Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Use a condom!

Gonorrhea was basically untreatable, or in any event the treatment wasn't much good, until the 1930s, but that didn't last long because the little buggers quickly evolved resistance to sulfa drugs. Along came penicillin, which was good until the mid-1970s, then we lost that one. Then we went to antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. Alas, by 2007, resistant strains emerged so CDC recommended use of cephalosporins, most commonly Ceftriaxone.

You know what's coming, right? Celphalosporin resistant gonorrhea has appeared in Asia and Europe, and now it's here in the Greatest Country on Earth.™ It isn't very common yet but it won't be long. The real bummer is that gonorrhea is still resistant to the older antibiotics. Sometimes, when we stop using an antibiotic, the germs devolve their resistance, because the resistant strains are otherwise at a selective disadvantage in the absence of the chemical. Not so in this case. There is nothing left.

Public health programs in the U.S. have been steadily defunded in recent years, meaning that STD prevention and treatment programs have been weakened. Preventing the further spread of resistance requires identifying people with STDs as early as possible, treating them effectively, and of course preventing new infections from happening in the first place. One suggestion -- don't go to Catholic hospitals or affiliated clinics. They won't give out condoms or advise people to use them. That's because the Catholic bishops hate humanity.

Another suggestion -- don't vote for politicians who oppose comprehensive sexuality education in the schools, who oppose publicly funded research into sexual behavior and associated epidemiology, or who want to cut funding for public health programs and public health research, or who don't want to teach children the true facts about evolution. Do vote for politicians who want to increase support for public health. It's usually an easy choice because the party label will tell you.

And behave responsibly in your own life. That is all. We will be really sorry if this gets any worse.

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