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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

STD Rant

Today's rant is on this article about HPV.

Please don't have a heart attack and die of not surprise at the statistic that nearly 50% of men may have it. If you are surprised, wake up and smell the STDs roaming through the atmosphere. Most of us have had to sit through the uncomfortable commercials talking about STDs and how one person has it, but the other doesn't. And thanks to some miracle drug, it's going to stay that way. Insert hearts, flowers, and romantic music. *gag*

The article suggests that maybe it's time we start vaccinating our boys against HPV. Because we don't want them to get an STD that's linked to cancer, right?

Here's a thought!!!

Maybe if the media stopped making having sex with random people attractive, then we wouldn't be spreading the disease. Seriously. What happened to the idea of abstinence?

Yeah, I know, I'm living in a dream world. Except that if you think about the billions of dollars we're spending to vaccinate against and cure sexually transmitted diseases, if we moved that money to preventing them, maybe we wouldn't have to debate about vaccinating our children. I hate that we live in a world where as a mother, I have to give serious thought to whether or not I'm going to vaccinate my children against STDs. Even if they choose not to be promiscuous, what if their husband was in the past? And okay, what if my kids make a mistake? Is it right that they might have to pay for that mistake with their lives? So I don't know... I still haven't decided if my kids are getting that vaccine or not.

But here's where I'm going with this, beyond my personal choice of how to vaccinate my kids, I'm concerned that as a world, we haven't thought beyond the natural consequences of idealizing sexual activity on television. The shows depict sex as a natural part of a relationship, no marriage needed. Characters who choose to remain virgins are mocked and inevitably have sex outside of marriage. Do they talk about getting STDs? Pregnancy, sometimes? But STDs? Protecting themselves? What life looks like after making that one bad choice and having to live with HIV, Herpes, or HPV.

Instead, we'd rather give our kids shots and pills to make the problem go away or ease the symptoms. Instead, we look at the startling statistic of half of men having a sexually transmitted disease and say, "huh, maybe we should think about giving them a vaccine." Instead, we keep upping the ante and showing greater sexual content on TV, making our kids think that this is what the real world is like. We're setting them up for the false expectation that sex outside of marriage is good, and that while these big statistics float out there, they're not going to face those consequences.

I'd respect Hollywood a lot more if in the middle of all their sex scenes, the guy stops and says, "wait a sec. Let me get a condom." Or, the woman stops him and says, "whoa buddy, not without a condom." Or, what if a character had to live with the real consequences of getting an STD? Yes, I'd prefer abstinence, and it would be awesome to see a storyline featuring characters who choose to abstain and actually follow through. But could we at least start showing the negative consequences of people's bad choices?

Having sex with random people has consequences. Sadly, even having sex with someone you think you know and trust can have those same consequences. But why are we trying to vaccinate against those consequences instead of having real conversation about what those consequences look like?


Danica Favorite said...

So I just had to comment... as soon as I posted this, I got ads for: A Herpes Dating site, two sites that promised to get rid of genital warts, and another dating site for people with STDs.

Scary stuff.

Go drink the kool-aid.

Jenny B. Jones said...

Amen and Amen! Totally agree, girl.
And by the way, "My STD rant" is the best tweet I've seen in ages. Scared me for you, but interesting all the same!

Danica Favorite said...

LOL Jen! Well, given that 50% of men have it, you never know!! Well, okay, I do know, and I don't, so that's that.

However, once my daughters start dating, I will require swabs from every male who crosses our threshold.

Denise Miller Holmes said...

Okay Danica. You know what you must do! You must write a book where the main character is suffering from the consequences of an immoral lifestyle. Oh my cow. Make them suffer. I'm serious. They always tell us not to be kind to our characters. Perhaps at the end there is a miracle cure, but all the way through the book, that STD causes more suffering to self, friends, and family, than anyone reading the story could have imagined. That's my thought, anyway. Have fun. :D

Niki said...

Amen soul sister! I've blogged about the HPV vaccine extensively and from this point of view. Glad to see your "rant" and proudly stand beside you on this issue! :)

Pearly Penile Papules said...

LOL, best rant ever. I couldn't agree more with you. I'm a male, and thought I had an STD, but it was just Pearly Penile Papules, thank God. Scared me into using protection though, thats for sure.