Jessica Ladd – TRANSCRIPT
Hello. So, sex is awesome, right? Like, it’s really awesome that we get to have sex with other people. But there are things about sex that are less awesome. Things like STDs. STDs are not awesome. And I grew up in a generation where a quarter of us were infected with STDs. And I grew up in a city, San Francisco, where, when I was growing up, I was convinced that I was going to die of AIDS, because that’s what people did around me. They died of AIDS.
And I live in a city now, Baltimore, where half of the black men who have sex with men, who are tested for HIV, come back as positive. STDs are not awesome. STDs can kill you. STDs can cause infertility and do cause infertility in thousands of women every year. STDs cause ectopic pregnancy, which is when a pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus, which can actually kill a woman. And STDs cause weird discharge, and bumps, and herpes, and warts. And all of these things totally suck. And even if you don’t have symptoms, even if you don’t have long-term health complications, STDs still are not awesome.
And the thing about STDs is that they cause billions of dollars in health care spending every year. And we still don’t seem to make them a very high priority. And STDs, luckily in some ways, are sexually transmitted. They’re spread through sexual networks. And not everybody who’s part of an infected sexual network will themselves become infected. Some people use condoms. Some people are just lucky. And of those people who do become infected, most won’t show any symptoms — It depends a little bit on the STDs — but most people won’t show symptoms, they won’t get diagnosed and they’ll continue to spread the infection. Luckily, some people do become diagnosed. Sometimes, it’s because they have symptoms. Sometimes, it’s routine screening.