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Songs aim to educate about STDs

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Michael Davies, MD Nov. 26, 2012

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been a topic in popular culture for decades. There have been movies that centered around characters with STDs and HIV, both fiction and nonfiction books written on the subject and a variety of songs that discuss the dangers and consequences of STDs.

For example, AVClub.com states that legendary folk songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote several songs about STDs, the most notable being "VD City" where he describes the madness that can come from untreated syphilis and the skin sores that appear as a result of a number of STDs.

Even songs that seem silly may actually have a serious STD theme behind them. For example, Frank Zappa's "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" was inspired by the fact that his road manager posed this question while they were on tour, and was urged to visit an STD testing center.

On a more serious note, The Urban Daily reports that Wu Tang Clan's "America" is one of several songs off of their "America is Slowly Dying" album that dealt with the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s. Lines like "filed in June until she Acquired Immune Deficiency/ Now misery is the syndrome," help capture the serious and dangerous nature of HIV, particularly during these decades.

The Urban Daily pointed out that songs aren't the only way that the hip hop industry has gotten involved in the fight against HIV. The industry regularly holds events such as Hip Hop 4 HIV, which gives young people access to a free concert if they agree to get tested for STDs.

"What I love about the program is not only do they get tested, they get educated," radio DJ the Mad Hatta told The Urban Daily. "No, you are not just going to get tested and walk away with a ticket. You have to go through the whole process and after you know your status, your access is granted."

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