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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The STD bombshell!

I recall the excitement when STD was introduced to the U.K. I mean, of course, Subscriber Trunk Dialling - the means by which one no longer had to go through the operator at the local telephone exchange in order to be connected to a particular number.

However, those letters eventually came to signify something much less exciting. Another memory is of being in Glasgow, and seeing a large bill-board at the site now occupied by a major shopping centre. There were two notices on it. The first one provided the contact details for a clinic for those who thought that they might have contracted one of the sexually transmitted diseases - venereal diseases as they had been previously known - and encouraging them to do so. The other notice, in a classic example of unfortunate juxtaposition, showed a buxom Glasgow housewife, complete with coat and hat, a big smile on her face, and a well-filled shopping basket in her hand. The accompanying caption read: "I got it at the Co-op"!!! I have to admit that I was very wary about entering a Co-operative store for some time afterwards!!

One of today's UK news items concerned the statistics from the Health Protection Agency, which recorded almost half a million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 2009, mostly among the young - data that confirms this country’s unassailable position as Europe’s trailblazer in sexual irresponsibility.

What so many of those who contract these diseases do not seem to realise is that, while treatment is apparently much easier and quicker today, there are long-term consequences. On this morning's Today programme on BBC Radio 4, the point was made that they can cause infertility. It was also affirmed that some of the diseases - gonorrhea was specified - have developed a growing resistance to the treatment provided. And it should never be forgotten that STDs can cause other physical problems - and may even be transmitted to an unborn child!

But why should there be such a high incidence of STDs in the U.K.? Or, to put it another way, why is there so much sexual activity among young people in particular? The benefit system has, almost certainly, a part to play. Too many young girls seem to think that having a baby is the beginning of a career in which the state (i.e. the tax-payer!) will provide everything that is required. The attitude to alcohol must also, surely, bear some of the blame. The apparent desire of the previous Labour government to have sex education given to children who were barely out of nursery school - the mechanics, without any refernce to the morality - may have made even those children who might have held back from active sexual intercourse more curious about it. The loss of the stigma that unmarried parenthood used to have. The list could probably go on, and on!

So, is there an answer? Of course there is - but who, in authority, is going to listen? We could start by actually prosecuting those who have sexual intercourse before they are 16 years of age - and maybe even raise that to 18 years of age. It's a law to which a 'blind eye' has been turned for too long! We could insist that fathers - whose identity may be verified by the use of DNA samples - be responsible, financially as well as any other way, for their offspring. We could then cut back on welfare support such as a flat, a brand-new buggie, cot, clothing, etc., etc.

Yet even all of that would only cut down the incidence of STDs - and of abortion! The ultimate answer is even more radically reactive. I don't want to get too personal, but when the AIDS epidemic was recognised, many people went to clinics just to check their condition. Neither my wife nor I bothered to do so. There was a simple reason for that. Each of us had remained chaste until we were married to one another; and we had remained faithful to each other since then. Therefore, there was no way in which either of us could have contracted any type of STD!

It's the Christian way! Paul writes to the young church in Corinth, a city that was, in those days, infamous for its sexual immorality: "Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don't you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one.' But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body." (I Cor.6:15-20)

Abstinence before marriage, and faithfulness within it, really is the only answer. How sad that it is rejected by so many!

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