Our View: Facing the music on STIs

There’s a centuries-old saying about good intentions most people should be familiar with. And while the idea of reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections is noble, there are a few problems with the plan to let people email their lovers to warn them they could have an STI.

There’s a centuries-old saying about good intentions most people should be familiar with. And while the idea of reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections is noble, there are a few problems with the plan to let people email their lovers to warn them they could have an STI.

First of all, the rather cute e-cards developed for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control could make some people believe the issue of STIs is not something to take seriously.

This is particularly a concern for young people who are just beginning an active sex life.

The ability to send these e-cards anonymously, with quips about being “screwed” or taken “out of action” is supposed to make it easier for people to warn their lovers to get checked. That’s great if it allows someone to get a diagnosis and be treated before a disease can do irreparable damage. However, there’s a problem if the message some people hear is that transmitting an STI is no big deal because you can anonymously inform your partners after the fact.

Managing intimate relationships has always been tricky territory for men and women. That’s no exception for the current generation of young adults who seem to spend as much time communicating electronically as they do in person. Many older adults find it mind-boggling that some people feel it’s fair to end a relationship by changing your status on Facebook. And maybe it’s a little old-fashioned but we share the belief that some things should be done in person.

Having sex requires a level of maturity and if someone is old enough to be intimate with another person they need to be able to understand the potential consequences of their action. It’s fine to take a shortcut if it saves someone from a lifetime of suffering because of an untreated STI. But let’s not pretend sending an anonymous e-card is the same as taking personal responsibility. The only way to do that is to face the music and talk to your partner (or partners) in person.

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