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What Does Sex Cost?

In her book Epidemic: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Teens, pediatrician Meg Meeker describes the teenage patients she began to see in her middle and upper-income suburban practice starting in the 1990s:

Fourteen-year-old Lori almost died in the emergency room from an abscess on her ovary caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, brought on by chlamydia contracted while having sex with her boyfriend.  With one ovary removed and the other badly scarred, Dr. Meeker writes that it's unlikely Lori will be able to bear children.

Seventeen-year-old Alex came into her office in serious pain from blisters caused by what turned out to be genital herpes.  Dr. Meeker was able to given him pain medication and antibiotics, but she also had to explain to Alex that herpes is a virus and it would always be with him.  The three girls with whom he's had sex had to be notified of their possible exposure.  In a visit one year later, Alex confided to Dr. Meeker that he had considered suicide.

Meg was a college freshman who'd started having sex at age 17 with her boyfriend.  He was followed by another boyfriend, who was followed by two others "a coupla times with each."  Now, at the age of 19, Meg had been diagnosed with several strains of HPV (human papillomavirus).  Her pap smear showed the presence of precancerous cells, caused by the HPV.  Part of Meg's cervix had to be removed to prevent full-blown cancer, and Dr. Meeker learned from the gynecologist later that it will be difficult for Meg to bear children.

These are just three cases. With one in four sexually active teens infected with at least one sexually transmitted infection, what could it cost to have sex? It could cost you your future family and much happiness.


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