New York City's New Slogan: I visited NYC and all I got was this lousy STD
In Mayor Michael Bloomberg's on-going quest to be a nanny to all New York City denizens, he has banned the sale of large sodas and sugary drinks, waged war on trans fats, is rumored to be going after popcorn, milkshakes and milk-coffee drinks, and would like to see a twenty-five percent reduction in the sodium content in all U.S. food. In order to protect the homeless from unhealthy food (as if that's their biggest problem), he banned food donations to homeless shelters because the city could not tell what the salt, fiber, and fat content was in the donated food. Well, they might not have any place to live, but the homeless in NYC will not have to worry about hypertension or obesity at least, with Nanny Bloomberg on the job.
But while Mayor Bloomberg focuses like a laser beam on the dangers of eating, what is he doing to stem the rising tide of sexually transmitted diseases in his city?
New York City's Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control recently released its report about the rates of STDs in NYC in 2010. Here is a chart from the report showing the number of new cases in 2010 (the syphilis numbers represent primary and secondary syphilis and the hepatitis cases are acute only).
How do the average rates for the six sexually transmitted diseases in New York City compare to the national averages? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2010 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillances, New York City's rates are significantly higher.
According to the CDC for 2010, the national rate per 100,000 people for:
- Chlamydia was 4261 (NYC is almost twice this rate)
- Gonorrhea it was 100.82 (NYC is 50 percent higher than the national average)
- Primary and Secondary Syphilis it was 4.53 (NYC is almost three times higher)
- HIV/AIDS it was 16.14 (NYC is almost three times higher)
- Hepatitis B it was 1.15 (NYC's rate is almost 118 times the national average)
- Hepatitis C it was .36 (NYC's rate is 410 times higher than the national average)
We have heard for years that condoms are the answer. CWA's report, "Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Cost of Free Love," shows that condoms reduce the risk of transmission, but they are not a guarantee for preventing sexually transmitted diseases. However, NYC has been handing out condoms for free since 1971 and in 2007 started distributing condoms with the "NYC Condom" logo, all in the name of "safe sex."
The 2008 Valentine's Day press release about the new packaging for the condoms stated, in part, "Staying safe in New York City just got even sexier. The Health Department today unveiled a brand new look for the NYC Condom and launched a cutting-edge media campaign to encourage New Yorkers to 'get some.'"
In 2009, they distributed 40,000,000 free condoms. They "got some" alright. In 2010, they had astronomical STD rates.
In 2011, NYC parents urged the NYC's Department of Education to provide students with abstinence-only classes. The request was denied. NYC instead decided that thirteen schools would be dispensing Reclipsen and Depo Provera birth control drugs, Plan B morning-after pills, and administering pregnancy tests without parental consent or knowledge that their child was requesting or receiving them.
For all schools in NYC, the sex education curriculum workbooks included these helpful exercises:
- High-school students go to stores and jot down condom brands, prices, and features such as lubrication.
- Teens research a route from school to a clinic that provides birth control and STD tests, and write down its confidentiality policy.
- Kids ages 11 and 12 sort "risk cards" to rate the safety of various activities, including "intercourse using a condom and an oil-based lubricant," mutual masturbation, French kissing, oral sex, and anal sex.
In the first quarter of 2012, 15- to 19-year-olds had the highest rates of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in NYC, followed by 20- to 24-year-olds.7 Even though supplying emergency contraception seems to be the new trend, as seen in those thirteen NYC schools, a study released in 2012 showed that it actually increases the rate of STDs.
What will New York City's STD Surveillance report show next year? In all likelihood, it will show higher STD rates are just the cost for New Yorkers "getting some." But at least Mayor Bloomberg is protecting them from salt, sugar, and fat. I wonder if the Mayor's protections provide a measure of comfort to those dealing with a newly diagnosed, often untreatable STD?
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2010 (Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 2011): 87-88, http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats10/surv2010.pdf (accessed December 13, 2012).
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV Surveillance Report, 2010, Volume 22, 6, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2010report/pdf/2010_HIV_Surveillance_Report_vol_22.pdf#Page=5 (accessed December 13, 2012).
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Viral Hepatitis Surveillance, United States 2010, 15, http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Statistics/2010Surveillance/PDFs/2010HepSurveillanceRpt.pdf (accessed December 13, 2012).
- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control,
- Quarterly Report Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2012. 4-5, http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/std/std-quarterlyreport2012-1.pdf (accessed December 13, 2012).
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