A famous TikTok star with 1.7 million followers and who goes by the name Nurse Holly has been getting inundated with scorn for the past few days on social media for daring to state the most obvious and commonsensical of medical truths: abstinence “best” prevents STDs.
In the recent TikTok video, Nurse Holly employs some flashy captions to relay a rather simple message. “The best way to prevent STDs is waiting for sex until marriage. Just the truth,” she says in the video.
Though the video has since been deleted, people on social media have still been sharing it on other platforms with the intention of inviting ridicule. Here is just one such sampling:
if i go to get tested and the nurse tell me i should have waited till marriage SOMEONE is getting knocked tf out pic.twitter.com/cVnNENVIBi
— margo ♍︎ (@dumbbitchmargo) January 10, 2020
Other nurses, the ones more concerned with being hip rather than being factual, took to Twitter to roast Nurse Holly and even created their own TikTok videos, denouncing her position as antiquated, dangerous, and judgmental while promoting stigma against people with STDs.
“So tired of nurses acting a fool on their large platforms. Promoting irresponsible and biased rhetoric regarding public health in an effort to go viral is so low and so so dangerous. Abstinence teaching does not equate to safe sex. So here’s my response,” tweeted Sarah, RN.
So tired of nurses acting a fool on their large platforms. Promoting irresponsible and biased rhetoric regarding public health in an effort to go viral is so low and so so dangerous. Abstinence teaching does not equate to safe sex. So here’s my response 🤷🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/vTlX5KbvCK
— Sarah, RN (@shesinscrubs) January 12, 2020
“Healthcare professionals that don’t let judgment guide their practice let me hear y’all make some noise!!!” tweeted nurse Diego as he shared his parody video.
“Did you know that one of the best ways to prevent STIs is to stop stigmatizing them so people feel comfortable talking about them?” Diego says in his video. “While abstinence is a valid way to prevent the spreading of STIs, more comprehensive education about the spectrum of options available is important. Creating a safe space for people to talk about their intimate history, being nonjudgmental, and actually attempting to be helpful is best practice in healthcare. Most importantly: STOP SHAMING PEOPLE AND BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING.”
— Diego (@hoodratdiego) January 13, 2020
Medical experience or no medical experience, the trolls hating on Nurse Holly were relentless, with each vitriolic statement outdoing the other in an online outrage contest.
“@StThomas_Health this is one of your nurses and she seems to have missed the lectures on sexually transmitted infections as well as refraining from shaming patients. It is very disturbing that she cares for anyone,” tweeted one user.
“She looks like every girl who was mean in high school but went into nursing because ‘Oh my god I’m just such a caring and compassionate person,'” tweeted another user.
“I went to nursing school with her. She’s actually a practicing RN. I saw these views and beliefs firsthand from her, many of my classmates, and even some of my professors. I completely regret going to a private Christian college for nursing school…very scary,” tweeted another.
Speaking with BuzzFeed News, Nurse Holly, who would not reveal her full name or personal information in fear of reprisal, apologized “for any offense that was taken” and that she “only wish[es] to promote positivity and healthy lifestyles.”
According to a 2010 study out of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Waterloo in Canada, as well as the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, abstinence-only education works even when it does not have a moral component attached. As reported by NPR, the study showed that when 662 middle schoolers were given abstinence-only education, sexual activity dropped significantly:
The researchers developed a curriculum that was designed to get middle schoolers in the 6th and 7th grades to put off having sex until they were more more mature and could handle the consequences.
There were no lectures. It was an interactive program. The young people had discussions about resisting peer pressure, through role playing and games.
Unlike previous programs it did not define abstinence as delaying sex until marriage.
Two years after completing the program, a survey showed that the abstinence training was effective in getting 67% of the kids to delay having sex. That’s compared to 48% of students in another group who only received basic health information.