“It is imperative that we… work to rebuild, innovate, and expand [STD] prevention in the U.S.,” Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a speech Monday at a medical conference on sexually transmitted diseases, the Associated Press reported.
Solutions include home test kits for some STDs that will make it easier for people to learn they are infected and to take steps to prevent spreading it to others, said Mena.
But Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said a core part of efforts must be to increase condom use.
“It’s pretty simple. More sexually transmitted infections occur when people are having more unprotected sex,” Saag said.
The monkeypox outbreak has added another layer of concern, because the virus has been spreading largely between men who have sex with men.
Public health organizations and the National Coalition of STD Directors are calling for more federal funding, including $500 million for STD clinics.
Mena suggested reducing stigma, broadening screening and treatment, and supporting the development of at-home testing.
“I envision one day where getting tested [for STDs] can be as simple and as affordable as doing a home pregnancy test,” Mena said.
While syphilis cases dropped sharply with the availability of antibiotics in the 1940s, rates of the infection last year reached their highest since 1991. The total number of cases reached its highest level since 1948.
At one point, infection rates had been so low the CDC planned to work to eliminate the disease, but the agency discarded those plans in 2013 as case numbers continued to grow, the AP reported.
Cases have been rising since 2002, primarily in gay and bisexual men. In 1998, there were only 7,000 new syphilis cases nationwide. By 2021, that number was 52,000, the AP reported.
The rate of cases was 16 per 100,000 people last year, with the highest rates in men who have sex with men and in Black and Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, the AP reported.
Women have typically had a lower rate than men, but it rose 50% last year.
Syphilis causes genital sores. The bacterial infection can lead to severe symptoms and death without treatment.
Congenital syphilis, which passes the infection between a pregnant woman and her baby, can lead to loss of sight, hearing and even death in a newborn. Last year, congenital syphilis cases reached 2,700, including 211 infants who were stillborn or died. That’s a sharp increase from 300 cases annually a decade ago, the AP reported.
Infection rates for gonorrhea have also been increasing for years, while HIV cases were up 16% in 2021, the AP reported.
It is “out of control,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the AP.
Reasons for the increase range from inadequate funding for testing and prevention to delayed diagnosis during the pandemic. Condom use has also been declining, while drug and alcohol use may have reduced inhibitions. Increases may also be linked to a surge in sexual activity after COVID-19 lockdowns.
File your formal complaint in opposition to Biden’s public school rule proposal
Last year, we tried to stop the U.S. Senate from confirming a radical to President Joe Biden’s Department of Education. Despite our warnings, LGBTQ activist Catherine Lhamon was approved to the Office of Civil Rights and is now driving her agenda to force all public schools in America to allow biological males who identify as female to use the girls’ restroom and locker room.
The Department of Education under Lhamon is now proposing a new rule that will put women’s safety and privacy at risk and deprive women of athletic and professional opportunities. It would do so by radically rewriting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
TAKE ACTION NOW
If this rule is approved, biological males would be able to:
Openly change in girl’s dressing rooms.
Take college and university scholarships specifically reserved for women.
Use their position to charge schools with discrimination if they feel they aren’t getting enough “playing” time.
File a formal sexual harassment complaint against any female who speaks out against men in women’s sports.
Share hotel rooms with females during overnight trips.
Enjoy physical advantages like greater lung capacity, higher bone density, and greater muscle mass.
Title IX already prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It’s enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The new rule proposed by Biden’s Department of Education will redefine “sex” to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
Sincerely, Tim Tim Wildmon, President American Family Association
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46 dead after trailer carrying migrants found in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Forty-six people were found dead in and near a tractor-trailer and 16 others were taken to hospitals in a presumed migrant smuggling attempt into the United States, officials in San Antonio said.
It’s among the deadliest tragedies to have claimed thousands of lives of people attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico in recent decades. Ten migrants died in 2017 after being trapped inside a truck that was parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In 2003, 19 migrants were found in a sweltering truck southeast of San Antonio.
South Texas has long been the busiest area for illegal border crossings. Migrants ride in vehicles though Border Patrol checkpoints to San Antonio, the closest major city, from which point they disperse across the United States.
A city worker at the scene on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio was alerted to the situation by a cry for help shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, Police Chief William McManus said. Officers arrived to find a body on the ground outside the trailer and a partially opened gate to the trailer, he said.
Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer as a grim symbol of the calamity. Bodies still remained inside.
Of the 16 taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses, 12 were adults and four were children, said Fire Chief Charles Hood. The patients were hot to the touch and dehydrated, and no water was found in the trailer, he said.
“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” Hood said. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the 46 who died had “families who were likely trying to find a better life.”
“This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said.
Those in the trailer were part of a presumed migrant smuggling attempt into the United States, and the investigation was being led by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, McManus said.
Three people were taken into custody, but it was unclear if they were absolutely connected with human trafficking, McManus said.
Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in U.S. border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.
Before that, people paid small fees to mom-and-pop operators to get them across a largely unguarded border. As crossing became exponentially more difficult after the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S., migrants were led through more perilous terrain and paid thousands of dollars more.
Heat poses a serious danger, particularly when temperatures can rise severely inside vehicles. Weather in the San Antonio area was mostly cloudy Monday, but temperatures approached 100 degrees.
Some advocates drew a link to the Biden administration’s border policies. Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, wrote that he had been dreading such a tragedy for months.
“With the border shut as tightly as it is today for migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, people have been pushed into more and more dangerous routes. Truck smuggling is a way up,” he wrote on Twitter.
Stephen Miller, a chief architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, said, “Human smugglers and traffickers are wicked and evil” and that the administration’s approach to border security rewards their actions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican running for reelection, was blunt in a tweet about the Democratic president: “These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies.”
Migrants — largely from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — have been expelled more than 2 million times under a pandemic-era rule in effect since March 2020 that denies them a chance to seek asylum but encourages repeat attempts because there are no legal consequences for getting caught. People from other countries, notably Cuba, Nicaragua and Colombia, are subject to Title 42 authority less frequently due to higher costs of sending them home, strained diplomatic relations and other considerations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 557 deaths on the southwest border in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, more than double the 247 deaths reported in the previous year and the highest since it began keeping track in 1998. Most are related to heat exposure.
CBP has not published a death tally for this year but said that the Border Patrol performed 14,278 “search-and-rescue missions” in a seven-month period through May, exceeding the 12,833 missions performed during the previous 12-month period and up from 5,071 the year before.
Moffat County caseworker accused of fabricating child abuse, neglect investigations has been charged with forgery
A Moffat County caseworker accused of fabricating reports to make it seem as if she checked on children who were the subject of abuse and neglect claims is now facing charges of forgery and abuse of public records.
Hester Renee Nelms, 43, was under investigation for more than a year by the district attorney’s office in Moffat County, where a crew of 15 caseworkers from across Colorado set up operations in 2020 to re-investigate more than 80 reports of child abuse and neglect. Numerous families, including some who spoke to The Colorado Sun, said that no caseworker ever came to check on their children — despite detailed reports in the state’s child welfare database that those visits had occurred.
An arrest warrant in the case, released this week after a request from The Sun, describes how Nelms’ notes regarding several children were made up and inaccurate. Investigators discovered that in multiple cases, she had never visited homes or interviewed kids and parents, despite writing in detail about the contents of their bedrooms or family members’ jobs and medical conditions.
Investigators found at least 50 cases containing falsified details, including many in which Nelms never made contact with the children or parents. They included entries into the state child welfare database about people that do not exist, and false documentation regarding the “death of parents, false medical issues, fictitious supports and/or employment,” according to the arrest warrant.
In one 2019 case, Nelms wrote that a mother had cervical cancer and wanted to spend as much time as she could with her four children, including a 5-month-old baby. Her report described a house fire the family had endured and said the mother was in nursing school. Neither detail was true, nor did the mother ever have cancer, investigators found. Also, there was no baby in the family.
In another case, Nelms wrote that the mother of the child who was the subject of a sexual abuse report worked as a cook and that her daughter had a boyfriend. But in reality, the daughter is gay and the mother worked at an auto lube shop, according to the investigator.
No children were found to have been injured or killed because of the shoddy casework, according to records previously released by the state to The Sun under open records laws.
State child welfare officials in 2019 notified Moffat County’s child welfare division that it was behind on meeting requirements for abuse and neglect assessments, which counties are supposed to complete within 60 days. The county hired a former child protection caseworker to perform an audit, which found that of the 120 abuse and neglect cases that were open, 90% of them were assigned to Nelms, according to the arrest warrant.
Annette Norton, then the head of Moffat County Department of Human Services, allowed Nelms to focus solely on closing the 120 cases. Yet, after a month, Nelms had finished work on just 13 of the open cases, so Norton fired her, according to court documents.
The caseworker who took on Nelms’ workload soon discovered inaccuracies — and complete untruths — in the reports. In the first case the new caseworker looked into, in which a little girl’s bedroom decor was described in Nelms’ report, the worker, Markie Green, found that Nelms had never actually been to the child’s home.
“The mother looks at Ms. Green and asked her what contact and by what caseworker,” the investigator wrote. “The mother explained there was no contact and no interview.” The auditor then pulled more of Nelms’ case files, choosing at random, and she and Green made similar discoveries. This led to intervention by the state child welfare division, which rounded up 15 caseworkers from various counties to re-examine every case that Nelms worked. The team discovered a pattern of fraudulent paperwork that stretched over two years.
Nelms did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but in an interview with the investigator, she said she was overwhelmed and overburdened with work in Moffat County and did not receive adequate training. She quit the job once, but returned at the urging of her boss. Nelms, who has since moved to the Denver area, said she was “getting further and further behind and the cases were piling up.” At the time, the department was only 48% staffed.
She did not admit to fabricating documentation, but said she relied on her memory when she entered reports into the statewide database and sometimes mixed up families. Nelms told the investigator she was working “at an extremely fast pace” and couldn’t “remember a lot of the faces of her clients because of how fast the cases were coming in.”
Nelms was charged with felony forgery and misdemeanor abuse of public records. The Sun asked the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office about the status of its investigation into Nelms’ caseload eight times over the past year and a half. The office’s spokeswoman, Leslie Hockaday, recently emailed a news release to The Sun, dated March 22, noting that an arrest warrant had been issued for Nelms on Nov. 29. She has not been taken into custody. A judge set a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
County officials also have been quiet about the investigation that rattled many citizens and child advocates in Craig. Norton, who abruptly left the county’s human services department at the start of the investigation, previously told The Sun the child welfare scandal was a “personnel matter” and refused to discuss it.
A statewide performance-monitoring system, which scores county child welfare divisions on how well they respond to suspected cases of abuse or neglect and whether they make face-to-face contact with suspected victims within required timeframes, alerted state officials in 2019 that Moffat County was slipping.
Around the same time, Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte’s office received three separate reports from citizens in Moffat County who said local caseworkers had failed to check on children.