Venereal Disease Control

June 10, 1960

Report Outline
Return of Venereal Disease Problem
Reasons for New Rise of Social Diseases
Measures to Control Venereal Diseases

Return of Venereal Disease Problem

Recent reversal of a long downward trend in incidence of syphilis and gonorrhea has brought a sharp reminder that the battle against these ancient scourges is far from won. While the present VD rate is far below what it was 15 years ago, thanks chiefly to penicillin, public health officers warn that serious obstacles to eradication of these diseases remain. So long as infected persons go untreated, the danger of epidemics persists.

Growth of the so-called social diseases among teenagers has caused special concern. Moral implications aside, the spread of syphilis and gonorrhea in the lower age groups presents a particularly serious problem, because the sufferers tend to keep knowledge of the condition to themselves. Early symptoms then disappear and the victims become subject to the later degenerative phases of their affliction. Already an increase has been noted in the incidence of congenital syphilis among infants born of infected mothers. Demands for remounting of the concentrated anti-VD campaigns of past years are now being heard. The effort would be aimed chiefly at tracking down all infected persons and bringing them under treatment. Medical experts at present know no other way to break the chain of infection.

Present Extent of Syphilis and Gonorrhea

The actual extent of VD is uncertain because syphilis and gonorrhea have almost always been under-reported. Back in the mid-1980s, a U.S. Public Health Service survey showed something like 700,000 syphilitics under medical treatment, but authoritative estimates put the total number of sufferers at six million. One million fresh infections of gonorrhea were being reported by doctors each year, but many more infected persons were believed to be practicing self-medication.

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Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
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Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
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