Are we response-able?
I just read an article in the journal "Pediatrics" that documented the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (Chlamydia, Herpes, Gonorrhea, HPV, Trichimonas) in young women between the ages of 14 and 19. The study was a little small (about 600 girls studied), but its results are consistent with other epidemiologic information over the past 2 years.
The study showed that 1 in 4 sexually active young women have a sexually transmitted infection. The study also showed that when looking at sexually active African-American young women, the rate of infection rises to nearly 44%. This study did not look at the lifetime incidence of infections, but only took a snapshot to ask "how many have current infections". The largest percentage of the infections was due to HPV. This study did not even include HIV or the surprisingly resilient Syphillis.
Interestingly, of the young women who have had a single partner in life, the percentage was still nearly 20%. Of the people with a sexually transmitted infection, 26% experienced the infection during the first year of sexual initiation.
As President Obama states: "Some statistics are unbelieveable, some are unimagineable, but some are just unacceptable". I believe that this epidemic is unacceptable. Many of these infections have long term and life altering, but we fail to treat this epidemic with the urgency that it needs.
One of the unspoken taboos in the healthcare field is the promotion of abstinence. It is considered naive and projorative. However, I relate early sexual activity with driving a car when you are 12. You have all the mechanics necessary to drive, but you lack the judgement and wisdom to handle the responsibility. The nation has wisely decided that 12 yr olds can not safely drive because it hurts themselves and others. Yet, we encourge sexual activity through "safe sex" education, instead of encouraging delayed onset. It is similar to offering "safe driving" for 12 yr olds. It just doesn't work.
My challenge is to make this personal:
1. Advocate for healthy sexuality that waits, and focuses on the wholeness found in a God centered life.
2. Advocate for the HPV immunization of both males and females.
3. Speak against promiscuity and the marketing strategies that encourage irresponsibility. Celebrate sexual wholeness and responsibility in life and ministry.
I challenge you to influence and impact our community to make a difference!
Pastor M Traylor