disease that is preventable through screening and treatment before birth, causing 40 deaths and severe complications for many others.

Following the trend, gonorrhea infections saw increases among men and women nationwide, with a reported 22% increase among the MSM population nationwide.

Unfortunately, the Palmetto State is not immune to this growing problem; in fact, according to the data, South Carolina ranks 7th in the nation for the most sexually diseased states in the Union behind Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, New Mexico and North Carolina. Arkansas, Delaware, and Oklahoma round out the top ten. The question that begs to be asked is: why?

There are many potential causes for the dramatic rise in sexually transmitted diseases including hookup social media apps like Tinder and Grindr. The CDC, in their brief on HIV in the Southern United States, gave their opinion on potential causes which included racism, homophobia, transphobia and cultural factors such as being uncomfortable with public discussion about sexuality. Though that may be the “politically correct” diagnosis, there’s another, more correct explanation.

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s has continually grown in the 50 years since. The free love and sex of that generation was passed down to their children and grandchildren leading to a culture of unbridled passion and unsafe practices. Couple that with a culture that is growing increasingly antithetical to Christian morals and values, which emphasize sexual purity and monogamy, and it’s not hard to understand why the STD epidemic is on the rise. The CDC goes on to give their suggestions for how to fix the problem:

  • Increasing the accessibility of screenings and diagnoses
  • Applying early and ongoing STD and HIV treatment
  • Improving condom availability
  • Increasing the availability of drugs such as PrEP in order to help reduce the likelihood of HIV infections, and
  • Supporting behavior change through education and support

Not only are these recommendations lacking from a medical stand point, but they also only try to treat the symptoms of a much larger issue. Outside of marriage – a life-long, monogamous commitment – there is no such thing as safe sex. The motto of “safer sex” dispersed by the CDC, HHS and others hides the true extent of the consequences associated with sex outside of marriage – the physical, social, emotional, economic and spiritual.

“But they’re going to have sex anyway” is not an excuse to continue our failed policies of “safer sex.” Abstinence-only education teaches children the true nature of premature sexual activity, and seeks to instill an understanding of the tried-and-true biblical design for sex.

Here’s some further reading on the issue: Evidence on the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education

Dan Scott

Dan Scott

Contributor

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