1 in 4. According to a recent study published by the CDC, women between the ages of 15 - 24, (a curious aside, 45% of the women surveyed were black, a disproportionately large percentage given the current ethnic composition of the US) have a 1 in 4 chance of testing positive for an STD.
Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council had the following to say in his March 12th Washington Update: "Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National STD Prevention conference presented research showing that 1 in 4 teen girls (or 3.2 million) have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In addition, findings from two studies presented demonstrate that of the 15-to-24-year-old women receiving contraceptives, over half are not receiving appropriate counseling, screening, and treatment for STIs. Taken together, these findings represent a simmering STD epidemic among our young people and a tremendous negligence in care for girls most at risk for contracting STDs."
How can this be? We've been teaching a no-holds-barred approach to all things prophylactic, inundating our school-aged children with information on "safe sex," making sure that our girls understand that the Pill "does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases..."
But the important thing is that we're not restricting any one's pursuit of pleasure and that no body's beliefs are being forced on anyone else. After all, what 16 year old girl wants to be told by a rigid, sexually repressed authority figure with possible motives involving religion and/or morality that chlamydia is uncomfortable and that the oxytocin released during orgasm is going to bond her to her current boyfriend at a level she may not appreciate 2 or 3 months down the road? Better to let her find these things out on her own, to have the experience for herself.
Because come graduation night, she's going to enjoy sitting in a group with 7 of her closest girlfriends and discussing the increased risk of cervical cancer that 2 of them face, having tested positive for HPV. If only they had gotten the Gardasil shot! But wait, another girl in the group did get the shot, and between that and the Pill she pops every morning, (well, almost every morning) she feels pretty safe. Safe enough to continue sleeping with her boyfriend of 6 months, despite the recurrent "episodes" of physical and emotional abuse he occasionally treats her to. But she feels so close to him, and besides, he really loves her.
I could go on, theorizing about the post-abortive trauma another young woman in their group is struggling mightily to overcome, masking her feelings of loss and grief with an increasing preoccupation with food. Or the incestuous sexual indiscretion in the family of another girl, whose stepfather doesn't need to worry about ever being discovered since she's been on Pill "for medical reasons" since age 12...
Obviously the accounts fabricated above are fictional, but let me assure you that they are historical fiction, based on actual events and individuals I have encountered. These girls are real, their stories are horrifying, and we have failed them in every possible way, turning our heads in feigned ignorance of their plight, so intent are we upon championing and expanding the cherished "reproductive rights" our society holds so dear.
But we're Americans. We're used to our highschoolers under performing a bit in the academic arena. And after all, a 75% is still a C.