People are always asking why we continue to do what we do. Especially since our society seems to be so convinced sex is no big deal. There are no boundaries, no rules, no rights and wrongs, and it's perfectly okay to get involved in sex . . . whenever you're ready. Well, here's one of the many reasons why Aim For Success does not promote this dangerous, possibly life-altering lifestyle.
There was a brief historical window of time when sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were thought to be a thing of the past. In the 50s and 60s, there were only two common STDs - Syphilis and Gonorrhea. But with penicillin readily available, these once deadly diseases were no longer considered a serious public health issue . . . and life was good. That is until science caught up with reality and it became obvious the phenomenon of the 50s and 60s was merely an illusion. Since that time, researchers discovered Syphilis and Gonorrhea were only two small pieces in an enormous escalating Hidden STD Epidemic. The following reveals a small snapshot of 45 years of discoveries.
There are more than 2.5 million cases of STDs throughout the U.S.
Researchers suspect a possible link between cervical cancer and either Genital Herpes or the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). If either is true, cervical cancer may be caused in part by an STD.
Five men in California are diagnosed with a rare infection which will be known as the start of the AIDS Epidemic. Eight years later 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.
HPV type 16 and 18 are linked to cervical cancer and some researchers are questioning a possible connection between HPV and oral cancer. Efforts to develop an HPV vaccine begin.
Two percent of Gonorrhea cases are resistant to antibiotics. (In his 1945 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Alexander Fleming warned overuse of penicillin might lead to bacterial resistance.)
AIDS is the leading cause of death for all Americans 25 to 44.
HPV is recognized as the cause of virtually all (99.7 percent) cervical cancer. HPV-16 is the most common cause followed by HPV-18. An estimated 20 million people are currently infected with HPV in the U.S. with 5.5 million people becoming infected each year. However, researchers have determined most HPV infections disappear within 2 years without causing any problems.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is estimated to impact more than one million women each year causing an increased risk for chronic pelvic pain, infertility and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are now recognized as important, preventable causes of PID and infertility.
Genital Herpes is spreading dramatically - especially among 15 to 24-year-olds.
Syphilis is at an all-time low and researchers are hopeful the end of this disease is near.
Gonorrhea dropped 74 percent since 1975, but is beginning to rise. Thirty percent of Gonorrhea cases are now thought to be resistant to antibiotics.
According to the CDC, more than 65 million Americans are now living with an incurable STD while 15 million people become infected with one or more STDs each year. About one-fourth of those infected are teenagers.
There are about 40,000 new cases of HIV annually in the U.S.
The FDA approves the first HPV vaccine for girls that can prevent about 70 percent of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts if given before she is infected with HPV.
Oral cancer has always been linked to men in their 50s and 60s who were heavy consumers of tobacco and alcohol. Researchers now identify HPV-16 as another major cause of oral cancer. This means the same HPV type that causes nearly all cervical cancer in women is now causing cancer in the mouths and throats of men and women.
The CDC estimates there are over 110 million total STDs across the country.
HPV-16 oral cancer is now the fastest spreading form of mouth and throat cancer in America. It is increasing by 10 percent every year and is killing one person every hour of every day. There are no early symptoms and no FDA approved test to diagnose this type of cancer. Those who are diagnosed are three times more likely to be men - usually 25 to 50-years-old.
The FDA approves the HPV vaccine for males, but it only works for those not already infected.
Unfortunately, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis have risen for the first time in the past decade. According to the CDC, the number of babies born with Syphilis jumped 38 percent in two years.
The CDC states there are now few antibiotic options left to treat Gonorrhea that are simple, well-studied, well-tolerated and highly effective.
Fourteen HIV-positive people have become "functionally cured" which means the virus has gone into a sustained remission. In each case, HIV was diagnosed and treatment started very early. However, more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and almost 1 in 8 do not know they are infected. The number of newly infected Americans has now risen to 50,000 a year.
Some researchers believe there could be a link between HPV and prostate cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.
The CDC states: "About 20 million new cases of STDs occur every year in America and half are among young people 15 to 24. Half of all sexually active young people will acquire an STD by age 25. Each of these infections is a potential threat to a person's immediate and long-term health and well-being. In addition to increasing the risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV infection, STDs can lead to severe reproductive health complications, such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy."
So what's the deal? Penicillin was supposed to have put an end to the STD Epidemic. But 50 years ago no one could have foreseen the enormity of the problems surrounding the Hidden STD Epidemic. The crazy thing is despite the obvious consequences, teens continue to be pushed toward sex with no boundaries and no rules. But sadly, teenagers who choose this path are far more likely to pay a far greater price because the earlier a person starts having sex, the more partners they tend to have and with each new partner comes the chance of more diseases. But here's the real clincher, 15 to 24-year-old girls are biologically more susceptible to STDs than anyone else. And that my friend is why a small fraction of our population, 15 to 24-year-olds, acquire HALF of all the 20 million STDs each year in America!
And this is why Aim For Success will continue to share the TRUTH about pregnancy and STDs just as we have done over the past 22 years to almost 2.5 million students. For example, in our 7th - 12th grade programs students learn that condoms, if used correctly with every sexual act, will REDUCE THE RISK of STDs, but ONLY IF the infected area is covered. Diseases like HPV and Herpes can spread invisibly to areas NOT covered by the condom. And "going all the way" is NOT necessary to spread diseases such as these. Just putting your body skin to skin, sexual area to sexual area, can transmit both HPV and Herpes. So while condoms may REDUCE THE RISK of STDs, they are a long way from guaranteed protection.
Students also learn if the birth control pill is taken at the same time every day it will greatly REDUCE THE RISK of pregnancy. But the pill, patch, ring, Depo, IUD do absolutely nothing to protect from STDs.
Yet, two people who chose to AVOID sexual activity until marriage and remain faithful to each other have no worries about pregnancies before marriage or STDs. Think about it - if you've never been involved in sexual activity and the person you marry has never been involved in sexual activity - then neither of you has an STD. Therefore you can't give each other an STD! Saving sex for marriage also means no babies or child support before marriage. Are you beginning to see how WAITING FOR MARRIAGE gives you FREEDOM? Freedom from pregnancy before marriage. Freedom from STDs and most of all FREEDOM TO FULFILL YOUR DREAMS AND GOALS. And, if you've already been involved in sexual activity, you can make a decision to start over and avoid any consequences from this day forward.