by Lou Binninger
You probably didn’t notice particularly if you haven’t been checked lately but sexually transmitted infections (STI) are booming. The myth is that you can live a sexually promiscuous lifestyle and if you notice no symptoms then you are well.
However, health officials say people are infected but may not be experiencing symptoms yet. People in one-night stands and affairs may be comforted by partner assurances of no infections on board but often they haven’t been examined. They just aren’t aware of any symptoms.
Other myths abound in the STI world. People in some African nations believe that intercourse with a virgin female or a monkey could cure HIV and other STIs. What you don’t know can kill you in the STI world.
Unfortunately, politicians and even medical people often play sexual Russian roulette by not telling the whole truth about what is primarily spreading disease. To protect the image of groups with high risk behavior social engineers toss in ‘indirect causes’ like poverty, unstable housing, and insufficient funding. Though there are many contributing factors in spreading STIs including ignorance and the lack of transparency regarding sexual practices, the root problem is risky behavior.
Intravenous drug use, sex with many partners, and sex among homosexual and bisexual men are driving the spike in diseases. Add to the risky behavior the decreased or improper use of condoms, the lack of follow-through on treatment and not properly informing a network of sex partners about being infected.
If you had multiple partners over the years or injected drugs medical people advise telling your doctor and getting tested. Then remain sexually monogamous with someone that has also been tested, treated and cleared. For addicts, use a clean needle, get on suboxone or seek a rehab.
If sticking with one partner is impossible then use a latex condom, always. For the risk takers continue reading to learn about your STI world.
A report shows that from 2017 to 2018, there were increases in the three most commonly reported STIs --- syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. There were more than 115,000 syphilis cases.
The number of primary and secondary syphilis cases – the most infectious stages of syphilis – increased 14 percent to more than 35,000 cases, the highest number reported since 1991. Among newborns, syphilis cases increased 40 percent to more than 1,300 cases.
Gonorrhea increased 5 percent to more than 580,000 cases – also the highest number reported since 1991. Chlamydia increased 3 percent to more than 1.7 million cases – the most ever reported to the Center for Disease Control.
Antibiotics can cure syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. However, left untreated, STIs can be transmitted to others and produce dangerous consequences such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, increased HIV risk and death. Congenital syphilis – syphilis passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy – can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death, and severe lifelong physical and neurological problems.
An estimated 38,000 new HIV infections occur in the United States each year. HIV diagnoses are not evenly distributed across states and regions. More than 50 percent of new diagnoses occurred in just 48 counties (of 3,142); Washington, DC; and San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2016 and 2017.
California had the most counties, with 8 leading the way in new cases – Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Francisco.
America has an estimated 1.1 million people infected with HIV and is spending $20 billion annually to treat and stop the spread of the disease.
French-Canadian airline employee Gaetan Dugas, was once vilified for spreading HIV to North America. Dugas told researchers that he had 750 sexual partners the previous three years before being diagnosed with HIV. Dugas recalled the names of just 72 partners.
That wasn’t an unusual number of sexual hook-ups for members of the homosexual community. Researchers said 65 percent of men in a Los Angeles cluster study at the time reported having more than 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetimes. Most of that sexual activity was with anonymous people thereby prohibiting HIV patients from giving medical officials any names for treatment.
No amount of effective medicine and care will curb STIs where people’s habits spread the disease and their ignorance and lack of transparency inhibits treatment. HIV is believed to have come from diseased monkeys in Leopoldville (Republic of the Congo) during the 1970s. The other three STIs have been noted throughout history.
California’s Senate Bill 859 is the latest attempt to pour more resources into education, treatment and care to stop this epidemic in spite of the tendency of the at-risk population to ignore facts and caution.
(Get Lou’s podcast at “No Hostages Radio” and his articles at nohostagesradio.com)