Sunday 8 November 2009

The 12 STD's of Christmas

I came across this story in the Independent yesterday (no pun intended). The author, Mary Wakefield seems to have been rather upset by this adaptation of the Christmas classic. Click Here to hear this catchy ditty. The Lyrics start with "On the first day of Christmas, My true love gave to me, a bug that made it hard to pee". Mary Wakefield seems to be rather upset that this is being used by the education service to raise awareness of the risks of promiscuity and to promote the use of condoms. To quote her article :-
On days four to 12, sang the happy health workers, my true love gave to me, in this order: genital herpes, gonorrhoea, pubic lice, hepatitis, trichomoniasis, genital warts, scabies, pelvic inflammatory disease and crabs. The song is called The 12 STDs of Xmas and I think (though I hope I'm wrong) it was accompanied by slides.
Afterwards, the NHS minstrels left very pleased with themselves – instructive and fun too! But the kids sat in worried silence. They were traumatised, said my friend. No wonder. Their spongey little brains were learning to associate true love with herpes and Christmas with lumpy testicles.
This sort of article, normally more at home on the pages of the Daily Mail, never cease to amaze me. Firstly she doesn't say what age the children targeted were. She mentioned that Ed Balls was bringing in mandatory warts and all sex education for five year olds. Now you'd instantly think "Oh I don't want my five year old listening to that". The thing that bothers me is that although she drew this link, it is quite clear that the song wasn't sung to five year olds. As ever, the devil is in the detail. When I was 14 years old, I didn't even know what an STD was. I was blissfully unaware of all of the things which I could catch. Would the 12 STD's of Xmas changed my behaviour? I doubt it, but I'm sure it would have got the message across. If I'd have got a bad itch or a sore on my private parts, I'd have kept very quiet. At least todays kids know that they need medical attention.

As to the message that you should wear a condom. It's all about damage limitation. I've got teenage daughters and I'd fell much more comfortable with them abstaining from sex. If they sought my advice (which I think they'd rather hang themselves than do) on such matters, I'd certainly tell them to wait. If they wouldn't, I'd ask them to make sure they were on the pill & used condoms. If this song could help modify their behaviour, I'd play it to them. Oh and before you ask, yup I'm a church attending Roman Catholic, but one who believes in damage limitation and isn't ready to become a grandad just yet.

Having said all of that, I think that they are sending the wrong message. You see, I believe that drink and/or drugs plays a major role in many teenagers getting pregnant. People loose their inhibitions and that is when the problems happen. I suspect that if teenagers are given things to do which don't include drinking, then teenage pregnancy rates will drop. That is my bugbear with these campaigns. My 14 year old daughter spends virtually all of her leisure time surrounded by nearly naked men, but I doubt she's in much danger of getting pregnant. She's a swimmer and by the time she finishes her 11 sessions a week, she's completely knackered. I know this isn't the answer for everyone, but I suspect boredom plays a major role in under age sex and relationships. Organisations such as scouts, guides, youth clubs, sport and music projects etc are the solution. Is it any wonder that teenage pregancy rises as councils sell off playing fields and youth clubs?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read the same article. Find it astonishing that a journalist would cite her source as being a friend chatting outside a supermarket! It was a huge distortion of facts and to be honest, more kids will have watched the youtube video than would have ever heard it within school walls. Good post!