Congressional Action Needed To Address High STI Rates in U.S., Particularly Among Black Women, Opinion Piece States
"We can no longer be silent" about the rising sexually transmitted infection rates in the U.S., particularly in the black community, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) writes in a Seattle Medium opinion piece, noting the findings of a recent study that found that one in four teenage girls has an STI. The study also found that about 50% of young black women, compared with 20% of young white women, have an STI, Jones writes.
"These infections can lead to long-term health risks including chronic pain, infertility, tubal pregnancies and cervical cancer," Jones writes, adding that STIs also "often carry with them a stigma and feelings of shame for patients and leads to long-term emotional suffering and stress for families." Jones says that the "abstinence-only education [policy] touted by the Bush administration is simply not enough" and that more candid conversations about the risks of having unprotected sex are needed.
In light of the study's findings, Jones, along with 60 other lawmakers of both parties, has introduced a resolution "urging the House of Representatives to focus greater attention on activities related to the prevention, screening and treatment" of STIs, she writes. She adds that the resolution "supports the goals of National STD Awareness Month by encouraging the federal government ... to provide additional funding for screening and treatment services and requests increased programming and activities to educate Americans of all ages on the risks and prevention" of STIs.
Jones continues, "Additionally, we need to begin discussing the issue of [STIs] in our schools, churches and homes in order to stem the tide of this growing problem," concluding, "We must take action on this issue before it's too late" (Jones, Seattle Medium, 4/30).