Last week, the 2019 CDC Report entitled National Overview - Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2019 was brought to my attention. (yes, your government dollars at work for a better tomorrow). A summary of the findings:
- In 2019, Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) 1,808.703 cases were reported, a 2.8% increase over 2018. From 2015-2019, rates increased in men 32.1%. In 2019, 2/3's of all cases were in the population aged 15-24.
- In 2019, 616,392 cases of Gonorrhea (an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhaea) were reported. This represents a 92.0% increase since 2009 (emphasis mine). From 2015-2019, rates increased 60.6% among men and 43.6%. among women.
- Additionally, 50% of all the reported cases of Gonorrhea were resistant to at least 1 type of antibiotic.
- In 2019, 129,813 cases of Syphilis (an infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum) were reported, an 11.2% increase over 2018. Since (apparently) historic lows in 2000 and 2001, the infection rate has steadily increased every year - there was a 30.3% increase in women. From 2015 - 2019, rates increase 178.1% among women; the male rates remained "Stable".
Per the CDC webpage entitled AMD: Battling HIV and STDs, (last updated April 2019), the CDC notes approximately 20 million STD infections occur in the US each year and more than 110 million people are infected by a new or existing STD at any given time in the US. The U.S. population in 2019 was estimated to be 328,239,533 - thus one out of every three of your fellow citizens in 2019 probably had an STD by these numbers.
(Interesting factoid: Direct cost of treating STDs as presented by this website is $16 Billion)
Why all of this matters, and why we are done.
1) We have no ability to defer gratification: A population where one in three people is suffering a disease which is exclusively transmitted by sex (with the sole exception of congenital syphilis, where the mother passes the infection to the baby during pregnancy or birth) is a population which is letting their desires run their lives. And a population that lets their desires run there lives in one area is seldom able to contain that in one area. And the inability to defer gratification is the mark of children and failing societies, not ones that are growing and advancing (because for any kind of advancement, delay of gratification has to occur).
2) Non-Christian Religions and Moral Codes have failed (for my non-Christian Readers): In one of the most surprising things to me in this report, both Gonorrhea and Syphilis at one point in the last 20 years were at historic lows. Yet somehow with 20 years or less, those rates increased dramatically. We have dwelt for the last twenty years in a society that has celebrated self and gratification on every level. Apparently whatever codes were held by them - Professed Paganism, Buddhism, Islam, Stoicism, Atheism, or your choice - did not hold.
3) The Church has failed (for my Christian Readers): In one of the most surprising things to me in this report, both Gonorrhea and Syphilis at one point in the last 20 years were at historic lows. Yet somehow with 20 years or less, those rates increased dramatically. We have dwelt for the last twenty years in a society that has celebrated self and gratification on every level.
During the 2000-present, we have been constantly told that the Christian church is expanding in ways it never could have as old practices were torn down and barriers removed - including, apparently, that bit in the Bible about not committing adultery or really any kind of sex outside of marriage. Yes yes, I know, we are not expect the culture to act like a Christian. But apparently, we somehow failed to transmit any of that message to anyone else or perhaps failed to even convince ourselves of it either.
Can anyone really cogently believe that a society that can has the ability to dedicate itself to the pursuit of pleasure in this fashion and the resulting outcomes in terms of disease, treatment, and cost (That $16 Billion trivia number above) is going to be in a position to do great things, or really anything?
Do not confuse me with calling for some kind of grand Christian crusade here (of course I would like you all to believe, but that is a separate issue). I am just asking for the simple practice of treating disease like a disease. If something is really destructive - and STDs really are - and really widespread - 110,000,000 people - is too much to ask that people starting using a little self restraint and concern for others (because infection, as you know, is a two way street).
To be frank and being a watcher of recent societal trends, I am not hopeful.
(Do me a favor: It is a relatively touchy subject and could go lots of directions, most of which I try not to get into here. If you could confine your comments to my three suggested points of failure and my ask, that would be appreciated. Thank you).