Friday, November 3, 2006

Sex in the News

According to a study published in the medical journal, the Lancet, people in Western countries tend to be more promiscuous than those in developing nations. People in rich countries tend to have more sexual partners, though monogamy is the predominant world pattern.

Nevertheless, the rate of AIDS, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases is higher in developing nations than in western nations. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that factors such as poverty and mobility had more to do with the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases than promiscuity did.

The study noted that almost everywhere, teens typically become sexually active between ages 15 and 19, and though most in this age group reported only one partner in the last year, that those who had had sex with more than one person most often came from a western country.

The report's author, Professor Kaye Wellings said, "This suggests social factors such as poverty, mobility and gender equality may be a stronger factor in sexual ill-health than promiscuity." She went on to say, "The selection of public-health messages needs to be guided by epidemiological evidence rather than by myths and moral stances."

On the other side of the Atlantic, former Surgeons General Joycelyn Elders and David Satcher told a news conference in San Francisco that an education campaign to increase "sexual literacy" was needed to reduce the incidence of sexual transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. They noted that the current American focus on
promoting abstinence has not lowered levels of sexually transmitted diseases,

"The vows of abstinence break far more easily than latex condoms," Elders said. Satcher added that it would be an "injustice" if sexual education did not go beyond encouraging abstinence.


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