Autor: ---- Fuente: Culture of Life Foundation and Institute

At a public health conference held last week in Washington DC, doctors cited evidence of an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among the nation's teenagers, and cited "safe-sex" programs and condom-distribution as contributing factors of the problem.

At the conference, researcher Dr. David Hager reported that within the US each year, chlamydia cases increase by 4 million, pelvic inflammatory disease by 1.2 million, gonorrheae by 2 million, genital herpes by 1 million and human papilloma virus (HPV) by 5.5 million. According to the American Social Health Association, 3.8 million of these and other STD cases are contracted by US teens-the highest contraction rate within the general US population. In fact, almost 45% of all teenagers and young adults are infected with at least one STD by their mid-twenties.

Many of these STDs cannot be cured, leading to long-term health problems including infertility and even cancer. 95% of all cases of cervical cancer are associated with HPV infection, resulting in 4000 deaths a year in the United States.

Yet teenagers continue to be the most targeted group for the safe-sex message, which advocates condom use to prevent the spread of STDs, including HIV. According to groups such as Planned Parenthood, "safer-sex practice allows couples to reduce their sexual health risks. Safer sex is anything we do to lower our risk of sexually transmitted infection."

Unfortunately, new statistics and studies have concluded that "while condom usage has increased most among teens, STDs have also increased most among teens." Project Reality, the advocacy group sponsoring the conference, points out that "the popular claim that 'condoms help prevent the spread of STDs,' is not supported by the data. If condoms were effective against STDs, the increase in condom usage would correlate to a decrease in STDs overall-which is not the case. Rather as condom usage increases, so do rates of STDs."

In addition to such statistics on STD cases, studies on sexual activity during adolescence also show increased percentages of depression, suicide, as well as an assortment of emotional problems including loss of self-respect, esteem, and trust among sexually active teens compared.

As Hager went on to point out, the only way to guarantee teens will not contract such diseases, or, prevent increases in these emotional and behavioral problems is to promote the delay of "sexual activity until they are in a mutually, monogamous relationship within marriage," not the safe-sex message. The most effective messages promoting the delay of sexual activity came from parents and moral beliefs, which "accounted for 53% of the influences affecting teen decisions about sex."

Hagar's presentation on teenage sexuality comes on the heels of similar statistics reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health, which show correlations between the increases in STD with increases in condom usage and promotion of the safe-sex message.
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