Some good news about sex

Most of the stories I blog about here regarding sex (and sexually-transmitted infections) have bad news to offer. People are still poorly educated about STDs, or worse, actively misinform to try to scare people away from sex. Admittedly, good news about sexual issues are few and far between, but there actually have been a few positive stories in the news recently:

In the first article, the good news is that rates of sexual activity in teenagers have decreased a bit since 1991:

Some 46.8 percent of students said they engaged in sexual intercourse in a 2005 survey, down from 54.1 percent in 1991, according to the report.

Some 14.3 percent of students in 2005 said they have had multiple partners, defined as sex with four different people during one’s lifetime. That figure is down from 18.7 percent in 1991.

And, for those who were having sex, condom use was up:

At the same time, the number of students who say they used a condom the last time they had intercourse rose to 62.8 percent in 2005 from 46.2 percent in 1991, the survey said.

Still, not to be a wet blanket, but there’s still a way to go. A story out just a few weeks prior noted that teens still aren’t using condoms regularly:

Over half, or 53 percent, of teen boys, say they don’t always use a condom. Among girls, about two-thirds say a condom isn’t always used.

And, while about 1in 4 sexually active teenagers still contracts a sexually-transmitted infection each year, there’s even some good news on that front: herpes cases have declined.

The new study shows a 19 percent drop since 1994 in the percentage of Americans ages 14 to 49 testing positive for herpes type 2, the most common cause of the recurring painful sores of genital herpes. The declines were especially pronounced among young people.

And again, while this is encouraging, there’s no cause for celebration yet:

But herpes is still uncomfortably common. Despite the decline, blood tests of more than 11,000 people found 11 percent of men and 23 percent of women carry the genital herpes, or type 2, virus. Among people in their 20s, the infection rate was almost 11 percent.

Additionally, significant declines haven’t been seen in all groups:

Dr. Kenneth Fife of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, noted that rates of infection are still disproportionately high among women and blacks. The study found 42 percent of blacks tested positive for herpes type 2, a decline of only 4 percent since 1994.

Still, any good news is welcome when it comes to STDs; these types of stories are, unfortunately, all too rare.

4 Replies to “Some good news about sex”

  1. Argh…

    Over half, or 53 percent, of teen boys, say they don’t always use a condom. Among girls, about two-thirds say a condom isn’t always used.

    I still just can’t fathom this for a young girl. What are we doing wrong such that young girls still have unprotected sex? If STDs aren’t bad enough, let’s think about pregnancy.

    2nd amendment advocates and those who support concealed carry laws argue they carry a gun ‘just in case’. Maybe a campaign should start about carrying a condom ‘just in case’. Parents don’t want to beleive their children have sex, but 50% do and if more than 1/2 aren’t using a condom, we have a serious problem.

    Maybe we need to turn it over even further, a campaign that says you’re hurting others if you’re not using a condom. YOU are spreading that STD, YOU are causing pregnancy. Maybe you don’t have an STD, but when you get one, you’re very likely to give it to at least one other person in your life if not more, most likely your significant other. Even using oral contraceptives is not enough, as there is no STD prevention. Any sex with a non-monogomous parter should be with a condom. Even then, test early test often. Doing anything else but is dangerous to yourself and others and makes you a named conspirator.

  2. I still just can’t fathom this for a young girl… Even then, test early test often. Doing anything else but is dangerous to yourself and others and makes you a named conspirator.

    Yes, Chris, but you are talking science and sense! Is this horrific situation totally unexpected in a nation where the powers-that-be are guided by hidebound, religion-restricted, abstinence-preaching, fundamentalist sentiments – shared equally by a majority of its citizens who elected them? Is this not an expected fallout of rank ignorance, that comes from a careful and concerted effort not to disseminate proper education to the citizens, particularly the young people, so that they may be indoctrinated early and steeped in religious belief and diktats beyond the reach of sense and sanity? If this sounds like some recidivist country in the middle-East, you are wrong, my friend. It is happening right here, right now, in the home of the brave and land of the free. Education is the key, but even the educators have to be educated!!

  3. Well in this house, abstinence is preached.

    1. since preaching doesn’t always lead to following,
    2. and because I’m a nurse, and
    3. because I, too, was once a teenager (!) we have all the facts about STDs and condoms, etc.

    My two girls know that my main concern is their safety, and that while I hope they make what I think is the right decision, I want them to have the means to protect themselves if they make a different choice.

  4. If only more parents were like Kim! I cannot fathom people who have their heads in the sand vis a vis abstinence.

    Abstinence has been preached since the beginning of recorded history (either blatantly or inferentially) and it has never in all that time had the desired effect, which is to keep sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Why does anyone think it should be different in this day and age???

    If abstinence-only sex ed is the answer, then why don’t we also ban all crime-related novels/movies/tv shows/news items and do away with law enforcement to lower the crime-rate?

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