Suddenly a new host of sexually transmissible diseases are surpassing previous scourges of VD. Shockingly they threaten even infants and children with pain, sterility and untimely death!
WHY HAVE SO many been ignorant of — or blinded their minds to — the greatest communicable disease problem of our age? Venereal diseases take their name from the word Venus, the ancient Latin goddess of love and beauty. But there is nothing lovely or beautiful about these diseases. Health officials may call for more aggressive educational programs to increase public awareness of these crippling diseases in hopes of stemming their accelerating spread. But The Plain Truth makes clear the only solution to stop these epidemics!
Why New Diseases
A long and growing list of sexually transmissible pathogens — many unknown a decade ago — has been recognized only recently. Some of the newly recognized diseases now rival or surpass the unconquered plagues of syphilis and gonorrhea, especially among teenagers and young adults. It is important to make clarifications about some of these pathogens to avoid unmerited self-recrimination or embarrassment. The term venereal disease is now dropping out of usage among health officials. It is being replaced by a more encompassing term — sexually transmitted or sexually transmissible disease (STD). Sexually transmissible disease is the most accurate term. STD describes the true picture of the venereal disease problem as it includes not only diseases spread almost exclusively by sexual contact but other diseases capable of being spread by sexual contact and by non-sexual or unhygienic means. Some cases of these diseases are not related to promiscuity, marital infidelity or other sexual indiscretions. Some STDs can develop within faithful marriages or with no sexual contact at all. (In a few rare cases, even syphilis, gonorrhea and herpes, type 2, can be picked up by nonsexual contact) Yet, while certain cases of STDs have nothing to do with immoral behavior, most of the STD epidemic is caused by promiscuous, free-wheeling and permissive sexual conduct. Health authorities estimate between 20 and 30 percent of highly sexually active persons have one or more of these diseases.
Researchers have been startled to discover that there may be a greater infectious agent causing genital infections and sterility than gonorrhea. The recently pinpointed pathogen is chlamydia trachomatis. Some health authorities estimate chlamydia (pronounced "kla-mid-ee-uh") is already two or three times more prevalent in human populations than gonorrhea. Before its identification it was treated with general antibiotics as a relatively harmless unspecified nongonococcal infectious agent of the urethra or of the vagina. But far from being relatively harmless, chlamydia is now known to be one of the greatest causes of pelvic inflammation and infertility in adults, and blindness and pneumonia in infant children. The symptoms of chlamydia are similar to gonorrhea. The bacterium duplicates itself within the cells of the mouth, intestine, lungs and genital region until the growing colony destroys the infected cells and moves on, often leaving scar tissue. In the United States and other developed nations, chlamydia is thought to be mostly transmitted by sexual contact. However, in developing nations, chlamydia is also commonly transmitted by unhygienic contact or unhygienic practices, especially the improper disposal of human wastes. In these nations, the pathogen is responsible for producing epidemics of trachoma and blindness. Males with venereal symptoms of chlamydial infection suffer inflammation and discharge from the urethra. Infected females may have abdominal pain or abnormal vaginal discharge. That's with symptoms. The catch is, in the words of Dr. William Bowie of the division of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia in Canada, "When you screen people for chlamydia, you find 50 percent who have it have no symptoms." This alarms Dr. Bowie and other health officials. Chlamydia, they have found, is more subtle in its infectious patterns than gonorrhea but can be just as devastating. Symptomless infections can suddenly produce tragic tissue damage and health consequences. After testing female students at the University of British Columbia, Bowie found chlamydia present in 7 percent of the population, an incidence 10 times higher than gonorrhea."To me that's a frighteningly high figure," he said. To compound the problem, researchers have found that 20 percent of men and up to 60 percent of women who have gonorrhea also have chlamydia. But whereas penicillin may be effective against gonorrhea, it is useless against chlamydia. Only tetracycline or more powerful drugs are effective. Lesser antibiotics used against this disease pathogen, or against resistant strains of gonorrhea, may only drive symptoms, if any, under-ground. Infected persons feel they are cured, only to have the pathogen wreak havoc later. A recent study of infertile women in France found 25 percent of the infertility was due to chlamydia. Other studies in Europe have found it involved in up to 60 percent of women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID often leads to sterility, pregnancy problems or female organ complications. A University of Washington prenatal clinic found chlamydia in 5 to 20 percent of groups of pregnant women. A New Orleans study found 23 percent of inner-city pregnant women, mostly blacks, had a chlamydia infection, but most didn't know it. "The real victims of today's STD explosion are babies and mothers — and would-be mothers," said a worried gynecologist. There is a better than 50 percent chance that an infant passing through an infected birth canal, and infected, will develop an eye disease or pneumonia. Hence the explosion in cesarean births. "Infertility from tubal scarring might be more often related to chlamydial infection than gonococcal infection," says Dr. King K. Holmes, STD authority at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Seattle. "Our group has disturbing data showing that the fetuses of women having chlamydial infections during pregnancy are at increased risk for premature death, stillbirth and neonatal death." Chlamydia not only sterilizes as a consequence of pelvic inflammation. But because it causes strictures in sexual organs it is thought to be to blame for alarming increases in ectopic (tubal) pregnancies. "Since each of these pregnancies represents one fetal death, this constitutes an epidemic of fetal deaths," says Holmes. Despite surgery, the majority of these cases end in sterility or permanent sexual tissue damage. A single case of pelvic inflammatory disease can result in infertility 20 percent of the time, even if treatment starts at the first sign of infection. Three episodes of PID puts the infertility rate at 75 percent. "Adolescent girls often delay treatment because of ignorance or embarrassment, until their tubes are wiped out," commented an assistant director of adolescent medicine at the University of California's Medical Center in San Francisco. "The sad thing," she says, "is that the reproductive future of these girls is erased before they've even had time to think about it." Many she reports, become despondent when they realize they can't have children.
Scourge of Genital Herpes
Also competing for the position of the number-one infectious STD is genital herpes, technically known as herpes simplex, type 2. A decade or so ago it was a little-known infection. Today, according to Dr. Mary Guinan of the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, it is "probably the most wide-spread of all venereal diseases." The disturbing part of this virus is that once you have it, you have it for the rest of your life. The majority of persons infected with genital herpes suffer recurring infectious blisters. While the frequently painful lesions can often be alleviated by medical treatment, the disease is incurable since the virus retreats deep into tissues. So far, every treatment that has shown promise has failed to knock out the virus. "Genital herpes is the disease which keeps many venereal disease specialists monogamous," says one health official. While adult herpes sufferers frequently find their lives emotionally and socially upset, greater tragedies afflict the newborn. Half of all babies passing through a herpes-infected birth canal become infected. And one quarter die or are brain damaged. Furthermore, there is a high correlation between herpes, type 2, infections in women and cancer of the cervix, although the virus has not been absolutely identified as the cause. Again it is important to make distinctions when discussing the herpes problem. There are many herpes viruses. Some manifest different symptoms or hit different parts of the body. Herpes simplex, type 1, is a common, normally nonvenereally passed virus that causes cold sores on the lips, mouth or above the waist. It is often found in a third or more of population groups. This virus is usually transferred by personal contact with others, by kissing or using the same eating utensils during infectious periods. Genital herpes, however, is almost always transmitted in sex-related contact. Even autoinoculation from an infected area can transfer any herpes virus to other mucous-membrane openings. Oral-genital sex practices also spread herpes viruses to reverse areas. It is dangerous to pass any herpes infection to the eyes. Because of the sudden growth and emotionally upsetting nature of genital herpes, the American Social Health Organization has established a program called HELP. Herpes sufferers in the United States needing assistance or information on the nearest sources of medical advice can send a self-addressed envelope with their request to HELP, Box 100, Palo Alto, California, 94302. Phone: (415) 328-7710. Persons in foreign areas needing help should contact their nearest health agency.
Other New STD Threats
Three other newly recognized threats to infected persons and infants also need to be mentioned. Two of these disease organisms are somewhat controversial, not because there is any doubt about their devastating effects on the newborn, but because evidence for venereal transmission is less certain than for other STDs. Whatever the mode of transmission, half of infants who develop severe early-onset infections die, and survivors face blindness, deafness, mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Another large cause of urethritis, in addition to chlamydia, implicates bacteria that act differently from other bacteria but aren't viruses either. These little understood organisms go by the technical name of T-strain mycoplasma (also called ureaplasma). T-strains are known to be sexually transmitted. Unfortunately, most doctors' offices are not set up to do screening tests for either chlamydia or T-strains.
The first totally penicillin-resistant strain of gonorrhea was discovered in the United States in early 1976. Since then, promiscuous sexual behavior has spread it to all regions of the nation. Health officials around the world are becoming worried as more and more strains of gonorrhea become resistant to all but the most powerful and expensive antibiotics "All our steel-capped bullets are turning into rubber," laments one health official. Medical officials face a serious dilemma in treating the effects rather than the causes. On one hand there is increasing demand for treatment of serious STDs. On the other, recession and inflation have squeezed and cut heala department budgets. Penicillin-resistant gonorrhee not only is overwhelming health officials' first line of defense drug (penicillin costs about $1 to $2 a dose), but it is also overwhelming the second line of defense drug, spectinomycin (around $5 a dose). In such cases health officials are forced to rely on even more powerful and expensive antibiotics such as cefoxitin ($8 a dose). Another disturbing finding amplifies man's futility in trying to control STD epidemics by treating the effects and not the causes. It was thought that most males with a gonorrhea infection manifested early symptoms so they would seek treatment. Many new studies, however, show that between 15 to as much as 50 percent or even more of males infected with gonorrhea are asymptomatic — that is, they do not manifest early symptoms but are spreading the disease. It has been early symptoms in males who seek treatment that has been the principal way health officials trace and treat their female partners — 80 percent of whom commonly do not show early infectious gonorrhea symptoms. The folly and danger of promiscuous and careless sex are far greater than anyone ever imagined. Many individuals have kidded themselves that their sexual activity doesn't fit the promiscuous mold. They try to redefine promiscuity to make themselves feel better for not being truly monogamous or faithful. They feel they are not promiscuous because they are not having indiscriminate sex with many partners, but only sex with one or two "special" partners. Health officials, however, report many boys and girls, and men and women, pick up their STD infections after sexual relations with one of these "special" partners. In most cases, the infection was picked up because one of these partners had picked up an STD infection somewhere else at some other time.
Another trend disturbing health officials is the 30 percent increase in reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis between 1977 and 1980 in the United States. Also worrying scientists are developments indicating that the syphilis spirochete (spy-ro-keet) may also be in the process of developing immunity to penicillin and other antibiotics. So far it hasn't happened. But researchers note changes in the syphilis organism that could produce this effect. Untreated, syphilis can cause nerve, brain or heart damage, or blindness or a host of other serious health problems — including horrible birth defects in babies of infected mothers.
Spiraling Homosexual STDs
A soaring STD crisis is occurring among homosexuals, especially in urban areas with large homosexual populations, such as San Francisco, California. Selma Dritz, of the San Francisco Department of Health, said: "With the relaxation of traditional moral restraints and the emergence of more permissive modes of social and sexual interplay in the past 10 years, some major cities have acquired large, highly visible homosexual communities. The frequent practices of oral and anal intercourse has been accompanied by reports of rapidly increasing incidence of venereal diseases, venereal herpes, and enteric [intestinal] diseases." Whenever an STD or other communicable disease is introduced into a promiscuous group it proliferates like wildfire. British and American doctors report the serious viral diseases hepatitis A and B, which cause jaundice and liver failure, are increasing rapidly among homosexuals. Some health authorities estimate syphilis and hepatitis are 10 or more times more frequent among homosexuals than among heterosexuals because of the nature of homosexual practices.
Some who have been indiscriminate in their sexual lives may have picked up a serious STD infection that now lies inactive or unnoticed: that infection can rekindle and infect a faithful mate or innocent children! Do you think God is ignorant about all this? To the contrary, God is going to respond — and sooner than many realize! The Creator, for now, is letting human beings, for the most part, reap the natural consequences of their own ways of living. But he always intervenes and punishes nations in due time for violation of his laws, given for the well-being of mankind. Ezekiel, chapters 22 and 24, describe the judgments on nations who, having a written record of God's laws and professing to be godly, have allowed sexual looseness ("lewdness" or "whoredom" in Scripture) to fill their lands. God's laws, revealed in the Bible, show us how to avoid most all sexually transmissible diseases, or at least cut down to an utter minimum one's chances of contracting or spreading them. (Let's not forget, some few cases of STDs can develop in monogamous marriages or in virgins) Monogamy and virginity limit the spread of these infections. It is permissive and promiscuous sexual conduct, and, in some cases, unhygienic living, that causes STDs to become epidemic. Treatment of infected individuals is needed. But prevention by proper living — both sexually and hygienically — is the only sound way to stop these epidemics. The biblical injunctions against premarital, extramarital and homosexual practices and uncleanliness (the improper disposal of human wastes or improper care of open sores) are not casual suggestions. They are living physical and spiritual laws set in motion by the Creator. God's laws were designed to protect the family unit — every member in it. They are intended to protect and promote the development of societies and nations that obey them. Disobeyed they bring unimaginable social curses. Their transgression the Bible calls sin (I John 3:4). Few realize the Bible prophesied the alarming social disease epidemics reported in this article. The Creator chose a special nation — ancient Israel — to be an example of the blessings that could accrue to a nation that obeyed God's laws. In Deuteronomy, chapter 28, God promised every fantastic blessing humans could desire. "Blessed shall be the fruit [children] of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your beasts.... Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out" (verses 1-6, RSV). But note the shocking contrast when humans reject God's laws and bring the penalties of sin into their lives! "Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground... and the young of your flock... If you are not careful to do all the words of this law which are written in this book... then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting... Every sickness, also, and every affliction which is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring [God will allow] upon you..." (verses 18, 58-59, 61). Prevention is the only way to stop the STD epidemic. That means premarital, extramarital, homosexual and perverted sex practices — all heinous sins in God's sight — must be completely avoided by single persons or married couples wanting to keep clear of these diseases as much as possible! Only you can determine in your own life to swim against the tide of modern sexual permissiveness. The information and warnings from this article — and more important, from God's revelation to you in Scripture — put you in a position of being without excuse! If you allow yourself to engage in careless or extramarital sex in light of the knowledge you now have — then you deserve the consequences! Our free booklet entitled The Silent Epidemic contains added information on these and other STDs. This free publication contains charts, diagrams, information explaining common misconceptions about venereal disease, unusual modes of transmission, VD's tragic role in history and VD phone hotlines for major U.S. cities. As never before in human history, you and your children, taught at appropriate ages, cannot afford to be ignorant about these diseases. You can't afford not to live by the way of life that will prevent the "silent epidemic" from ruining your life!