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The new silent Epidemic (Herpes)

More than 20 — not just two — sexually transmissible diseases are out of control.
You can't afford to be uninformed if you want to protect yourself, your children or your loved ones!


Why are millions hush-hush or ignorant about the number one serious communicable disease problem of our age?

Suddenly — in just the past few years — public health officials in many nations have come to realize syphilis and gonorrhea are not always the most frequent, or always the most serious, of sexually transmissible diseases.

Here is what they are finding — and why!


New Plagues

One of the newest and most devastating of the new plagues is herpes. "Herpes — the new sexual leprosy — infects millions with disease and despair," reported an international weekly news magazine recently. "I regard myself as a carrier of an invisible, incurable disease," lamented one victim quoted in this article. "I have a guilt trip that won't go away."

Said another victim, "I've had this rotten, cursed thing for two years and can't shake it. My marriage has been ruined, my confidence shaken and I'm afraid to establish a new relationship."

Another couple laments, "We want to start a family, but the doctor says we'll be taking a chance."

In the United States alone, more than half a million individuals this year will develop the discomforting if not painful blisters of genital herpes. These mentally and physically tormented thousands will add to an estimated five to fifteen million Americans who already have the incurable disease.

Yes, incurable. Like many other virus-caused diseases, symptoms of herpes infections can be treated and sometimes alleviated. But once you have this virus you have it for the rest of your life. And you suffer periodic infectious outbreaks of the painful blisters. "It ruins much of one's social life," say many victims.

Reported Time magazine on this problem: "With the sexual revolution of the 1960s, herpes broke out of its confines as a venereal disease that was thought (incorrectly) to afflict only the licentious' lower classes. Sudden 'viruses of love' infected entire college dormitories and rode the waves of rising divorce and crumbling monogamy" (July 28, 1980).

But how can it be called "love" to give someone, because of ignorance, unconcern or sexual carelessness, a disease that could cause brain damage, blindness, heart trouble, sterility, birth defects to babies, or a long list of other possible health problems, including death?


Sexual Wilderness

Millions are lost in a modern "sexual wilderness." Promiscuity, homosexuality and a parade of new and bizarre sex activities are more and more widely glamorized by various media or groups.

Millions fail to realize that the prophets of permissiveness — whoever they are — obviously are not telling all of the ugly side effects of such "liberating" lifestyles.

Humans today are reaping tragedy and suffering because it has become chic and popular to scorn, ridicule and reject God's laws on proper family relations, on sex, marriage and personal hygiene. In the end, God's laws are not mocked. The first chapter of Romans describes the horrible consequences — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual — that happen to human beings when they forsake the sensible, God-revealed ways of life for ignorance, human lust and rebellion.


NGU Epidemic

The three Ps — the pill, promiscuity and permissiveness — have been instrumental in spreading another little-known disease to unprecedented heights. We call it NGU for short.

"Almost unheard of only a few years ago, a venereal disease called non gonoccocal urethritis (NGU) has become our most common sexually transmitted disease, outranking gonorrhea," reported Parade magazine, February 24, 1980.

This year an estimated three million Americans in every segment of society will be plagued with this disease, which is caused by several different organisms.

In addition to these little-known diseases suddenly being found or recognized, the old ancient plagues — syphilis and gonorrhea — have not become more easily cured as some had assumed.

Syphilis, the scourge of humankind for centuries, far from being cured with a shot or two, takes up to two years of treatment to erase all signs of the disease.

"The venereal infection called gonorrhea is the most common bacterial disease of humans on earth. There are an estimated 100 million cases each year throughout the world. . . . The numbers have been rising each year" (New York Times January 23, 1977).

But here's what really worries health officials! Cases of "super gonorrhea," which are resistant to all penicillin and most other antibiotics, are rapidly increasing in more and more nations.


"Super Gonorrhea"

Dr. Ronald K. St. John of the U.S. Communicable Disease Center's Venereal Disease Control Division said new mutated types of gonorrhea are resistant to all antibiotics but one. Drug resistance by gonococcus organisms has been developing in all nations.

The super resistant strains were first detected in the Philippines where 20 percent to 40 percent of prostitutes were found to have them. Prostitutes, knowing they have a high chance of VD infections, often treat themselves with improper doses of antibiotics. Doctors using improper antibiotics have also been responsible. Improper treatment only rapidly produces stronger strains of resistant organisms. Dr. St. John says such strains are now "rapidly galloping forward" in more and more nations.

Dr. R.D. Catterall of London, president of the International Union Against Venereal Diseases, said 130 strains of penicillin-resistant gonorrhea were identified in the United Kingdom in 1979 and that 40 more were found in the first few months in 1980. "What is worse," he said, "is that now we have found 30 strains of gonorrhea totally resistant to penicillin and relatively resistant to other antibiotics."

Spectinomycin, a relatively expensive antibiotic, is now the last drug effective against the "super strains" of gonorrhea. If the germ develops resistance to this drug — and gonorrhea organisms have eventually overcome all drugs used against them in the past — doctors will be helpless to control the disease.

"All our steel-capped bullets have turned into rubber," laments one health official.


Too Embarrassing?

Too many are too embarrassed to learn about sexually communicated diseases and to teach their children the chief reason for their epidemic spread. They sit back and hope the schools will do their job for them. But many schools don't teach anything about some of the newer diseases. And many schools don't teach the most important information youths need to prevent these crippling diseases. Right moral and spiritual values need to be taught to prevent these epidemics. Prevention — not treatment — is the answer. That means living a right life-style.

Youths are a big reservoir of venereal infection. Venereal diseases strike 12 percent of adolescents aged 15 to 19 in the United States. That's one out of eight teenagers.

"There are a lot of diseases out there that can hurt you if you're sexually active," warns one public health official. He meant you are taking chances with sex partners, or when you have sexual or intimate relations with anyone who may have picked up a sexually transmissible disease from others at some time.

Many have heard about syphilis and gonorrhea. But how many have heard about herpes simplex type 2, or chanceroid or lymphogranuloma venereum? Then there is granuloma inguinale, hepatitis-B and cytomegalovirus. But the list of new sexually transmissible plagues does not stop here. Add to our list monilia, trichomoniasis, giardiasis, shigella dysentery, amebic dysentery, pubic lice and scabies!

All of these diseases or infestations (and others suspected but not yet absolutely proven) can be transmitted sexually or by close intimate contact with infected persons.


STD Defined

Medical and health officials have shifted away from discussing these diseases by the term venereal disease. The term coming into use now is sexually transmitted disease (STD). Some health officials, however, point out that the term sexually transmissible disease is an even more accurate description. The reason is because not all STDs are exclusively transmitted by sex-related contact.

Statements about the causes for the spread of STDs must not be oversimplified. Not all STD infections are always avoidable, even by the most moral or faithful of persons.

While some of the diseases are almost entirely spread by sexual contact with infected persons — syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes simplex type 2, for instance — some are also capable of being picked up by nonsexual contact. (And in a few very rare cases, even syphilis, gonorrhea or genital herpes can be picked up by nonsexual means)

Virgin men and women- and faithful mates have gotten some cases of monilia, urethritis (NGU), trichomoniasis or venereal warts. Scabies, caused by a mite, and pubic lice are infestations that can be picked up not only by sexual relations, but by close body contact with infected persons or infected bedding or clothing.

Monilia is the result of an overblooming yeast organism that normally lives harmlessly in the "flora" of the genital region, especially in women. If the natural microbiotic balance is upset by some means — stress, drugs, pregnancy or tight clothing, for instance — the yeast organism may rapidly overgrow creating a discomforting infection that can be easily transmitted sexually.

Since the disease called non gonoccocal urethritis is caused bydifferent organisms (some known, some unknown) these infections may be caused and spread in similar manners.

The microorganism causing trichomoniasis may live harmlessly in the genital flora of some person, but not others. Or it may suddenly flare up for some reason or be spread in infected clothing or water. This infection is estimated to occur in about three million Americans each year.

Could it be possible that some new STDs are being generated because so many millions are upsetting the natural microbiotic balances of their bodies with ever more powerful drugs, wrong diets or improper ways of living? Health officials admit there is much yet to be learned about many newer, or at least newly recognized, STDs. Yet, the fact still remains. If there wasn't so much sexual promiscuity the spread of such types of diseases would be much more limited.