Good Medicine and Good Theology Point to Solution for Record STDs
October 11, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week released its annual report on sexually transmitted disease (STD) reports for 2018, showing that STDs rose for the fifth consecutive year, reaching an all-time high. In particular, men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by the syphilis and gonorrhea epidemics. Over half of the more serious syphilis cases in 2018 were among MSM, even though they represent a tiny fraction (perhaps 4%) of the U.S. population.
Every one of the 2.4 million people diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in 2018 is a victim of the sexual revolution. For decades, we have been told that people have a "right" to have sex, and to have it without consequences. But as FRC's David Closson reminded us on Thursday's Washington Watch radio program, "When you go outside of God's design and the boundaries that he's given us, there are going to be negative consequences." STDs are but one example.
Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians joined me on Washington Watch on Wednesday to give a medical perspective on the findings, and David, FRC's Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, joined me Thursday to give a biblical perspective.
Dr. Cretella said the statistics are not surprising, since "we live in such a sexually saturated culture." She noted the role of the media in using sex for advertising and entertainment, and the inevitability that sexual messages impact behavior. Closson noted that to counter those messages, both parents and the church have an obligation to educate young people about the biblical context for sexuality -- "a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman who are committed to one another."
As potential causes for the escalating infection rates, the CDC cites budget cuts and reduced clinical services. Dr. Cretella said it's unfortunate that the CDC has placed so much emphasis on what is known in public health as "secondary prevention" -- such as treating infections after they occur -- instead of "primary prevention." With smoking, drugs, and alcohol, we tell young people (who are the most vulnerable to the STD epidemic) to avoid the high-risk behaviors in the first place. Sadly, the government does not take the same approach to sex.
As Closson pointed out, "Sex outside of the boundaries that God has provided ... [is] actually going to be found wanting. At the end of the day, God's design is truly what's best for human flourishing."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.