Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem

January 19, 1979

Report Outline
Prevalence Despite Treatment
Finding a Cure for History's Pox
Directions of Control Efforts
Special Focus

Prevalence Despite Treatment

Side Effects of the New Sexual Freedom

Venereal disease continues to exist in epidemic proportions in the United States. The American Social Health Association believes that as many as 10 million Americans contract a form of sexually transmitted disease every year in spite of the fact that highly effective methods of diagnosing and treating most venereal diseases — including syphilis and gonorrhea — have been known for decades. Most victims of venereal disease are young. Nearly 85 percent of all reported VD cases occur in persons between the ages of 15 and 30, according to the association. And most cases are reported in large urban areas. But venereal disease attacks persons of all ages, income groups, races, sexual preferences and geographic areas. Medical authorities consider venereal disease among the nation's most serious health problems.

The reported number of cases of gonorrhea and syphilis rose slightly in 1978. According to preliminary figures compiled by the federal Center for Disease Control, there were 934,808 reported cases of gonorrhea during the first 48 weeks of the year — a 1.2 percent increase over the same period in 1977. The Atlanta-based center reported 19,972 cases of primary and secondary syphilis for that time period — a 5.8 percent increase over 1977. Reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis had dropped 15.2 percent between 1976 and 1977. Gonorrhea case totals fell 1.1 percent, after having increased at a rate of about 12 percent a year since 1962.

Government figures represent reported venereal disease cases. Medical authorities agree, though, that venereal disease is notoriously underreported. It is estimated that as many as three million Americans are afflicted by gonorrhea each year and that more than 400,000 suffer from syphilis. Other sexually transmitted diseases are also prevalent, lending credence to the total figure of 10 million.

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Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
Jan. 19, 1979  Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem
Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
Oct. 25, 1938  Control of Venereal Diseases
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