The STD superbug

 

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For the last 60 years, we have enjoyed a period where most infections have been easy to treat. That time could be coming to an end.

I should know, I’ve worked in the area of antimicrobial drug resistance. It’s a constant race with the bugs. We develop a new antibiotic, and after a while, we see the first signs of resistance appearing. Then the resistance spreads, until finally that antibiotic becomes useless. Then it’s time to move to the next antibiotic, if one exists. Earlier this month the Herald reported that this is happening with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the cause of gonorrhoea. And there are no more antibiotics left to treat it.

This is a concern because of the poor advice given about STDs. Often STDs are described as being easy to treat or cure. That’s not consistent with the advice about infectious diseases from outside the ‘sexual health’ area. How often do hospitals advise visitors to stay away if they are sick? Yet in the ‘sexual health’ area, the advice is to just use condoms. That would be like the hospital saying, ‘come at visit no matter how much you are coughing and sneezing, just wear a face mask”.

Anyone in public health would see that as irresponsible.

But the ‘just wear a condom’ advice is given particularly to young people who are consistently the worst at using condoms, and who are the most vulnerable to catching STDs.

The rates of gonorrhoea have been dropping for teenagers in NZ, as have been the rates chlamydia and abortions. This could well be because young people are having less sex and fewer partners. It’s a trend that should be encouraged. Living a chaste life is the best protection against all STDs. Not just gonorrhoea. That includes other STDs like HPV, which can continue to spread even with consistent condom use. Chaste living also protects against any STDs that we don’t yet know about.

Fighting microbes isn’t fighting a fixed target. New species of microbes turn up from time to time. New strains of the old bugs emerge all the time. Sometimes more virulent, sometimes less. The one constant feature is that the drugs that we use to treat them become useless in time.

With gonorrhoea, this started with penicillin and tetracycline, and then fluoroquinolones. Ceftriaxone is the last drug left. And last year there were reports of resistance to ceftriaxone in Auckland and Waikato. If one strain acquires high levels of resistance to all these drugs, it will become untreatable. It’s probably only a matter of time before that happens. Then our oldest protection against STDs will become our only protection: Chastity.

So why are there no more antibiotics left? One of the main reasons is economics. It costs a great deal of money to develop any drug. If the drug is a contraceptive, and going to be used daily for decades, the drug company can get its development costs back. If it’s an antibiotic, and only going to be used for a 2 week course, the chances are recovering development costs aren’t very good. So the forces that rubbish chastity and push contraceptives onto our society are the same forces that tolerate the harm done when a chaste life is abandoned.

It’s called the culture of death.

Why are they not telling women the information they want about abortion and breast cancer?

I had a few ‘pro-choice’ activists visit me in the office this week. They were obviously wanting to know a bit about what we are doing, and were polite enough to visit in person. This differs greatly from my experience in the past. I remember a vigil outside an abortion clinic many years ago. One of the pro-abortion counter protesters had a sign reading, ‘If Mary had an abortion, there would be no Christians”. Obviously they were going out of they way to offend us. But not my visitors of this week. They actually were polite, although for one of them, it was a rather assertive form of politeness. After helping themselves to some of our literature, they were kind enough to give me some of their own.

As soon as it was put in my hand I saw something that was wrong. Their brochure said that there was “no association between abortion and breast cancer”. They are obviously referring to the work of Joel Brind, but they made a really bold claim. If they had stuck to a causal link between abortion and breast cancer, they would have had many official organisations to back them up. Joel Brind’s work is controversial, and is not widely accepted outside the pro-life community. But they crossed the line from talking about causality, to using the word ‘association’. And in doing so, they crossed the line between what is ‘officially’ accepted and what is propaganda.

If a young pregnant woman asks whether having an abortion will mean she is more likely to get breast cancer, there are some clear answers, and they aren’t at all controversial.

Research has demonstrated that having children lowers the risk of breast cancer. The younger the age of the women at the first birth, the lower her risk of breast cancer. Also the more children a women has, the lower her risk. Some studies state that each child lowers the risk by 7%. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk, by 4 -5% per year of breastfeeding. Obviously, if the women aborts the child, she doesn’t get the protection of a full term pregnancy.

Some organisations warn that there is a short term increase in breast cancer risk after childbirth, and a slight increase in risk for women who have their first and only birth after the age of 35. I really don’t think that pro abortion groups are going to want to mention this, after all, if they do, then are going to have to admit that for the majority of women, childbirth and breastfeeding provides significant protection against breast cancer. And a woman who receives an abortion doesn’t get the benefit of breastfeeding, or a full term pregnancy.

So lets go back to our young pregnant woman considering an abortion, and wanting to know how it affects her risk of breast cancer. If she is a teen, and having a first baby, there is a very significant reduction in risk of breast cancer by giving birth to her baby. If she is in her 20’s, there is still a significant protection against breast cancer compared with not giving birth, or waiting until her 30’s. If she has already given birth to a child before the current pregnancy, there is still a modest protective effect of giving birth to the child she is currently pregnant with. And with any child born, she can breastfeed, which also lowers her risk of breast cancer. She won’t get any of this protection if she has an abortion. So when a pregnant woman asks about abortion and her chances of getting breast cancer, the answer for most of them is that if they have the abortion, their chances of getting breast cancer will be higher than if they let their unborn child live.

And none of that relies on controversial science.

I explained this to my pro-choice visitors. One of them immediately expressed his doubts and said he was going to look up this information. I hope he does. He might receive an education.

More information:

The New Zealand Breast cancer foundation, Lower the risk of breast cancer

Wikipedia, Risk factors for breast cancer

Susan G Komen, Lower your risk

 

Down Syndrome Ante-Natal Screening Debate Heats Up

Midwives attending antenatal screening seminars in the North Island this month have been met with unexpected participants.  The seminars predominently address the Down Syndrome screening programme and are funded by the National Screening Unit (NSU).

These seminars are co-presented by the NZ College of Midwives and the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners.  People with Down Syndrome and parents and caregivers of those with Down Syndrome are attending the seminars.  They want the midwives in attendance to know that people with DS have inherent dignity and should not be targeted for termination in what should be a nurturing place – the womb.

Those attending the free seminars are handing out a fact sheet “11 Facts for Midwives, GPs and Parents to Know” in the hope that the midwives will see that pre-born babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome have a right to be born.  An interesting discussion is being held over at Stuff.co.nz about this subject.

The National Screening Unit has rolled out a screening programme for all pregnant women in New Zealand to detect Down Syndrome in pre-born babies.  90% of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in-utero go on to be aborted.  Which of course has to be the aim of the programme.  Why would the NSU invest so much into the programme if this was not the intention?

It is the opinion of Family Life International NZ and Saving Downs (whom we are working with on this issue) that the screening programme is in actuality an eugenics programme.  On August 4th, we are co-hosting a one day seminar “Loving Every Child:  Defying Eugenics” with Saving Downs.  Attendance is essential for doctors, midwives, parents, caregivers and all people who want to learn more about the targeted assault on pre-born babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.  Find out more here.