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Archive for the ‘Sexually Transmitted Disease’ Category

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Building on yesterday’s post regarding CDC’s documentation of the continued rise in HIV, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea among men who have sex with men (MSM), in almost every document on the matter CDC offers the following:

Complex issues like homophobia and stigma can also make it difficult for gay and bisexual men to seek appropriate care and treatment.

That’s code for the principled stand taken by people of faith. In other words, it’s our fault that many MSM do not seek appropriate medical treatment. It’s because of our deeply held and abiding religious beliefs that MSM do not seek confidential and professional care. That is a very ominous declaration by a governmental agency; to declare an abiding religious belief as hatred so profound that it stigmatizes and drives a public health calamity. It makes bigotry against orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam a key component of STD epidemiology; one that will need to be eliminated as one of the root causes.

It’s also pretty patronizing toward MSM.

The truth of the matter is that physicians and nurses are bound to nonjudgmentalism in the delivery of services. But in the warped perspective that is gay activism and hedonism, any counseling against promiscuity, which is a major cultural element in many quarters of the gay community, is bound to be interpreted as homophobia. No critique, even if sound lifesaving advice, is tolerable for some.

So it is the fault of those who oppose the lifestyle on either principled moral ground, or on principled medical ground. Changing mores, as we are seeing, does not change the laws of nature, particularly where infectious disease is concerned. Unlike humans, the microbes always remain true to their nature.

Back to the big lie:

Complex issues like homophobia and stigma can also make it difficult for gay and bisexual men to seek appropriate care and treatment.

The photo essay in this post shows images from New York’s Gay Pride Parade, images that debunk the myth of enduring stigma that would prevent seeking confidential treatment. The juxtaposition is remarkable. Note the throngs of well-wishers several rows deep (Contrasted with the sparse attendance at Memorial Day parades). Note, too, the costuming of the participants. These are among the thousands of images available by Googling “Gay Pride Parade”. They are also the cleanest.

Finally, note the police officers marching, and the throngs in the line of march.

Stigma? Where?

Helping the MSM community out of the holocaust it is in requires dealing with the truth openly and honestly, as openly as the pride expressed at parades around the world. Blaming those with differing world views merely panders politically to the very community with whom CDC needs to be most concerned, and creates needless ill will, which then generates the stigma it claims to be driving this epidemic.

That makes CDC, and not the faith community, the source of stigma.

MSM deserve better, and so do we.

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Photo credits (In Order) Images via:

ABC News
Bob Jagendorf
http://www.amny.com
http://www.brooklynvegan.com
thedailybeast.com
http://www.nytimes.com
digihairshirt.blogspot.com

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jim-rex-head-in-the-sand1

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual report, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2012, to whining among journalists that the reason for the documented continued rise in syphilis (primarily affecting homosexuals) has more to do with homophobia than anything else. Consider the following from Bloomberg News:

Gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise in the U.S., mostly in men who have sex with men (MSM), a trend the government said is linked to inadequate testing among people stymied by homophobia and limited access to health care.

The rate of new gonorrhea cases rose 4 percent in 2012 from the year before, while syphilis jumped 11 percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today in a report. Rates for chlamydia, the most common of the bacterial sexually transmitted diseases, gained less than 1 percent.

While all three diseases are curable with antibiotics, many people don’t get tested as recommended, said Gail Bolan, the director of the CDC’s STD prevention division. That’s especially the case for syphilis, where the rise is entirely attributable to men, particularly those who are gay or bisexual.

“We know that having access to high-quality health care is important to controlling and reducing STDs,” Bolan said in a telephone interview. “Some of our more-vulnerable populations don’t have access. There are a number of men who come in to our clinic for confidential services because they’re too embarrassed to see their primary care doctors.”

If they are eschewing their primary care physicians, then MSM actually do have access to quality healthcare. They choose clinics, instead.

The whine in the article then continues with George W. Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco who captures something of the hedonistic disorder driving the numbers:

“With most of these populations, having a sexually transmitted disease from having sex with another man is highly stigmatized,” he said. “They’d rather not get tested for HIV, syphilis, or whatever. They don’t want it to show up on their records.”

Neither do married men want diseases transmitted by their mistresses showing up on records. That said, there is an understandable stigma surrounding gay and bisexual men whose community has become the engine of disease in the United States where HIV, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea are concerned. Far from being ten percent of the population, as they claim, CDC points to the fact that MSM constitute two percent of the population. Lest any doubt the force of this engine, here is the CDC fact sheet on HIV Among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men:

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the United States population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2010, young MSM (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72% of new HIV infections among all persons aged 13 to 24, and 30% of new infections among all MSM. At the end of 2010, an estimated 489,121 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States were MSM or MSM-IDU.

Some of the real reasons why STD’s are on the rise among gay and bisexual men were covered just a few weeks ago in the New York Times. The CDC and other epidemiologists are pointing toward the upward trend in unprotected sex:

Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic.

The same trend has recently been documented among gay men in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, France and Australia, heightening concerns among public health officials worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of men who told federal health investigators that they had had unprotected anal sex in the last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2011. In the 2011 survey, unprotected sex was more than twice as common among men who said they did not know whether they were infected with H.I.V.

Being tested even once for H.I.V. is associated with men taking fewer risks, whether the test is positive or negative, health experts say. But the most recent survey found that a third of the men interviewed had not been tested in the past year.

Rather than homophobia, the article goes on to give evidence that being tested even once is associated with a reduction in risk-taking behavior, and that the rise in unprotected sex has continued unabated since 1997. Read the rest here. That rise in unprotected sex, with condoms with some value, is accompanied by the real reason why STD’s, including HIV, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea are on the rise:

Nondisclosure of serostatus.

In a 2006 study published in the journal, AIDS Behavior (AIDS Behav. 2006 September; 10(5): 495–507.) Duru, et al. studied the behaviors of a representative sample of HIV-positive homosexuals, heterosexual men, and women. The results are shocking. Sixty percent of homosexual men failed to report their serostatus to all partners, compared to thirty-four percent of heterosexual men, and twenty-seven percent of women. More shocking than those numbers is the breakdown of nondisclosure according to clinical stage of the disease.

Thirty-seven percent of those Asymptomatic with HIV failed to disclose their status to every partner.
Forty-six percent of those Symptomatic with HIV failed to disclose their status to every partner.
And a staggering Fifty-one percent with full-blown AIDS diagnosis failed to disclose their status.

In studies and commentary on the issue of nondisclosure, fear of rejection is often cited as the driving force. While quite legitimate, the act of nondisclosure says something about the hedonistic predisposition of the offenders. They are more concerned about their acceptance in bed, than the life, health, and safety of the people whom they knowingly place at risk. They hold in low esteem the unsuspecting individual, denying them the right to make a decision for themselves. It is part of the objectification of the other inherent in sexual promiscuity.

In recent years, many HIV positive gay men have been quoted as saying that the prospective partner needs to take responsibility for the potential risks associated with sex; an action that then absolves the HIV-positive partner from the need to disclose. As rationalizations go, there is a large kernel of truth at the core of this one, but not enough to assuage moral and epidemiological culpability in this ongoing, slow-motion train wreck. No, the truth of the matter is that fifty-six percent of all HIV cases in this country are concentrated in a group representing two percent of the population. That’s not because of persecution from without, but a suicidal impulse from within.

UPDATE: Of course, it doesn’t help that Planned Parenthood teaches young people that disclosing one’s HIV status is optional. Read it here.

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This is a mess. It’s also one of the thorniest questions in vaccination medicine to have surfaced in a long time. From the outset, it must be clear that I am neither endorsing, nor dismissing the question of vaccinating boys. Get a cup of coffee, and let’s kick this one around for a bit.

The issues here are many, so let’s start with some straightforward infectious diseases epidemiology.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most prevalent of the sexually transmitted pathogens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an excellent fact sheet which is a must-read. Click here.

From a strict infectious diseases perspective, the goal of public health is to certainly limit the pool of pathogen within a population, and to eradicate it if at all possible. This was done successfully with smallpox through a determined and aggressive campaign of world-wide immunization. From a strictly scientific perspective, the same makes sense with HPV. Why not shoot for eradication?

Of course, smallpox and HPV are very different diseases, both in their lethality and in their mode of transmission. The smallpox virus is spread through saliva droplets and remains alive for anywhere between 6-24 hours on contaminated surfaces. Someone might have sneezed into their hand, touched an object in the office such as a phone receiver, and thus facilitated transmission to others touching that object.

HPV requires sexual contact. It is that dimension of personal behavior, of choice, that leads to disease transmission and the current debate.

Certainly, as Cardinal O’Connor used to say, good morality is good medicine. Virginity followed by fidelity in both parties to a marriage obviates the need in that couple for any immunization against STD’s. For the rest of the world, we have an imperfect reality. Let’s consider the parent who does not want their child immunized (and we’ll get to the vaccine safety issues shortly).

Regina and I will stress virtue in our children, and would hope that they remain virgins until marriage. Assuming all goes well, there is no guarantee that their spouses will be virgins, despite assurances given verbally. Therein lies the danger. With well over half of the population infected, the probabilities of even the most virtuous among us encountering HPV are astronomical.

Given that the vaccine is only effective before one is exposed to the virus, the question of when to vaccinate becomes a real concern for parents. Children from the best and most faith-filled families succumb to peer pressure and have sex. Many identify virginity with vaginal intercourse and settle on oral and anal sex as compromise activities that bring about orgasm while ‘preserving’ their virginity, such as they define it.

The problem is that HPV can be spread from the genitals to the mouth and oropharynx, with 35% of all throat cancers being caused by HPV. HPV can also be spread from the mouth to the genitalia.

It’s a mess.

In the strictest sense, vaccinating our children against this pathogen can save a great many women from cervical cancer, males from penile cancer, and both women and men from throat cancer. That’s simply a fact.

The problem comes in with some 68 reported deaths from Gardasil given to girls, and tens of thousands of reported adverse side-effects. Still, when one considers the following ANNUAL numbers from CDC:

Cervical cancer. Each year, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer in the U.S. Almost all of these cancers are HPV-associated.

Other cancers that can be caused by HPV are less common than cervical cancer. Each year in the U.S., there are about:

1,500 women who get HPV-associated vulvar cancer
500 women who get HPV-associated vaginal cancer
400 men who get HPV-associated penile cancer
2,700 women and 1,500 men who get HPV-associated anal cancer
1,500 women and 5,600 men who get HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils) [Note: Many of these cancers may also be related to tobacco and alcohol use.]

The question arises: What is an acceptable risk in vaccinating?

No vaccine is 100% safe. Ever. Period.

People get sick and people die from vaccines. It’s a numbers game. It’s a cost-benefit analysis. If all of the reported adverse effects of Gardasil are actually true, they still represent a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers of HPV-associated cancers reported above. In the cold calculus of public health, it seems an acceptable risk.

Enter again the behavioral component of disease transmission, and the clarity of acceptable risk immediately becomes foggy. Were smallpox once again in the population, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept these numbers as an acceptable risk, precisely because one cannot see the disease coming.

However, people contract HPV through willful behavior. They will the behavior that carries the risk of transmission. In that light, here is the dilemma faced by Regina and me:

Do we risk our children’s lives and health today in an attempt to hedge our bets on their behavior years down the line, or of their future spouses’ premarital behaviors?

Even if our children remain virgins, there is no guarantee with their future spouses. Do we risk their lives to attenuate a possible case of HPV in a future mate?

If Gardasil is good enough for girls, then it’s good enough for boys.

The question is whether it’s good enough?

I honestly don’t know.

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Guess that it was bound to happen.
Was just a matter of time.
But now I’ve come to my decision,
And it’s one of the painful kind.
‘Cause now it seems that you wanted a martyr.
Just a regular guy wouldn’t do.
But baby I can’t hang upon no lover’s cross for you.
~ Jim Croce

This sweet, sad lyric by Jim Croce may well be the new anthem in the sexual revolution, as word comes recently from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that strains of Gonorhhea that are resistant to all antibiotics have now emerged. Get all of the details in the link. From the report:

In the July 8, 2011 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers analyzed gonorrhea surveillance data and concluded that, although there have been no documented treatment failures yet, untreatable gonorrhea may become a reality in the U.S.

Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can have serious health consequences, including infertility in women, and can increase a person’s risk for acquiring HIV. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. While antibiotics can successfully treat gonorrhea, over time thebacteria has developed resistance to several of these drugs, including sulfonamides,penicillin, tetracycline, and most recently, in 2007, fluoroquinolones. CDC now recommends only one class of antibiotics, called cephalosporins — consisting of the drugs cefixime (administered orally) or ceftriaxone (administered via injection) — together with another antibiotic, either azithromycin or doxycycline. However, findings from the recent analysis signal the potential for resistance to cephalosporins, the last line of defense for treating gonorrhea.

Now, in plain English, here’s what’s going on. CDC has a surveillance project where they collect gonorrhea samples at 30 clinics throughout the U.S. and send the bacteria to the lab for analysis. They look for the smallest dose of antibiotic needed to inhibit the growth of the bacteria. This is called the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC), as it is the minimum concentration needed to inhibit growth.

Now, as bacteria develop resistance over time from intermediate to severe resistance, the amount of drug needed to inhibit their growth rises. So larger doses of drug are needed. We call this decreased susceptibility So, as susceptibility decreases, MIC of the drug increases.

What has been discovered is that there are now strains of gonorrhea on the West Coast of the U.S. that are increasingly resistant to the last line of defense antibiotics:

And while the numbers were small, researchers observed an increase in the percentage of cases that crossed this threshold in recent years — from 0.02 percent for 2000–2006
to 0.11 percent for 2009–2010. Of note, all of the isolates with decreased susceptibility to cefixime were collected from gay or bisexual men.

Patterns of elevated MICs were most prominent in samples collected in the western United States, and among gay and bisexual men:

Western regions: For cefixime, the proportion of samples from the West with elevated MICs rose from zero percent in 2000 to 3.3 percent in 2010. Significant increases in the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs were noted in Hawaii (from 0 to 7.7 percent) and California (from 0 to 4.5 percent) between 2000 and 2010. Smaller, but still significant, increases were seen for ceftriaxone in the same time period in
the west: the percentage of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 0.5 percent.

Men who have sex with men (MSM): For cefixime, the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 4 percent between 2000 and 2010; for ceftriaxone, the proportion of isolates with elevated MICs rose from zero to 0.9 percent.

These numbers may seem rather small, but already in other parts of the world, we now have gonorrhea that is entirely antibiotic resistant. HIV gained a foothold in the gay community by stealth, and the same is true with gonorrhea, as less than half of all cases are believed to be reported in the US, annually.

To make matters worse, gonorrhea has often been regarded by folks as no big deal, as antibiotics can clear it up. However, while some may take days to weeks to manifest symptoms, many people never manifest symptoms for months. Left untreated, this disease is quite destructive, and even deadly. From CDC:

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.

In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). About 750,000 women each year in the United States develop PID. The symptoms may be quite mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled “pockets” that are hard to cure) and long-lasting, chronic pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.

In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may lead to infertility if left untreated.

Gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life threatening. In addition, people with gonorrhea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV-infected people with gonorrhea can transmit HIV more easily to someone else than if they did not have gonorrhea.

This is a public health disaster in the making. We can’t just come up with new antibiotics, as the economic pressures are against antibiotic development. It costs over $800 Million to discover, purify, lab test, animal test, and go through FDA Phase I, II, III human trials, mass produce and market an antibiotic. The process takes about ten years, on average, using 10 of the 18 years on the drug’s patent. That only leaves about 8-9 years for the company to recoup their costs and turn a profit before the patent expires. Unlike most other medications which people take daily for life, antibiotics are only taken for 7-10 days. The profit incentive is just not there.

Worse still for gays is the coupling of increased resistance to antibiotics with the steady rise of gonorrhea in the community of men having sex with men, as the following CDC slide indicates:

Figure Y. Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP)—Percentage of Urethral Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates Obtained From MSM* Attending STD* Clinics, 1990–2009

Cardinal O’Connor was fond of saying that good morality is good medicine. He was crucified for it in the media. Gays, Bisexuals, and then promiscuous heterosexuals are about to hang upon their own lover’s crosses unless they wake up and realize that condoms just don’t work.

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In Live Action’s Perth Amboy, New Jersey Planned Parenthood sting, nurse manager Amy Woodruff is asked by the “pimp” and his “bottom girl” how soon a fourteen year old girl can go back to work after an abortion. Two weeks for intercourse was the reply. But in response, in the words of the pimp:

“I mean they still gotta make money, you know?”

Woodruff’s heartless reply:

“Waist up.”

Meaning that they can still do oral sex while their frail bodies recover from gynecological surgery. This beast couldn’t even screw up a shred of humanity to say,

“Hey man, they aren’t machines. Give them a little rest.”

That now-infamous line, “Waist up,” screams for a little epidemiology, and pathophysiology. Let’s look at a sampler platter with only some of the STD’s transmitted via oral sex performed on the most STD-riddled members of society.

{I don’t show clinical photos of disease manifestations. I leave it to the reader to Google the images if they so desire}

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

It is estimated that more than 1,700 new cases of HPV-associated head and neck cancers are diagnosed in women and nearly 5,700 are diagnosed in men each year in the United States.*

*These numbers are based on a large study that covered 83% of the U.S. population during 1998–2003, and may under-represent the actual number of cancers diagnosed during this time period. Also, this study used cancer registry data to estimate the amount of potentially HPV-associated cancer in the United States by examining cancer in parts of the body and cancer cell types that are more likely to be caused by HPV. Cancer registries do not collect data on the presence or absence of HPV in cancer tissue at the time of diagnosis. Cancers of the head and neck are usually caused by tobacco and alcohol, but recent studies show that about 25% of mouth and 35% of throat cancers are caused by HPV.

The following graph from CDC shows the incidence rates of head and neck cancers from HPV:

Chlamydia

This is a bacterial infection that remains asymptomatic (silent) in over 50% of patients who have it. If it gets established in the mouth, nose, or pharynx, it leads to infections of the eye that are not always easily treated. Since it remains silent in so many, a person with oral chlamydia (or any pathogen for that matter) can get it on their hands by simply wiping their mouth, and then transmit it to their genitals by merely wiping after toileting. Once transmitted to the genitalia in girls, it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and sterility.

Here are CDC’s rates of Chlamydia by age and sex in the U.S. in 2008:

Gonorrhea

It should be noted that Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis are often travel companions, and many clinicians will treat for all three if one is found.

Gonorrhea, also caused by a bacterium will often spontaneously resolve in cases of oral infection, but can be transmitted to objects placed in the mouth and throat, such as another penis. In rare cases of depressed immune function, oral gonorrhea can spread systemically (throughout the body). Cases of girls in sex-trafficking rings who are kept stressed, hooked on heroin and cocaine, and malnourished, are more likely to suffer from immunosuppression and become a candidate for oral, leading to systemic infection.

Here are CDC’s rates by age and sex for 2009

HIV

According to CDC, the oral mode of HIV transmission is lower than the vaginal and anal routes, but still a risk factor:

If the person receiving oral sex has HIV, their blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), or vaginal fluid may contain the virus. Cells lining the mouth of the person performing oral sex may allow HIV to enter their body.

The risk of HIV transmission increases

if the person performing oral sex has cuts or sores around or in their mouth or throat;
if the person receiving oral sex ejaculates in the mouth of the person performing oral sex; or
if the person receiving oral sex has another sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Syphilis

This disease is on the rise world-wide, especially in sex industry workers. It progresses through three distinct stages.

In the primary stage a painless sore, or chancre as it is called, develops on the genitalia or in the mouth and spontaneously resolves in a few weeks. Cases of oral chancres can often be misdiagnosed as some other oral pathology, and therefore go untreated. When this happens the disease progresses to its secondary stage where it becomes more diffuse throughout the body.

A number of different lesions appear in secondary stage disease, and about 25% of secondary stage lesions will recur, even after treatment. One of the manifestations is Ulceronodular Disease:

Ulceronodular disease is an explosive generalized form of secondary syphilis characterized by fever, headache, and myalgia, followed by a papulopustular eruption that rapidly transforms into necrotic, sharply demarcated ulcers with hemorrhagic brown crusts, organized in rupioid layers commonly on the face and scalp. The mucosa is involved in about one third of affected patients. Lues maligna gives rise to crateriform or shallow ulcers on the gingivae, palate or buccal mucosa, with multiple erosions on the hard and soft palates, tongue and lower lip.

From the same paper, the manifestations of tertiary stage disease include:

Syphilitic leukoplakia would appear to be a homogenous white patch affecting large areas of the dorsum of the tongue. There are few good descriptions of syphilitic leukoplakia, and it is unclear whether this lesion truly reflects syphilis, or more likely a tobacco smoking habit—indeed this was observed by Hutchinson in the 19th century.

An association between tertiary syphilis and oral squamous cell carcinoma—particularly of the tongue—has been suggested for many years. Both clinically- and serologically-based studies have suggested an increased prevalence of syphilis in patient groups with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue (up to 60% in one study), the association being stronger in males than females. A relatively recent study of 16,420 people with syphilis resident in the US found a significantly raised frequency of cancer of the tongue (and Kaposi’s sarcoma) in males.

Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus (both HSV-I and HSV-2) can infect the mouth, genitals, and anus, and are readily transmitted from one site to the other by oral sex. Worse, in some 2/3 of cases the patient can shed the virus without having any visible sores (subclinical shedding). Patients with herpes sores may also transmit HIV and other STD’s to the mouth of the prostitute, as these sores become portals of transmissibility for the other pathogens.

Hepatitis A, B, and C can all be transmitted via oral sex, and lead to liver disease and death.

This was just an STD sampler platter. Planned Parenthood holds itself out as the STD experts. They know the data on the spotty condom efficacy from CDC’s Fact Sheet on the Male Latex Condom, and know well that condoms don’t prevent STD transmission entirely.

Yet Planned Parenthood nurse Amy Woodruff, the office manager, was quick to recommend “Waist Up” for post-operative/post-abortive young girls servicing the most STD-prone members of society.

Remember, these are the “experts”.

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WARNING: GRAPHIC AND SEXUALLY EXPLICIT

FOX NEWS reports on a new initiative by Planned Parenthood to target children as young as ten years old for teaching the pleasures of sex. The initiative, Stand and Deliver is linked here.

From the Fox Report:

The report, “Stand and Deliver,” charges that religious groups, specifically Catholics and Muslims, deny their young access to comprehensive sexual programs and education.

“Young people’s sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups — the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic Schools) for example — have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex.” the report states.

The report demands that children 10 and older be given a “comprehensive sexuality education” by governments, aid organizations and other groups, and that young people should be seen as “sexual beings.”

“Young people have the right to be informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services,” Bert Koenders, the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, wrote in the foreword to the report. It was his organization that helped fund the report.

The report argues that sex education should be “recast” to show sexuality as a “positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self.”

Much like a U.N. report released last August that advocated teaching masturbation to children as young as 5, “Stand and Deliver” has set off a wave of protest among religious and conservative groups.

Ed Mechmann, spokesman for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, charged that Planned Parenthood was “trying to teach children sex without values and that sex is a matter of pleasure and done without consequences.”

He said religions like Catholicism and Islam teach sex as part of a much bigger picture and that Planned Parenthood was trying to de-link sex from traditional values.

“It is part of an effort to get children to reject traditional values and accept a liberal American-European view,” he said. “In many traditional countries — Catholic and Muslim — it won’t work and should be seen as cultural imperialism.”

Mechmann also charged that Planned Parenthood’s report was compromised because it has a financial stake advocating the changes. “The difference between Planned Parenthood and us is that we don’t make money off what we teach and say. They do. They make money off contraceptives and abortions,” he said.

Well said Ed Mechman. There are dire consequences for young people. Condoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, simply do not work. Consider the following CDC data:

The graphs below come from CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, 2008, with the exception of the HIV data, which is also CDC data available here. For purposes of classification, I have divided these diseases into two groups: A & B. This division is entirely my own and not a CDC classification scheme.

GROUP A DISEASES

Number of AIDS cases, AIDS deaths, and people living with AIDS, 1985-2004, United States (CDC, n.d.a)

Chlamydia

Genital Warts (HPV) Initial Visits to Doctor's Office

Herpes Simplex Virus

Trichomoniasis and Other Vaginitis


.
.

GROUP B DISEASES

Chancroid

Syphilis

Gonorrhea


.
.

Explaining the Data

In making sense out of these data, they have been divided into two groups based upon some shared characteristics.

Group A data all show the incidence of disease trending steadily upward. These diseases also share another common characteristic. They all possess the capacity to remain ‘silent’, or asymptomatic in a large percentage of their victims.

HIV Less than half of infected people develop a conversion reaction with its flu-like symptoms.
Trichomonas Though curable with drugs, up to 1/3 of women are asymptomatic carriers.
Human Papilloma Virus (Genital Warts) 60% chance of infection with one contact. Up to 1/3 women remain asymptomatic.
Genital Herpes 80%-90% of people fail to recognize symptoms or have no symptoms at all. They may still shed the virus.
Chlamydia 70%-80% of women have no symptoms. 25%-50% of men have no symptoms.

HPV and Herpes are contact transmission infections. Any exposed skin on the penis not covered by the condom, or on the labia contacting exposed penile skin with condom use, can become infected with a single act of intercourse. These diseases are also spread by oral-genital transmission.

The prevalence line in the HIV graph indicates the number of people living with HIV. As is evident, the rate continues to soar.

The question needs to be asked, with the explosion in condom usage and sales over the past 25 years, why the steady rise in these STI’s? Chlamydia experts believe that the rise in the graph is the result of a combination of better testing methods and mandatory reporting that didn’t come about until the late 1990′s. While that’s understandable, the basal level of infection was not always this high in the population.

Indeed, the graphs all indicate that prior to 1968, the disease rates, even in diseases that had mandatory reporting were extremely low. The graphs tell the sad story of the sexual revolution that really got going with the widespread availability of the pill in the late 1960′s.

This soaring rate of STI’s and STD’s can be explained by the condom bible. Consider an excerpt from the following book available to be read online:

Case Against Condoms: Death by Latex
By Brian Clowes, PhD
Director of Research Worldwide
Human Life International

The book Contraceptive Technology is the most authoritative source of information on all methods of birth control in the world today. This two-inch thick book is often referred to as the “family planner’s bible,” and is revised every few years in order to include updated information. The latest edition was published in 2004, and it is considered by family planners to be the “last word” on all matters contraceptive…

According to Contraceptive Technology, the condom’s user effectiveness rate is 85 percent [9]. This means that, under real-world conditions, a woman whose sexual partners use condoms for every act of sexual intercourse has a 15 percent chance of becoming pregnant in a year.
Figure 2 shows the chances of pregnancy for a woman whose sexual partners faithfully use condoms for 83 average annual instances of sexual intercourse.[10]
Keep in mind that these are the lowest rates that can generally be expected, since they assume 100% condom usage.

Figure 2
Probability of Pregnancy Over Time for Women Whose Sexual Partners Always Use Condoms

1 year 15 percent
2 years 28 percent
3 years 39 percent
4 years 48 percent
5 years 56 percent
10 years 80 percent

It must be stressed that these are probabilities for pregnancy, which can only occur one week per month. Slippage and breakage happen the other three weeks out of the month as well.

How then do we explain the data in Group B? Why the decline?

These diseases manifest immediately, and in the case of gonorrhea and chancroid, painfully. People seek medical treatment immediately, as all three of these diseases are curable with antibiotics. Not so for the viral diseases in Group A. There are no silent infections in Group B to enable transmission between a series of unsuspecting partners. Note too that the infections in gonorrhea and chancroid declined precipitously only at the outset of the HIV pandemic in the mid-late 1980′s. That’s when public health officers required names of partners in order to go out into the community and dry up the reservoir of pathogens. The same for syphilis.

In Group A, because the infections remain asymptomatic in so many for so long, the diseases are able to be transmitted unchecked. Unlike the pathogens in Group B, it’s next to impossible to dry up the reservoir of Trichomonas and Chlamydia because they lurk silently for months to years. The viral diseases HIV and Herpes cannot be eliminated, only held in check. To a good extent, HPV resolves spontaneously in most people, but not before being transmitted.

If condoms were so effective and could be rightly credited for the declines seen in group B, then we would have seen declines in Group A pathogens, minimally Chlamydia and Trichomonas, as well.

Some might argue that there is simply an increase in the number of young people having sex without condoms. Certainly some of these increases in Group A can rightly be attributed to this. Even stipulating this point does not diminish the 15% condom failure rate detailed above, nor does it obviate the fact that condoms do not cover the entire penis, hence not protecting against the spread of HPV and Herpes. The false sense of security leads people to engage in more frequent sex, often with several partners either at once or serially, leading to a greater probability of disease transmission through skin contact, oral sex, or catastrophic condom failure.

Finally, there is CDC’s own Fact Sheet on the Male Latex Condom for Public Health Personnel.

“Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including diseases transmitted by genital secretions, and to a lesser degree, genital ulcer diseases. Condom use may reduce the risk for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV-associated diseases, e.g., genital warts and cervical cancer.”

Finally consider this statement from the fact sheet:

“The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

It seems very much like a variant expression of traditional morality, which is abstinence before and fidelity in marriage.

CDC gives no guarantees beyond that, and very little encouragement in the way of condom safety.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Niece, Dr. Alveda King

If there is one African American woman in the United States who has drunk from the bitter cups of abortion and racism, whose life has been forever changed by both, it is Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King knows what it is like to be lied to by a Planned Parenthood physician. “It’s just a blob of tissue,” she was told before her second abortion.

In 1966, Martin Luther King accepted the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthod. Hear Alveda King Describe why he did so in this brief interview.

At the time, Sanger’s private communications with Clarence Gamble about the Negro Project had not yet come to light. The issue is detailed here.

The legacy of the project is gruesome for African-Americans. Today, close to eighty percent of Planned Parenthood clinics operate in inner-city neighborhoods. The rationale is that the need is greatest there. Which need? The need to stop these people from proliferating “like weeds,” as Sanger opined, or the need for low-cost, government-funded services for those who occupy the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder?

In the case of the latter, these citizens have broad access to welfare, medicaid, and a great many to social security disability money; financing streams not available to those with more means. So the financial imperative rationale is a lie.

While blacks constitute roughly eleven percent of the population, they have thirty-seven percent of the abortions, some eighteen million since 1973. Accidental? Consider the sting operation from two years ago where PP centers were accepting donations to underwrite the abortions of Black babies. At 1:30 into the following video, Autmn Kersey, PP Director of Fundraising for the State of Idaho says it all with enthusiasm.

The eighteen million were the babies who were killed. How many scores of millions did PP prevent from being conceived? Worse still has been the lesson taught to young men, that young girls’ bodies are mere playthings, that human sex can be had without consequences, that when contraception fails, PP stands ready and willing to murder the child. This has devastated the community. Close to seventy percent of African American births are to unwed mothers, the consequence of teaching teens that human relations are merely “sex play”, as PP does on its web page directed at teens entitled ‘The Truth About Virginity Pledges.”

In this pernicious document, youth are cut off from their elders’ influence by appealing to their natural desire for autonomy: “Choosing to have sex is a very personal decision, and so is choosing to take a virginity pledge.”

As always, the lie is one of omission. True, choosing to have sex is a personal decision, but it is also one with profound consequences for family and community stability, which is why marriage is a legal contract and not a private arrangement.

Then there is the matter of African-American girls having twice the sexually transmitted disease rate of other girls their age. Full forty-eight percent of African-American girls will be diagnosed with at least one STD by age nineteen. Many of these will cause pelvic inflammatory disease and leave these young women sterile, which comports well with Sanger’s vision.

When Sanger began her “Negro Project”, Blacks might have been poor, but they had much more solid families and church communities. Seventy years later, the deplorable state of the Black inner-city is in no mall measure the result of Planned Parenthood’s machinations. The last word goes to these Black Pastors who want PP defunded. Nobody knows more than these good people what PP has done to their community.

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Jill Stanek writes a column at WorldNetDaily yesterday entitled, Under Obama, STD Super Strains All the Rage. It’s a must read.

The money line from the article: “Political correctness and liberal ideology both cause and aggravate the spread of communicable and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Jill is right. Read her article before proceeding here.

Liberals don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to the prevention of spreading infectious diseases. That’s because, for them, ideology trumps all. Yesterday, I ran the third in a series of articles on the condom controversy, showing the data that indicate pretty conclusively the conclusion that condoms don’t work. But liberals are wed to the sexual revolution, because that’s where their roots are: in the communist and eugenic revolutions of the 20th Century, a point I hope is being underscored by my ongoing expose on Margaret Sanger.

The sexual revolution is key in redefining marriage and family; selling out 2,000 years of Christian Civilization for an orgasm, most not very good ones at that.

But what of this multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB). While the facts cited by Jill about TB hitching a ride with HIV, the ugly truth is that New York City is ground zero for MDRTB. It’s an interesting story.

Following the national scandal uncovered by young investigative journalist Geraldo Rivera at the Willowbrook State School for the Mentally Retarded in the early 1970′s, the national landscape with regard to the mentally ill began to change. Willowbrook was a residential facility built for 4,000 but housed 6,000 and was called a “snake pit” by Senator Robert Kennedy. The cruelty and depredations there beggared the imagination. See some of the report here. The closure of Willowbrook heralded the age of group homes and day treatment facilities. This was a powerful and positive step forward. Soon, attention focussed on the mental hospitals, teeming with residents.

New York State Governor Hugh Carey facilitated the virtual emptying of the mental hospitals, returning the patients to the community. In cash-strapped New York City, struggling back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1976, and caught in the economic meltdown of the Carter Presidency, there was simply not enough money for adequate police and fire protective services, much less appropriate monitoring of the mentally ill now in the community. Many began to fall through the cracks, and homelessness began growing. Also, one of the programs to suffer was the TB monitoring program. Then, in 1986-1990 the crack cocaine epidemic hit with a vengeance. People lost their jobs and apartments. Overnight, the city was deluged with the newly homeless. Scrambling for a solution, the city opened its vast National Guard Armories, whose parade floors housed thousands of homeless people each on cots eighteen inches apart. TB-infected crack addicts stopped their year-long antibiotic treatment mid-way, creating through natural selection, resistant strains of TB.

To make matters worse, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB is an airborne pathogen, which spread like wildfire among a homeless population whose immune systems were compromised from drug addiction, malnutrition, and increasingly, HIV acquired through prostitution engaged in to get money for more crack.

It was a combination of good intentions and their unintended consequences, coupled with the financial consequences of liberal elitist profligate spending, and a political establishment that refused to heed the warnings about condom inefficiency and over-reliance that I linked in this post.

The perfect storm.

The result was that New York City became the worlds leading exporter of MDRTB. That, coupled with Planned Parenthood’s relentless advocacy of condom use, with their 15% failure rate, rather than advocating sexual continence in the face of three diseases that travel together in weakened hosts, has led us to this Armageddon.

Cardinal O’Connor was right. Good morality is good medicine.

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John Cardinal O'Connor

WARNING: The subject matter in this post deals candidly with sexually transmitted infections and diseases and their modes of transmission. Minors and persons easily upset by the nature of such discussion are advised to skip over this post.

In Part II of this series (Part I here. Part II here. Part IV here.) we examined the disconnect between ACT-UP’s rhetoric on condoms and the published reports in The New York Times during the two years prior to ACT-UP’s desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. In this article, we’ll consider some epidemiological data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and see if perhaps the rhetoric is supported by the data.

The graphs below come from CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, 2008, with the exception of the HIV data, which is also CDC data available here. For purposes of classification, I have divided these diseases into two groups: A & B. This division is entirely my own and not a CDC classification scheme.

GROUP A DISEASES

Number of AIDS cases, AIDS deaths, and people living with AIDS, 1985-2004, United States (CDC, n.d.a)

Chlamydia

Genital Warts (HPV) Initial Visits to Doctor's Office

Herpes Simplex Virus

Trichomoniasis and Other Vaginitis


.
.

GROUP B DISEASES

Chancroid

Syphilis

Gonorrhea


.
.

Explaining the Data

In making sense out of these data, they have been divided into two groups based upon some shared characteristics.

Group A data all show the incidence of disease trending steadily upward. These diseases also share another common characteristic. They all possess the capacity to remain ‘silent’, or asymptomatic in a large percentage of their victims.

HIV Less than half of infected people develop a conversion reaction with its flu-like symptoms.
Trichomonas Though curable with drugs, up to 1/3 of women are asymptomatic carriers.
Human Papilloma Virus (Genital Warts) 60% chance of infection with one contact. Up to 1/3 women remain asymptomatic.
Genital Herpes 80%-90% of people fail to recognize symptoms or have no symptoms at all. They may still shed the virus.
Chlamydia 70%-80% of women have no symptoms. 25%-50% of men have no symptoms.

HPV and Herpes are contact transmission infections. Any exposed skin on the penis not covered by the condom, or on the labia contacting exposed penile skin with condom use, can become infected with a single act of intercourse. These diseases are also spread by oral-genital transmission.

The prevalence line in the HIV graph indicates the number of people living with HIV. As is evident, the rate continues to soar.

The question needs to be asked, with the explosion in condom usage and sales over the past 25 years, why the steady rise in these STI’s? Chlamydia experts believe that the rise in the graph is the result of a combination of better testing methods and mandatory reporting that didn’t come about until the late 1990′s. While that’s understandable, the basal level of infection was not always this high in the population.

Indeed, the graphs all indicate that prior to 1968, the disease rates, even in diseases that had mandatory reporting were extremely low. The graphs tell the sad story of the sexual revolution that really got going with the widespread availability of the pill in the late 1960′s.

This soaring rate of STI’s and STD’s can be explained by the condom bible. Consider an excerpt from the following book available to be read online:

Case Against Condoms: Death by Latex
By Brian Clowes, PhD
Director of Research Worldwide
Human Life International

The book Contraceptive Technology is the most authoritative source of information on all methods of birth control in the world today. This two-inch thick book is often referred to as the “family planner’s bible,” and is revised every few years in order to include updated information. The latest edition was published in 2004, and it is considered by family planners to be the “last word” on all matters contraceptive…

According to Contraceptive Technology, the condom’s user effectiveness rate is 85 percent [9]. This means that, under real-world conditions, a woman whose sexual partners use condoms for every act of sexual intercourse has a 15 percent chance of becoming pregnant in a year.
Figure 2 shows the chances of pregnancy for a woman whose sexual partners faithfully use condoms for 83 average annual instances of sexual intercourse.[10]
Keep in mind that these are the lowest rates that can generally be expected, since they assume 100% condom usage.

Figure 2
Probability of Pregnancy Over Time for Women Whose Sexual Partners Always Use Condoms

1 year 15 percent
2 years 28 percent
3 years 39 percent
4 years 48 percent
5 years 56 percent
10 years 80 percent

It must be stressed that these are probabilities for pregnancy, which can only occur one week per month. Slippage and breakage happen the other three weeks out of the month as well.

How then do we explain the data in Group B? Why the decline?

These diseases manifest immediately, and in the case of gonorrhea and chancroid, painfully. People seek medical treatment immediately, as all three of these diseases are curable with antibiotics. Not so for the viral diseases in Group A. There are no silent infections in Group B to enable transmission between a series of unsuspecting partners. Note too that the infections in gonorrhea and chancroid declined precipitously only at the outset of the HIV pandemic in the mid-late 1980′s. That’s when public health officers required names of partners in order to go out into the community and dry up the reservoir of pathogens. The same for syphilis.

In Group A, because the infections remain asymptomatic in so many for so long, the diseases are able to be transmitted unchecked. Unlike the pathogens in Group B, it’s next to impossible to dry up the reservoir of Trichomonas and Chlamydia because they lurk silently for months to years. The viral diseases HIV and Herpes cannot be eliminated, only held in check. To a good extent, HPV resolves spontaneously in most people, but not before being transmitted.

If condoms were so effective and could be rightly credited for the declines seen in group B, then we would have seen declines in Group A pathogens, minimally Chlamydia and Trichomonas, as well.

Some might argue that there is simply an increase in the number of young people having sex without condoms. Certainly some of these increases in Group A can rightly be attributed to this. Even stipulating this point does not diminish the 15% condom failure rate detailed above, nor does it obviate the fact that condoms do not cover the entire penis, hence not protecting against the spread of HPV and Herpes. The false sense of security leads people to engage in more frequent sex, often with several partners either at once or serially, leading to a greater probability of disease transmission through skin contact, oral sex, or catastrophic condom failure.

Finally, there is CDC’s own Fact Sheet on the Male Latex Condom for Public Health Personnel.

“Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including diseases transmitted by genital secretions, and to a lesser degree, genital ulcer diseases. Condom use may reduce the risk for genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV-associated diseases, e.g., genital warts and cervical cancer.”

Finally consider this statement from the fact sheet:

“The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

That’s as close a vindication of Cardinal O’Connor and the Bishops are likely to get from CDC. It seems very much like a variant expression of traditional morality, which is abstinence before and fidelity in marriage.

CDC gives no guarantees beyond that, and very little encouragement in the way of condom safety.

Next Wednesday: The efficacy of abstinence programs.

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LifeNews reports, Obama Admin Forces Americans to Pay for More Embryonic Stem Cell Research: “National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins approved taxpayer funding of 27 more lines of embryonic stem cells.”

Having overturned the Bush administration’s restrictions, we are headed in the wrong direction morally, but also scientifically. Embryonic stem cell research has consistently yielded tumors in lab animals, whereas adult stem cell research has led to hundreds of therapeutic applications in humans.

To be certain, Collins has set limits by funding an additional 27 lines of cells. Prudent caution? Consider this quote from former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass, M.D., in Human Cloning and Human Dignity, The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics:

“We should not be self-deceived about our ability to set limits on the exploitation of nascent life. What disturbs us today we quickly or eventually get used to; yesterday’s repugnance gives way to tomorrow’s endorsement. A society that already tolerates the destruction of fetuses in the second and third trimesters will hardly be horrified by embryo and fetus farming (including in animal wombs), if this should turn out to be helpful in the cure of dreaded diseases.

“We realize, of course, that many proponents of cloning-for-biomedical-research will recommend regulations designed to prevent just such abuses (that is, the expansion of research to later-stage cloned embryos and fetuses). Refusing to erect a red light to stop research cloning, they will propose various yellow lights intended to assure ourselves that we are proceeding with caution, limits, or tears. Paradoxically, however, the effect might actually be to encourage us to continue proceeding with new (or more hazardous) avenues of research; for, believing that we are being cautious, we have a good conscience about what we do, and we are unable to imagine ourselves as people who could take a morally disastrous next step. We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”

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John Cardinal O'Connor

A little-known anniversary passed very silently on the tenth of this month, the twentieth anniversary of AIDS activist group ACT-UP’s desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The New York Times reported the incident. It was the culmination of many smaller-scale desecrations at the Cathedral by gay groups, including Dignity. From 1987-88 I was a seminarian for the Archdiocese of New York, and was present at the Cathedral for Sunday Masses with the Cardinal when Dignity would seat themselves in rows midway down the aisle, then stand with their backs turned to the Cardinal as he gave the homily. They hated him as no other because he was pro-life, because he was a faithful son of the Church and would not give his blessing to the use of condoms for any purpose.

Cardinal O’Connor’s famous rejoinder was, “Good morality is good medicine.” For that singular statement he was regarded as little more than a caveman in Cardinal’s robes. From the Times article:

“Protesters said yesterday’s action was prompted by what they said was Cardinal O’Connor’s growing verbal assault on abortion and on the use of ‘safe sex’ with condoms as a precaution against AIDS.

“In October, the Cardinal expressed his admiration for Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group that frequently blocks entrances to abortion clinics. In a speech at the Vatican in November, he re-stated his view that distributing condoms or clean needles was an inappropriate way to combat the spread of the AIDS virus. In a phrase frequently condemned by demonstrators yesterday, he said, ‘Good morality is good medicine.’”

What the Times did not report was that one protester crumbled the Eucharist at Communion time in an act of desecration never before seen in the cathedral. Protesters also threw condoms all over the cathedral. They were right about one thing, people were dying from this disease. AIDS patients were still considered lepers in many quarters. It was a frightening time.

Earlier that autumn 1989, Fr. Bruce Ritter asked me if I would return to Covenant House, a shelter for homeless teens in Times Square, where I had worked for five years prior to entering the seminary. He explained that he had started a Special Needs Unit for adolescents with HIV/AIDS. Some were already dying in end-stage AIDS. I accepted the offer.

Our unit at the time was the ONLY residential facility in the nation for adolescents with HIV/AIDS. Most of the kids were male prostitutes who contracted the virus from their clients. The disease progressed rapidly in some. We buried one young man not long after I began work on the unit. So, I was not without sympathy for the issue felt so keenly by Dignity and ACT-UP.

I contemplated this during the long night shifts when the kids finally went to sleep. What was the objection, really? Why such venomous hatred directed at the Church? Everyone knew that condoms broke during vaginal sex, more-so during anal sex. This wasn’t a state secret. Having just begun my post-baccalaureate curriculum in science at Columbia University, I found the hatred for the Church on campus palpable. Why?

The answer was: Narcissism. Even in the face of a killer sexually transmitted disease, people wanted their sex. Period. The drive toward self-indulgence was so powerful that it blinded people to the reality that condoms had a pretty significant failure rate, for a variety of reasons: improper and inconsistent use, tearing, slipping.

Then there was the issue of promiscuity in the gay community, the orgies in the bath houses that were eventually closed down as a public health measure. People weren’t interested in changing their behavior. They wanted fornication without consequences and expected, demanded the Church play along. In hindsight, they were looking for political cover.

For those old enough to remember the early years of the AIDS pandemic, it was largely considered a ‘gay’ disease. When it started showing up in the heterosexual community, many gays feared (rightly) a backlash based on that perception of AIDS being a gay disease. What better cover than the Catholic Church? The Bishops weren’t falling for it. They knew better about condoms, and sought to teach the faithful.

In the interim, Cardinal O’Connor quietly set about increasing the number of hospital beds in Catholic hospitals of the Archdiocese dedicated to AIDS patients to well above fifteen percent. He effectively turned Saint Clare’s Hospital on W 52nd Street into an AIDS hospice. Unbeknown to his detractors, the Cardinal went to St. Clare’s once a week in simple clerical garb to wash patients, empty bedpans, and perform priestly pastoral ministry to the dying. On his orders, he was introduced simply as Father John.

Next Wednesday, we’ll take a look at the wisdom and strength behind that humility. We’ll consider the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control data that clearly vindicate Cardinal O’Connor, and lay much blame for this ongoing tragedy at the feet of his most bitter detractors. We’ll see the epidemiological data that expose the great lie about condoms and where we have gone these past twenty years. It isn’t pretty.

Part II here.
Part III here.
Part IV here.

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Rosemary Cappozalo is a saint. Literally. She is also one of the unsung heroes of the Culture of Life and Civilization of Love. Affectionately known as Mrs. Rosemary, she ran her dance studio on Staten Island for fifty years, dying from Cancer this past June during her studio’s Fiftieth Annual Recital. Mrs. Rosemary is an icon in these parts, her studio an oasis for parents who want their sons and daughters to study dance without compromising their innocence or dignity. Her three daughters and staff of teachers, all trained by the Master herself, carry on this marvelous tradition of combining the best of traditional dance with modern sounds and rhythms, and all the while celebrating the joyous purity of youth.

Mrs. Rosemary

To quote her website, “The studio’s primary focus is to offer the joy of dancing to all the students regardless of age or ability ~ to build self-esteem, grace and motivate the students every step of the way.”

Accent on grace.

I first attended a Mrs. Rosemary recital back in 1992, and never realized how much she protected her “darlings,” as she called them, until I began attending my nieces recitals at other studios with their trashy costumes and hyper-sexual choreography. Our three darlings, shown above in costume from last year’s recital, have grown in grace and self-esteem with Mrs. Rosemary’s daughters and staff over the past four years.

Juxtapose that with Planned Parenthood’s deceptive description of sex as “sex play” in a page aimed at teens contemplating “The Truth About Virginity Pledges”.

“Should You Pledge?
Virginity is a personal choice, and there’s nothing wrong with waiting to have vaginal intercourse — or to abstain from sex play completely — until you’re married. But if you’re thinking about pledging, here are some questions you may want to consider:
What are you pledging? Many teens agree that some level of physical involvement is important in an intimate relationship. So find out what the limitations are before you pledge. Is all sex play prohibited? Or only vaginal intercourse?”

Note the evil deception in sex being referred to as mere “play”; losing virginity, a mere “choice”.

Not mentioned are the terrible burdens carried by teens who become sexually active, especially the girls.

The burden of worrying about STD’s as well as 1/4 of all girls actually contracting an STD prior to age 19.

The burden of sequelae from STD’s such as cervical cancer, lifetime herpes infection, PID, ectopic pregnancy, and sterility.

The burden of unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

The burden of the tension between their innate desire for emotional connection and oneness on the one hand, and the ‘need’ to satisfy adolescent boys who only want the fulfillment of the unrealistic sex they’ve seen in porn movies.

The burden of pleasing a boy, of needing to look hot instead of soft and feminine.

The tension between wanting to be a child (complete with pink bedroom and stuffed animals) and the “need” to be sexually sophisticated.

The burden of rejection when the sex gets old and new prospects materialize.

The tragedy of learning to separate the natural experience of bonding effected by sex, from the sex itself, as a means of ego-protection.

Where do they learn to bear themselves with grace and self-esteem in all of that?

And we wonder why body dysmorphic syndrome and depression are epidemic. After all, its only ‘sex play’.

We need more adults like Mrs. Rosemary, her daughters and teachers, to call forth the awesome power of true femininity and masculinity in our daughters and sons, to show them how to celebrate their emerging womanhood and manhood with grace and dignity, with purity and nobility, to lead as they do:

By Example.

To those who say it can’t be done, Mrs. Rosemary’s legacy continues to prove otherwise.

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