With the Governor of New York spending $80,000 on hookers — should we be surprised to learn 25% of teenage American girls are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis? If you’re a Black female teenager, your infection rate is 50%.


How did this unfortunate meme of belonging become an epidemic?
Was it caused by peer pressure, or desire, or an eruption against sexual repression?

These infected teenage females aren’t infecting each other.
Are their male peers similarly diseased; or are they just transmitting the infections?

What sort of life can these teenage girls expect as future mothers when 25-50% of them are rotting from the inside out?

Is there ever redemption from the moral decay of infection — or is there only evergreen condemnation?

26 Comments

  1. The images are excellent, Anne. They’re from an MTV “Safer Sex” campaign in Portugal… of all places. 😀
    There is a dangerous disconnect between the safety of the body and the freedom of the mind. Is education enough? Is learning anything without hard lessons being pressed into the body?

  2. Sometimes kids need to taste the soap to know it’s awful and sometimes they need to touch a match to learn that fire burns.
    I do wish, Anne, that some experiences didn’t have to be directly felt to know the ongoing ramifications.

  3. *Our* education and information is obviously not getting across. The shocking statistics illustrate that.
    We need to find a way of relating the dangers to these teenagers in a manner so they will learn the lesson – without having to do it the hard way – ie getting the disease.

  4. NICOLA!
    There you are! I hope you are doing well. We have missed your piercing, purple, eye and your bright mind! 😀
    There is a desperate disconnect going on somewhere. Kids are not only having sex, they’re having sex that is making them really sick. I don’t think they really care. I think they believe getting and giving STDs are just part of the sexual experience.
    I have been thinking how to get the point across to the teenagers — but when their entertainment memes are ones of “hoes and bitches” and “no-panties-crotch-showing” singers and “full-on sex tape” models — one begins to wonder what role big media plays in the degradation of the teenage experience.

  5. It really is down to the entertainment meme. Take the community of Kiryat Joel, for example – I can assure you that amongst their teenage girls you will barely find 1 in 100 that has any of the four vs mentioned above. How is it so? They have no idea who Britney Spears is and could care less about the fire / non fire status of Lindsay Lohan’s crotch. I’m not saying that it is necessary to seclude oneself to achieve results like that but it certainly is telling.

  6. Gordon!
    Thanks for that exciting link!
    Do you think the government needs to step in an intercede when it comes to outlawing what can and cannot be published in print, on the web and shown on television?
    Have we come to that point of a necessary, scolding, FCC where obscenity is not only defined, but defended against in the name of teenage health?

  7. Where are the parents in all this problem? Obviously there is a huge breakdown in inter-familial communications if sexual health issues in the young have to become public policy issues. Some of the parents whose young now have problems with STD’s surely were among the group affected by Genital Herpes in the late 60s and 70s. Their own misery recounted would function well as caution. G

  8. suburbanlife —
    The parents are absent. They do not care to watch their children or to morally keep them protected. It’s “everyone for themselves in the evolutionary pool!”
    The earlier onset of menarche is also a visual and cultural prompt for earlier sexual activity because we have so hardcoded that first bleeding as a meaningful entry into womanhood — when it is really nothing more than a false indicator of sexual maturing prompted by a change in international diets more than anything else:

    In the United States, in 1900, girls started their first periods at age 14 years, by 1960 they were menstruating by an average age 12.7. In Japan, in 1875, little girls became women capable of having babies at 16.5 years of age. Just after WW II (1950) they started their first periods at age 15.2. By 1960 the age of menarche was 13.9, by 1970 it fell to 12.5–just like little white girls in the United States. The slowest onset of maturity, with an mean age of menarche of 18-19 years, was observed in women of Papua New Guinea in the 1960s–a time when the people ate a nearly vegetarian, very low-fat diet.

    http://www.drmcdougall.com/newsletter/nov_dec97.html
    If the parents won’t control their children, and the police on the street are outmanned and outgunned — where do we go from here?

  9. Mr. Gordon —
    I fully agree with you — but what happens when the parents don’t care?
    Who will then care after the moral welfare of the ignored — the left alone — children who must fend for themselves in a world that is eager to eat and exploit them?

  10. Well you know what they say – if you can’t ‘feed’ em, don’t breed ’em – maybe we should have the properly raised children taught to look ought for the ones that are heading down the way to the herpes hpv express?

  11. Gordon!
    You’re right that we shouldn’t be having children unless we are prepared to give up our lives for them in every moment and instance.
    I’m not sure if it’s fair to make the good kids reform the bad, but the idea sure is interesting.

  12. I needed to take a break – so I did 🙂 I should have let you know what I was doing though.
    This whole thing is set against the general *sexualisation of children and teenagers* which we have discussed here before.
    Add that to absentee parents – who were probably teenage parents themselves – these poor youngsters do not stand a chance.
    The second problem we have is that they have no shame …….. everybody does it – you are the odd one out if you don’t.
    The third problem is the time delay factor – the damage often does not manifest itself until later and when it does it is internal and cannot be seen.
    I would suggest very much as the lung cancer and heart problems were dramatically addressed by showing diseased hearts and lungs – we may have to show diseased uteri – and or the affect of and deformity it causes to the fetus as a result.
    Infertility – is difficult to represent as a visual – but more and more unprotected teenage sex = infertility later.

  13. Nicola —
    I suspected you were on a break — that’s why I didn’t ping you to see if you were doing okay. I’m glad you’re back — even if it is fleeting and only for a little bit. 😀
    I wonder if the kids would care about graphic images only because, in their minds, STDs are more a game of roulette than one of permanent consequences.
    Drinking and Smoking can’t be “cured” in the body with medication while STDs can be addressed with chemical healing and there’s no promise you’ll get an STD every time the deed is done.
    My concern is they’ll only learn when they’re scarred inside or brain damaged. Then the lesson is held — when it’s too late to do anything about it.

  14. I think / hope I am back for good 🙂
    ( Don’t get rid of me that easily!)
    I suspect you are right about the “roulette factor” –
    and the “it can’t possibly happen to me” mindset.
    I guess it is going to take some high profile celebrities to fess up and admit they have the problem and say how they got it – before they even start paying attention.

  15. I re-discovered this post when researching an article I am writing. Well here is my follow-up answer, four and a half years later. When I wrote that there is a measure of closeness that is appropriate for a friendship of the good child / bad child variety, I meant that the good child would create a relationship that would enable him to be a good influence on the bad child without entering into the environments in which the bad child is able to do his nefarious deeds, so to speak. If they only ever spend time in educational settings / religious settings (if the bad child is of a religious background, that is), there can be only opportunities for positive influence. It would help as well if the good child only saw the bad child under adult supervision, so to speak — even the good child’s home, at the dinner table. I hope this makes more sense. (Only took 4.5 years to think of that!)