Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Hitting below the belt

There are few things more difficult than having to tell your partner that you may have given them a sexually transmitted disease. Some decide that it is just too difficult, and do not tell their past partners at all, putting them in serious medical danger. The creators of the inSPOT Web site, which lets those infected with STDs send anonymous notifications to their partners, had good intentions. However, the very fact that this kind of service is seen as a necessity is a sad commentary on our society’s standards regarding sexual behavior and responsibility.

The need to prevent the spread of STDs has never been greater. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that more cases of chlamydia than ever before were reported to the CDC in 2007. Cases of syphilis, which can spread to major organs and increase the likelihood of contracting HIV, were up 15 percent from 2006. If infected individuals are unaware that they have contracted an STD, they run the risk of passing it onto another partner. If an e-card can reach the infected person before this happens, then the ends will justify the means.

Nevertheless, this anonymous method of communication is not the way one should be dealing with STD transparency. If people think they are mature enough to be having sex, then they need to take responsibility for their actions. Those who are too ashamed to tell their partner in person that they may have given them an STD need to reevaluate their sexual behavior.

The disappearance of face to face communication in so many different aspects of our lives is troubling, but even more so when it comes to something as personal as sexual discussion. Sending a colorful e-card is hardly an appropriate birthday message, never mind the best way to convey less than optimistic news about sexual health. The ingenuity of the inSPOT campaign may end up slowing the spread of STDs, but it is time for people to take responsibility for their sexual conduct. Owning up to giving someone an STD may not be the easiest thing to do, but at least people are giving their partners the respect they deserve.

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