Unprotected sex often leaves concrete reminders of fleeting, temporal encounters, so, in honor of the Feb. 12 issue's sex theme, the curmudgeons at the news desk offer the following public service announcement:
By the end of December 2011, a total of 10,279 persons were living with HIV/AIDS in the state of Indiana. State health officials in 2012 also logged 29,505 reported cases of chlamydia, 7,338 cases of gonorrhea and 224 cases of syphilis (which starts with a painless mark and then can progress through fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue - and, if untreated, on to paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia).
And there is always herpes: Nationwide, 16 percent of people aged 14 to 49 years have herpes simplex type two (think painful lesions on genitals and/or mouth), according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Abortions are another undesirable outcome of unprotected sex: A total 8,808 "induced pregnancy terminations" occurred in 2012, down from 9,112 the year earlier.
Some of these scenarios, unappetizing as they are, are important to review to underscore the ever-important lesson (or, perhaps, lesion) that sex has consequences and that condoms - available for free at your local Planned Parenthood - are essential equipment for sexplorers seeking to chart unfamiliar territory.
This message, while elementary, is going unheeded, if the results from the most recent Indiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey are any indication, which found that while
49.2 percent of surveyed teens reported having had sex - with about a third sexually active at the time surveyed - only 58 percent used a condom during their last sexual encounter.