The high toll of the sexual revolution on the lives of Americans was made apparent in a recently published study showing 1.3 percent of all American deaths to be caused by sexual behavior. The study, from the current edition of the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections , examined data from 1998 to determine the overall health burden caused by sexual activity in the US and found that women "bear a disproportionately high proportion" of the cost that comes with sexual liberation.
The study, authored by three researchers from the Centers for Disease Control, examined "adverse health outcomes" that result from sexual activity including sexually transmitted diseases, viruses and
infections, infertility and abortions. More men then women died in 1998 as a result of sexual behaviour - 19,634 men compared to 10,148 women. But almost all of the deaths in men were caused by HIV. "If HIV related mortality were excluded, more than 80% of sexual behavior related mortality would be among . . . women." The study found that 5,914 women died of non-HIV related sexual behavior; for men the number was number 1,413.
While HIV killed 4,234 women, it was cervical cancer that was leading cause of death for women claiming 4,921 lives transmitted disease. That it causes more deaths than HIV is notable due to
the politically charged nature of HPV. Because condoms do not protect against HPV, a fact acknowledged by the American Cancer Society, pro-family organizations have pointed to it as proof that sexual health can be insured only by abstinence until a monogamous marriage. Planned Parenthood Federation of America has in the past accused such organizations of engaging in "an alarmist and misleading public policy and media campaign."
Beyond death the report also examines the overall health effects of sexual behavior. It found that in the course of one year, 7.5 percent of Americans suffered from almost 20 million incidences of negative health effects brought on by sexual behavior. Of such cases women suffered a disproportionate 62 percent including 2.5 million cases of gonorrhea and 2.6 million cases of trichomoniasis.
The study also calculated the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) cost for illnesses brought on by sexual behavior. DALY is a number that combines into a single measurement the loss of healthy years of life that result from an illness with the years of life cut short by premature death due to an illness. Sexual behavior cost women 1,224,953 disability adjusted life years while men came in under one million.
The report did not buffet the bad news with hopeful predictions and called this a problem not likely to go away soon. "[G]iven the size and chronicity of HIV, HPV, and other hepatitis virus epidemics, the overall health burden related to sexual behaviour is unlikely to decline rapidly in coming years."
© 2005 Culture of Life Foundation. February 8, 2005, Volume 2, Number 27.