California, the “How Not To” state, is having a bit of a problem when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.
And why wouldn’t they? It wasn’t long ago that they told the world that you could purposefully transmit HIV to an unsuspecting person and not be a felony. It wasn’t long ago that getting the virus was more or less a death sentence, but while it has become much more manageable now, it’s still not curable.
That said, if you can transmit something as incurable as HIV to someone with little consequence, then what’s to stop you from throwing around something like chlamydia or gonorrhea?
So naturally, the STD rates are going up, but instead of blaming the system of laws they established that opened the door for it, California officials are blaming — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — racism.
According to the LA Times, that STD’s are spreading is due to the lack of education experienced in minority neighborhoods, according to Director of LA’s Center for Health Equity, Heather Jue Northover:
Northover said that officials need to evaluate what’s called structural or systemic racism, the way housing or education policies may negatively impact people and their health. Studies have found, for example, that people with HIV who had low levels of literacy were less likely to follow their treatment, and that poorer Americans were more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, increasing their risk of STDs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a white paper in 2010 saying the country could not close disparities in STD rates without addressing “the interpersonal, network, community, and societal influences of disease transmission and health.”
While I can agree that lack of education is the basis for a lot of bad decisions, reading this LA Times article points me to a much greater problem. The article begins by talking about California schools teaching their students about safe sex, but completely ruling out the idea of not having it.
In fact, they put on a program called “Spring Into Love,” which has students look at the avoidance of sex as a “stigma,” and not the avoidance of a disease altogether as “a really good idea.”:
The recent all-day event, called Spring Into Love, was intended to get high schoolers more comfortable talking about sex. The hope is that an open dialogue will make them more likely to seek out condoms and STD testing, and eventually reduce the spread of disease.
The focus on stigma is just one of many ways Los Angeles County health officials are trying to think outside the box as they struggle to curb rising STD rates. It’s clear that the traditional ways of preventing disease — patients seeing a doctor regularly to get screened and treated — have not been working, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, L.A. County’s interim health officer.
Common sense would dictate that much of the problem California is having in regards to STD’s is stemming from its complete ruling out of the idea that you can just not have sex. Instead, they’re actively pushing their youth to have sex, and calling the lack of it due to the dangers that come with it a “stigma.”
Sex is not 100 percent safe, no matter how safe you are. Many things can happen that could lead to you getting a disease of some kind in the act. If you truly want to bring down the STD problem, the best method is to practice denying your baser instincts.
But California will continue to see its STD rate spiral out of control because its officials can’t seem to understand that every effect has a cause, and they’re that very cause. You can’t tell people that it’s no big deal to sexually transmit potentially fatal diseases without the other party’s knowledge, and expect good things. You can’t teach kids that avoidance of sex is a “stigma,” and paint abstinence with a bad brush. You especially can’t just say the problem stems from racism, and call it a day.
STDs are a problem in California because common sense is a problem in California.