|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Better see a doctor - STDs are spreading like wildfire!
Aera 5/27 By Mark Schreiber
Just because a person doesn't patronize the sex business doesn't mean he or she is free from risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases(STDs).
In his ongoing series on medicine and health in Aera, veteran reporter Hiromichi Ugaya takes up the subject of STDs, which, he finds, appear to be spreading among Japan's population at a fearsome rate.
Dr. Yoshiaki Kumamoto, professor emeritus at Sapporo Medical College, provides Aera readers with some shocking findings.
A survey of 13 hospitals revealed 1,081 positive reactions to chlamydia, an infection of the urinary tract easily spread through sexual contact, out of 20,470 pregnant women - an incidence of 5.8 percent or about one person in 17.
Among female patients age 19 and under, however, the rate of infection is a shocking 18.9 percent.
Aera then quotes Isao Saito, a urologist at Tokyo Kyosai Hospital, as saying that about half the cases of urethritis he sees are caused by chlamydia, which currently surpasses that gonorrhea by a ratio of 5 to 1.
Perhaps more alarming is that this incidence of chlamydia has become more common among “amateurs”than it is among those involved in the sex industry.
A survey by a doctors'group in Saitama Prefecture determined that whereas 23 percent of the cases among people in the 20-30 age bracket were contracted at“soaplands”or “massage parlors,”those who became infected from a“friend of the opposite sex”or“spouse”accounted for 58 percent of the total.
Several decades ago, the traditional“season”for seeking medical attention for an STD used to be after the mid-August Obon holidays, and the main patients were young men who spent their company bonus in“pink”businesses.
But according to Saitama urologist Ryuzo Miyamura, over the past five years, this“season”has disappeared.
“Now,”Miyamura notes,“people with multiple sex partners have become widespread, which results in the passing on of infections to their own boyfriends and girlfriends.”
Miyamura points out that venereal disease(as opposed to STDs) has long been associated with customers in the“world of flowers and willows,”i.e., the commercial sex trade.
But anyone who is sexually active risks contracting some form of STD.
“Considering that as much as 5 percent of Japan's population now may be carriers, it puts STDs in the same category with high blood pressure. You can say that STDs have become one of our‘national ailments,’”he adds.
Why has chlamydia spread so rapidly? Professor Kumamoto tells Aera that its increased transmission is due to drastic changes in the scope of people's sexual behavior, particularly with regard to their having multiple partners.
“My worst fears are becoming a reality,”he remarks despondently.
Dr. Yutaka Masuda, a veteran physician who plies his trade near the Shinjuku neon district, confirms the view of changing sexual mores.
Compared with 1966, when Masuda's male patients outnumbered females by a ratio of 9 to 1, the ratio had dropped to 2:1 by last year.
“One aspect of sexual liberation is that women are led to believe that it's all right for them to enjoy sex,”says Masuda.
“But the pleasurable aspects of sex are being extolled without giving thought to the more adverse consequences.”
Another reason Aera cites for the explosion in chlamydia is the nature of the disease itself; In its early stages, 70 percent of females and 40 percent of males who contract it are asymptomatic, i.e., they are not even aware that they are infected.
Thus, carriers unknowingly pass it on to others.
Due to difficulties in diagnosis, chlamydia, which can also be spread through oral-genital contact, had previously been treated as nonspecific urethritis; but advances in diagnostic technology during the 1980s have made it readily identifiable.
How can you be sure that both you and your partner are really safe from infection? Dr. Kumamoto recommends the following: First, get tested at the same time.
If one or the other tests positive, obtain immediate treatment.
And of course, when engaging in sex with anyone who has not been tested, be sure to use a condom.
In closing, Aera warns that people who don't take sufficient precautions against the more easily curable STDs may also be considered potential candidates for HIV infection as well.(MS)