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The Trump Effect is Causing a Rise in STIs

The Trump Effect is Causing a Rise in STIs


As ignorance prevails, sexually transmitted infection rates spike in the United States.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent report  showed a growing and alarmingly large increase in STIs in 2015, especially in gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

This may seem shocking to some, and  will invariably lead to rhetoric stigmatizing and  blaming the rise of STIs among certain groups in particular on the rising use of PrEP. (Although experts have already said that's not true, as STI rates began rising long before PrEP became more widely used).

I want to preclude the inane reasoning about causation we're sure to see with this announcement. This explosion in transmission rates did not occur in a vacuum. It’s no accident that the rise of and popularity of the Donald Trump/Mike Pence presidential ticket is happening concurrently with skyrocketing STI rates.

Here's why we're in this dilemma. No one actually reads beyond headlines anymore. No one educates themselves. People often feel their opinions are just as valid as facts. How many times have you seen a response on a Facebook post that says something to this effect of “I didn’t read this  [article  you posted] but here’s my knee jerk, poorly written and argued [ad hoc, unimformed] opinion on what I think about the headline I just looked at. #ijs [I'm just sayin'].”

That folks, is what passes for an in-depth discussion of a serious topic to a  considerable portion of our fellow citizens these days.

We’ve already seen this lack of concern for fact-checking in the national primary and presidential debates, to the point that major news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post are covering  which candidate was actually lying on their front pages. And it's accounted  for so many poorly written, poorly structured, false equivalency statements by virtually every major news outlet that I’ve lost count.

I believe this is emblematic of what Chelsea Clinton has called "The Trump Effect." Donald Trump can lie about virtually anything  and get away with it because an increasingly large percentage of the population is not informed enough to know any better. His running mate Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, is even worse, especially when it comes to STIs. His policies in Indiana caused the largest outbreak of HIV among heterosexuals in the years. Pence's dastardly campaign of misinformation and hypocritical moral false equivalencies has caused Indiana to be the fulcrum of a huge rise in teen pregnancy, HIV, and STIs that is surely a foreshadowing of what is to come if he's at the top of the country's chain of authority.

The same folks who can’t be bothered to care to know the truth of the Republican party's policy positions, not just the reality TV star leading the ticket, are also going to consider any medical, scientific, or public health messages to be a part of the same "rigged system" that Trump espouses as having disenfranchised the "average" American citizen. 

A campaign of ignorance isn't just a disservice to our country's commitment to civilized political discourse and the (for lack of a better phrase) once gentlemanly art of debate. No, it's a a huge detriment to your health and mine, and come November 9th, it could get even worse.


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