In the first couple decades of the Sexual Revolution, Americans began to engage in unprecedented levels of licentious behavior. It wasn’t that promiscuity was new–it wasn’t–but rather the scale. The 1960s ushered in the era of “free love”, and the Baby Boomers would carry this into the 1970s.
The Pill made contraception relatively easy; if that failed, abortion was legal. And, in terms of diseases, other than herpes–which was mostly a nuisance–almost everything else was otherwise curable with antibiotics.
But in the 1980s, an epidemic began to surface. Many in the gay community began to suffer an illness that featured a breakdown of the immune system. They would suffer from diseases and cancers that became opportunistic as their bodies could no longer fight them. This disease would become known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the causitive virus–Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)–being transmissible via sexual contact and other body fluid contact.
Gays, prostitutes, intravenous drug users, even those who received blood transfusions and organ transplants–before the blood supply was locked down with adequate testing–were at high risk. Tennis player Arthur Ashe contracted it from a blood transfusion during surgery. Many hemophiliacs contracted AIDS from blood transfusions.
While AIDS did not derail the Sexual Revolution, it slowed the growth of it. Promiscuity rates, at least among heterosexuals, would drop. Even homosexuals–the most promiscuous demographic group on the planet–began to ratchet back the extent of their promiscuity. Many gay bathouses would shut down altogether.
AIDS was a particularly scary disease: until the late 1990s, a diagnosis of HIV-Positive was, for all intents and purposes, a death sentence. If you contracted full-blown AIDS, the only question was when, not if, you would succumb.
Then, in the late 1990s, researchers would break major ground, developing new, complex, and expensive classes of drugs–protease inhibitors–that greatly extended the lifespans of those with HIV, rendering the disease a mostly manageable condition like diabetes.
People still die from AIDS, but not at the same rate as the 1980s.
These newer drugs have spawned the moral hazard: gays, who had become cautious in their practices since the outbreak of HIV, began to engage in riskier behavior.
A friend of mine once remarked that, given the medical advancements–for everything from Hepatitis B (vaccine), Cervical Cancer (vaccine), and HIV/AIDS (protease inhibitors)–the sexual revolution might just kick back into high gear.
Meanwhile, a sexually-transmitted disease–once considered very curable with antibiotics–began to show significant resistance to antibiotics.
For most of the last 50 years, gonnorhea, like syphillis, was considered a low-grade nuisance: modern antibiotics kept them mostly in check.
That, however, is changing, and fast. And while the origin of this new strain of gonnorhea has its roots in the homosexual community, make no mistake: promiscuous heterosexuals will be at severe risk of contracting it, and–if the trend continues–with no effective cure on the horizon.