Sunday, March 30, 2008

Incarcerating men increases STDs in women

Thanks to The Nation’s guestblogger Samhita Mukhopadhyay for the heads up on the link between incarceration and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Samhita blogs for Feministing and is a member of WireTap's advisory board. Having blogged at The Nation on the rate of incarceration in the US, then on STDs and teenage girls, she was informed by a reader of
a study that came out years ago on the connections between rate of STD cases and the rate of incarceration. The conclusion? Women in communities with higher rates of incarceration are more susceptible to high rates of STD exposure, even when they are engaging in low risk behavior.
Expanding on the Washington Post’s spotlight on the study, Samhita points out that the issue is NOT, as the news articles might make it seem, that women are running around having multiple partners and spreading STDs while their men are in jail, but that the emasculation occurring in communities with high incarceration rates leads men to greater sexual risk taking, as well as rape. She therefore calls on the feminist and anti-incarceration movements to work together—a call I heartily second.

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