Even in the age of HIV/AIDS, studies show that several people still aren’t using protection. According to research by Ian Daly, a Details magazine writer who penned "The Death of Safe Sex", condom sales in the United States are getting lower, syphilis is making a comeback, shooting up by 43% between 1994 and 2004, chlamydia cases have doubled in that same time span and since 2001 new cases of HIV have been spiking.
Daly interviewed several professional men (mainly physicians and lawyers), some of whom were married, for the article and his findings were astonishing:
“The only disease I ever got was crabs,” says Mike, 35, scanning the banquettes of women in too-short-for-Casual-Friday dresses, “and that was worth it!” This delights his friends, Evan, 37, and Alan, 43. Handily one-upping his pal, Alan recalls a wild night in a Miami swimming pool. “She ended up giving me Chlamydia,” he says. “And the sick thing is, two or three weeks later I saw her at a party and told her what happened—but she looked even better! So, dude, I took her home, and I got it again!” They all burst out laughing.
These men are a microcosm of what seems to be changing attitudes toward safe sex among the masses. According to doctors interviewed for the article, more people are starting to view STD’s as nuisances that can mostly be cured and in the cases of HIV, herpes and HPV, they’re seen more as chronic conditions like diabetes, which can be managed. People are also still believing that STDs, especially HIV are more of a homosexual male problem and that because they don’t know anyone infected with the more serious diseases, that they will be fine.
“It keeps us in business. It’s across the board, heterosexual and homosexual. I’m talking about a tremendous rise in Human Papilloma Virus [the cause of genital warts] and Chlamydia in the heterosexual population,” says Dr. Steven Berman, a Manhattan urologist who’s been in practice for 20 years. “People don’t want to be bothered. There’s a tremendous number of people with multiple partners now who might use a condom on the first contact but then frequently drop using condoms quickly afterwards. Even populations who are at risk—patients I’ve treated before for STDs—some men are resistant to using condoms. It’s not sinking in—the message is just not clear.”
Another contributing factor for people’s ignorance discussed in the Details article is that abstinence education has way a substantial amount of resources from sexual education programs that have been proven to work better. The federal government spends twice as much on abstinence programs as it does on the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC—the department that managed to quell outbreaks of gonorrhea and syphilis among soldiers after the Second World War. According to doctors, by displacing those funds you put people more at risk.
The bottom line is, fellas: It’s not just women like Kat Stacks you need to look out. Ladies: Although the Details piece focuses on men, it’s also a woman’s responsibility to make sure her partner wraps it up because unplanned pregnancy isn’t cute either.
Do you agree that people are taking STD’s less seriously these days? Why aren’t people wrapping it up? —Starrene Rhett (@GangStarrGirl)