Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More News Reports From the 1950s

More News Reports From the 1950s

This is very odd. The dateline says that this is a Reuters report of November 16, 2009, but the opening sentence doesn't describe the United States anytime in the last 30 years or so:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American squeamishness about talking about sex has helped keep common sexually transmitted infections far too common, especially among vulnerable teens, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

Latest statistics on chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis show the three highly treatable infections continue to spread in the United States.

"Chlamydia and gonorrhea are stable at unacceptably high levels and syphilis is resurgent after almost being eliminated," said John Douglas, director of the division of sexually transmitted diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We have among the highest rates of STDs of any developed country in the world," Douglas added in a telephone interview.

"American squeamishness about talking about sex"? This must have fallen through a wormhole from the 1950s or 1960s. Maybe, maybe, in some parts of America, the 1970s. If there is anything that Americans are squeamish about, it is talking about sex--and more importantly, having sex. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having these problems. We live in a society about as open and insistent about talking about sex as any society in history. Even Roman society could not have been much more willing to talk about sex than ours is.

Oh yes: the distribution isn't particularly normal:

* Blacks, who represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, accounted for about 71 percent of reported gonorrhea cases and almost half of all chlamydia and syphilis cases in 2008.

* Black women 15 to 19 had the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Yes, that's right, rap music never talks about sex, because of "squeamishness": hence the extraordinary rates of STDs.


* 63 percent of syphilis cases were among men who have sex with men.


"If you are a man who has sex with men you ought to be getting a battery of STD tests every year," Douglas added.

So 63% of syphilis cases are in a group that constitutes no more than 2% of the U.S. population? Is it because gay men are especially "squeamish" about talking about sex?

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