Possibly because it is the first and foremost thing on many Soldiers’ minds, the US Army thought it would be a good idea to sit down and talk about the “birds and the bees.”
In a case of the truth being stranger than fiction, the Army released a “parent’s talk” on sex, writing in such a condescending way that one would think the author expected soldiers to be oblivious to the details that involve safe sex and STD/STI transmission.
“Sex is a topic that may be uncomfortable but it is a fact of life,” the informational write-up read. “Whether it’s a one-night thing, a new relationship or getting close with someone familiar, having the discussion of safe sex practices is important.”
The document goes into the high rate of STD and STI transfer in the US, particularly how chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases hit an all-time high for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017.
“No one knows why this is happening in the U.S.,” said Stephen Pinkerton, a nurse practitioner in Occupational Health. “A causal relationship has not been scientifically proven. There could be numerous factors, including: decreased use of condoms, increased unprotected sexual encounters, increased testing for STIs, antibiotic resistance, recurrent or repeat infections, not performing lab tests to ensure a cure has occurred 12 weeks after treatment, public health budget cuts, the rising popularity of dating apps, or some other cause that we have not yet even considered. Whatever the reasons, the increase in these numbers is alarming. In terms of prevention and treatment, the country is getting worse, not better. This marks the fifth consecutive year of sharp increases in reports of STIs.”
While the Army’s “sex talk” seems absurd, the aforementioned statistics -as well as horror stories told by Army medics and Navy corpsmen- and subsequent talk may be a necessary evil in the Armed Forces, considering that the military pulls young recruits from the civilian population.
Still, the “Army birds and the bees sit-down” conversation comes across in the same manner of a didactic father of eras gone by, puffing on his tobacco pipe as he explains to his son that mistreating your rifle will lead to catastrophic malfunctions.
The “talk” was written by Kenner Army Community Hospital personnel at Fort Lee, Virginia.
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