It Takes a Family, Rick Santorum's 2005 door-stopper manifesto, has been sitting pretty on my shelf for too long. My mistake: It's up there with Dreams From My Father among fascinating books penned by a future presidential candidate. A short page-through this morning led me to Santorum's chapter on the dangers of "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll," in which he breaks down the cost to society of veneral diseases. All of them, he writes, are "the result of a large segment of society that sees sex as recreational."
HIV: Lifetime cost $199,800, total cost per year $3 billion.
HPV: Lifetime cost $1,228 for women, $27 for men,* total cost per year $2.9 billion.
Herpes: Lifetime cost $417 for women, $511 for men, total cost per year $292.7 million.
Chlamydia: Lifetime cost $244 for women, $20 for men, total cost per year $284.4 million.
Gonorrhea: Lifetime cost $266 for women, $53 for men, total cost per year $77 million.
How to fix this? No government plan: Just a cultural shift that would stop young people thinking that premarital sex was cool. In other chapters, though, and in the campaign currently, Santorum is adament about abstinence education, and opposed to the idea that contraception is a legtimate health care need to be covered by mandates.