Ross Olson's Web Site

Social Issues: Letters


To the Editor
Infectious Disease in Children

Dear Editor,

I thank you for printing my previous letter on promotion of sexual abstinence to teens. Now that there have been four published replies, I hope I may be allowed to comment. Most recently, Dr. David Cimino considers it "presumptive, dangerous and oppressive" to promote "one partner for life," and wonders "by what standard" I can claim this should be the goal for sexuality. This is a common response and seems to imply that my view locks battered women into abusive marriages.

Let me remind us all what a "goal" really is. It is our goal that teens not smoke, but if they start, it is our goal that they quit. We don't change our goal for all teens to "smoke for less than one year" or some other halfway measure. The basis for the recommendation is obvious if you think about it. If two people remain sexually abstinent, then enter into an exclusive relationship and remain faithful, they do not get sexually transmitted diseases. This is a mathematical fact. One partner (or zero partners) for life mean no risk. More than one partner increases risk. And, emotionally, broken sexual relationships can lead to either unhealing wounds or a callused attitude that simply uses other people for personal pleasure. Yes, someone can be widowed, or divorced for good reason, but that is not a goal. And, in fact, by learning as much about a potential partner before the bonding of sexual intimacy begins, there is much less chance of missing the signs of a future abusive relationship.

Regarding School Based Clinics, here in the land of their origin perhaps I have a jaundiced view of their goals. I have seen examples of clinic personnel sincerely believing that they know better for kids than the parents do and making major life-changing decisions for the teen without consultation. Also, there have been examples of deception, sending home permission slips, implying that if not signed, the child will not be able to use the clinic, but then citing state law when seeing the teen for sex or drug related problems. Dr. Cimino says his school-based clinic does not provide contraception, but to clarify, does that mean that they do not refer for contraception or abortion or pass out condoms "for disease reduction?" By claiming that by law they must provide STD services, does that imply that he thinks it is a good idea to exclude parents from knowledge of these encounters? What if the 9th grade girl's boyfriend is 21 or she is being recruited for a strip club?


Ross S. Olson MD FAAP
5512 14th Ave. So.
Minneapolis MN 55417
Phone 612-824-7691
Office 952-431-8546

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