Skip to comments.Wild Oats, Now and Later
Posted on 02/03/2005 6:02:48 AM PST by Tax-chick
Wild oats, now and later John R. Diggs, Jr., MD
Every college student in America has heard multiple lectures on safe sex. But before rolling your eyes and mumbling, Here comes another one, let me say at the outset: This is not your grandmothers sex lecture.
My credentials: I am an Internal Medicine physician, BA from Haverford College and MD from the University of Buffalo. My current work involves lecturing on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) nationally and internationally. And I am nobodys grandma.
Students reading this article have to pay the bill for the cavalier ways of the sexual revolution. At some colleges the rate of HPV infection stands at 20%, or 1 in 5 young women. Two decades of condom and safe sex promotion has resulted in more than 65 million Americans over age 12 having an incurable STD, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
I shall limit my remarks to HPV since it is (1) the most prevalent STD, (2) very high numbers of students are infected, and (3) it can lead to cervical cancer in women. But it must be emphasized here that nearly all cervical cancer is caused by HPV. Moreover, in the USA, more women die from cervical cancer than die from AIDS!
Women frequently suffer along the lines of the following two scenarios. A young woman acquires HPV and develops cervical changes discovered on a Pap smear. As the cells mutate towards cancer, her gynecologist may recommend cervical freezing (cryosurgery) or worse, surgery to remove a large portion of the cervix. Later, this leads to difficulty conceiving and then, more difficulty keeping a pregnancy. If this treatment fails, and invasive cancer develops, she may need a hysterectomy or chemotherapy.
A more common scenario is that she doesnt know she has been infected with HPV until an abnormal Pap smear arises 5-20 years later. The Student Health Center nurse retired, the boyfriends have faded. Then, the same medical offerings may await her. The fortunate ones get only genital warts.
In both cases, unless she has had sex with only one man, it is impossible to pinpoint by whom she was infected. Was it the first, second, or third steady boyfriend or was it one of many hook-ups?
The most dangerous misinformation surrounding HPV today is the myth that prophylactics will protect women. "Condoms, condoms, condoms," cry university health staffs. Incredibly, condoms are offered up like sacrifices to the pleasure god to ward off ugly HPV. However, scientifically, condoms have been shown to be ineffective in significantly reducing HPV transmission. Lacking an alternative, public health officers are loath to admit this. They are left to sigh, shrug, and slide condoms across the desk. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say:
For HPV, the Panel concluded that there was no epidemiologic evidence that condom use reduced the risk of HPV infection, but study results did suggest that condom use might afford some protection in reducing the risk of HPV-associated diseases, including warts in men and cervical neoplasia [cancer or precancer] in women.
Notice that the NIH says condoms might afford some protection and not do provide protection. The research on condoms fails to show significant protection. If the worlds biggest medical research organization cannot say they work, should you really rely on condoms to protect you from genital warts and cervical cancer?
HPV is still contagious whether warts are visible or not. Only about 2% of infected persons have visible genital warts; 98% of infected persons have no symptoms.
Pap smears diagnose women with HPV. How many men do you know that get Pap smears? There is no commercially available test to diagnose men with HPV (outside of having visible warts). This puts men in the pitiful position of being ignorant that they are a vector for the Big C, cancer. Men, how will you react when you future wife has an abnormal Pap smear because of her college behavior?
HPV, like many STDs, infects both sexes, but women bear a higher burden; dont bother filing a discrimination complaint -- HPV is not an equal opportunity offender.
Because there is no cure for HPV, men cannot be tested, most infected people have no symptoms, and condoms do not stop transmission -- students need to make other choices. Maybe youve read of students who have had sex only one time and yet contracted HPV. Sadly, they have paid the price of a culture that endorses multiple partners -- including "serial monogamy" -- which truly are the greatest risk factor for STDs. Before you resort to the latest faddish alternative, know that HPV and many other STDs can also be spread by sexual non-intercourse practices, too.
If you want to avoid HPV, as old-fashioned as it sounds, the only truly effective strategy is to avoid sexual activity until you have found Neo, the one, and pledge "til death do we part."
Dr. Diggs an Internist who lives in South Hadley, MA. He is co-chair of the Massachusetts Physicians Resource Council, and medical advisor to the Family Research Council.
Related thread on college sexual behavior:
Old fashioned != wrong.
Many ideas are old fashioned because they have stood the test of time and are still right.
Scary, I didn't know that condoms were ineffective in preventing HPV. Pap smears diagnose cervical cancer which is very, very nasty even as cancers go... 99.7% of cervical cancer is from HPV. So HPV cannot be tested at all?
The most dangerous misinformation surrounding HPV today is the myth that prophylactics will protect women. "Condoms, condoms, condoms," cry university health staffs. Incredibly, condoms are offered up like sacrifices to the pleasure god to ward off ugly HPV. However, scientifically, condoms have been shown to be ineffective in significantly reducing HPV transmission
There is another piece of highly dangerous misinformation about HPV and cervical cancer, and some of it comes from the NIH, along with many other health and medial professional organizations.....that smoking causes cervical cancer. This false claim is touted around even more than the condom thing, even though there is absolutely no medical or scientific proof it is even remotely true.
If you want to avoid HPV, as old-fashioned as it sounds, the only truly effective strategy is to avoid sexual activity until you have found Neo, the one, and pledge "til death do we part."
I couldn't agree with the good doctor more.
Teach them the dangers of wanton sexual activities, and of smoking, by all means...............but don't lie about it.
So the good doctor tels women to wait for "the one." Well, what if "the one" has HPV? His advice does nothing to prevent a woman from getting HPV. If fact the only thing that will guarantee that a woman not get HPC is lifetime celibacy.
What rot. You can find 'the one' and the one can have a STD.
Good point. Maybe there's contact information at the source on Townhall ... you could e-mail the gentleman and tell him about his logical lapse.
It looks from the article as if there's no direct test for HPV. If warts appear, then a diagnosis can be made for men or women. And if a woman has an abnormal Pap smear, then that's an indication of HPV infection.
Viral infections in general can be very hard to diagnose or test for.
After two more cups of coffee, I will write a letter hehehe. He's being very unrealistic about waiting to get married.
The contemplation of early death will do much to adjust "reality".
Waiting till marriage will NOT guarantee someone disease free unless both parents are virgins. How many men are virgins today well into their twenties and thirties?
High STD rates are a symptom of too much turnover in partners. Condoms are one thing, but you really have to discourage people from having sex with everything that moves.
I meant to say 'partners' and no death has not stopped people from having sex. Hasn't this become to apparent to you watching how AIDS is spreading? Sex instinct is probably more powerful than death.
It's a numbers game - and the statistics will only turn around if large groups of people become educated EARLY - and act appropriately based on that info.
It used to be that guys didn't worry about pregnancy - they could always deny the baby was his.
Then came along paternity tests and DNA tests.
Laws have been passed accordingly prohibiting men from passing on this responsiblity.
So now men do, indeed, need to worry about pregnancy.
So here we have an interesting situation.
While the concept of free and open sex is being sold to the young by MTV, and our pop culture - it turns out this message could wind up killing many American women.
So now young American women need to worry about this free sex business.
They need to tell kids in health classes that "free" sex is not free and is deadly.
They are going to have to figure out a way to test the men.
Women are going to have to "screen" men before they sleep with them.
Blood tests and STD tests should be reintroduced to the process of marriage licensing.
Please do write him ... what you say is absolutely correct, and it's an important point to bring out.
I was watching MTV the other night and turned it off. One girl is running after three boys on the beach in Fiji looking for a hook up. The other half is two men having sex in a shower. As such I've given up on the major media doing anything. We women do bear the brunt of these things from pregnancy and all that goes with it, to STDs like HPV and gonorrhea another disease that is symptomless. You're right. People will have to start figuring out ways to test people,etc.
That seems to be what the author is trying to do!
However, if "the one" has also waited, the risk should be greatly reduced, I would think.
Another reason for abstinence ping.
If people can control themselves from doing it in public whenever the urge overtakes them, they can also do it in private. We're not animals rutting in the barnyard, unable to control our instincts. This reckless behavior is bad for everyone.
It is perfectly realistic to expect people to wait until marriage. We did so in the many centuries leading up to the late 60's after all, and it worked great. Finding virgins to date has never been a problem for me, so I don't see why it would be a problem for others.
The best ones and the only ones really worth having. Of course my standards for my daughter are so high that I couldn't meet them when I was that age. But I didn't have the advantage of knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior back then. The young men whom my daughter will associate with will all be saved. (or bleeding to death on my front steps)
[ok so maybe I'm just slightly overportective]
I have a work acquaintance who is in his late fifties, a devote Catholic, and married with children and grandchildren. He has unprotected sexual liaisons with multiple younger women from work. I asked him if he had heard of AIDS. His answer shocked me. He said, AIDS takes at least ten years to develop and I will be ready to die by then. I said, What about the women? He said, They will be gone by then.
The younger women see him leaving his wife and family to marry them and take care of them comfortably for the rest of their lives. Without his money and status, these younger women would not give him a second glance.
He tells me that he doesnt care for his wife of thirty-five years who is an ex-nun. He says he will never divorce her because they are Catholic and it is not possible. He thinks he has a lock on going to heaven because of his religion.
You are wrong. At no time in any culture have men ever been held up to the same standards of purity that women have. WOMEN were expected to be virgins till they were married. You must be a man to say what you are saying.
That's exactly what I'm talking about when I say getting married offers no protection against STDs for a young woman UNLESS both partners are faithful.
A man can be a christian and not be a virgin. He could be celibate and still give a girl HPV. That's why it's unrealistic to say get married and you won't ever have to worry about disease.
Sounds like he's simply a sicko, not to mention being totally ignorant of what he *claims* is his religion.
He could be celibate and still give a girl HPV.
Not if he's celibate until he gets married and remainsd faithful after that. CAn't catch an STD if you're not having sex
That's why it's unrealistic to say get married and you won't ever have to worry about disease.
It's very realistic if you insist on staying a chaste virgin until the wedding night and demand the same from your future spouse.
Wrong. In America since its founding, in ancient Israel, the early Christian church as well as in Europe under the Roman Catholic Church men were always expected to wait until they were married. I'd really like to see any evidence you can present to the contrary though.
Unfortunately, even well-intentioned men who were chaste until marriage aren't always faithful afterward, and no amount of "demanding" will eliminate the possibility of adultery.
Of course, many people are faithful, and are never exposed to STD's. But the only way to be *sure* you're not exposed is to be celibate for life ... and even then, there are still some freak non-sexual transmissions of HIV and Hepatitis-C.
Not if you are her 'the one' too.
People are not animals, no matter how many of them choose to behave that way.
Of course, the flip side is that you don't have to wait until you are forty years old to get married.
We do it today because we are so immature that the responsibility of marriage is not something we are prepared to handle until half our lives are gone. Yet we think we can cheat God by screwing around. HPV is just a reminder that God is not mocked.
You can't have it both ways. If your reality is promiscuity, then your reality include the strong possibility of an early death.
I am referring to society in general, NOT to the christian church.
Very unrealistic view of people... not everyone is a christian since the day they are born.
Christianity was a major social force from about 600 - 1950. Obviously the big societies before that, as well as the development of society afterward have certainly moved away from the idea of male chastity (and female, now).
Personally I couldn't care less if non-Christians want to have sex outside of marriage. It's the usurpation of parental authority to teach Christian morals to their children and the undermining of that authority that is irresponsible. Sexual education is not a matter for the government.
The doctor ia not discussing a "guarantee". He is discussing probability. You changed it to a guarantee and are now wrestling with an opponent you created.
So you must be making some other argument. Indeed, the only possible point you might be making is that there are SOME people who will have sex in spite of the fear of death. Uh, ok.
Nobody on the thread has disputed that at all. I don't think you know what the subject of the article actually is.
I know VERY well what the subject is, being a single female. Are you married? If you are, that's peachy keen. If you don't believe that the sex drive is as strong as death itself then you're fooling yourself. Have a nice day.
That is point of the article.
The only way to be certain you will not die in a car crash today is to stay out of cars. And you can't do that; it's not "realistic". You might reason, therefore, that you should drive at 100 miles an hour while drunk, since there is no guarantee available. Or, another approach might be to slow down and buckle your seat belt and decrease the probability of dying.
Why simple logic gets all bolloxed up is beyond me.
Those who are not this way are few and rapidly dying off.
And you are just not thinking clearly.
Or because of his college behavior.
I see one after another "totally unrealistic" comment here. I am reminded of an article I read in a local health magazine. The physician-author was commenting on various serious and even incurable STDs he sees frequently among younger women, and he added in a very offhand way, "Of course, when I was younger, we would never have seen anything like this because sexual behavior was so different then." If it was terribly different within the lifetime of one human being, sexual behavior is obviously not programmed into us. Patterns that are learned can (and in this case, should) be UNlearned.
You will notice that illegitimacy in the Islamic countries is almost miniscule because those cultures are very unforgiving when it comes to fornication or adultery - to the point where people get banished from the family, whipped, or executed.
Apparently, the fear of death or physical punishment DOES overcome the libido in the vast majority of people who live there.
No, we didn't. We just decided to explore a slightly different topic.
I think you are correct.
Editorial Reviews, Amazon.com
The closer a secret is kept, the more powerful the impact once it is finally revealed. Such is the case with author and activist J.L. King's intriguing look at the lives and lifestyles of black men who sleep with other men but do not consider themselves to be gay. These men live "on the down low," the "DL" for short, and their sexual activities have gained significant notice as the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in black women has skyrocketed, with the vast majority of cases coming from heterosexual sex. King is a veteran of the DL himself and his book serves partly as a social and psychological survey of the other men he has surveyed and partly as highly candid memoir. King was well regarded in his community, popular at his church, successful in his career, and married to a woman who had no idea that his secret life existed. But when she caught him in a lie and with another man, the marriage collapsed and King's long and painful path to self-awareness began.
King cites the negative image many socially conservative black men have of homosexuality as an obstacle to those men being honest with their partners and themselves about who they are. Among the more intriguing elements of On the Down Low are the peculiar approaches men on the DL have to the sexual act, seeking a strictly physical sexual relationship with their secret male partners while remaining in more traditional arrangements with women. Whether this discrepancy is a product of scrupulously guarded secrecy and shame or the natural preference of an understudied sexual identity is one of the numerous questions raised by this book.
Though the infection statistics make the DL a huge public health issue, King is neither a sociologist nor a medical professional. And while a more clinical look at this issue would be welcome, King accomplished what he set out to do: provide light and insight into a world that so many have worked so hard to keep in the shadows. --John Moe
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