I would like to take exception to the Opinion Page article, “Textbooks shouldn’t abstain from safe sex.” As an abstinence educator, it is my passion to educate teens about the dangers of premarital sex and the consequences of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
What I wish to take exception with is the misnomer that there can be “safe sex” outside of marriage. Take a moment to read these stats/facts.
Concerning chlamydia, no studies have proven whether or not condoms reduce the risk of contracting this disease. Granted, it is a bacterial infection, which can be eliminated with antibiotics, but the damage done is permanent. 80 percent of teens girls who have chlamydia do not know they have it (40 percent in teen males). Safe sex?
One out of five people over the age of 12 in the United States test positive for genital herpes. Condoms have been proven to reduce the risk of women contracting herpes to some degree, but is it worth the risk, especially with a viral infection that you can never get rid of? Safe sex?
Regarding HPV (human papilloma virus), condoms have been proven to have virtually no effect on the reduction of HPV transmission. This virus not only causes genital warts in some infected people but is also the cause of nearly all cervical cancer in women. About 4,000 women die of cervical cancer in the United States each year. Safe Sex?
I could go on and on, but I think my point is made (and I haven’t even detailed the 20 percent failure rate for teens who use condoms as their only prevention for pregnancy. Ever hear of “condom babies?”). It’s goofy to tell teens that they can engage in “safe sex” simply by wearing a piece of rubber which is .06 millimeter thick compared with surgical gloves which are (on average) .18 millimeters thick. Same material designed to stop the same diseases. Are doctors idiots for wearing thicker gloves? Safe sex?
I do take exception to the wording used by the textbooks, but the message is clear and certainly the safest for every teen. For the editorial staff of the Optimist to dispute this is irresponsible and is doomed to give immature teens a false sense of security in their actions. What’s next? Will the Optimist tell drivers that as long as they have an airbag in their car that they’ll be “safe” in a wreck?
Truly disappointing …
Class of ’94