Guard Against VD Pollution
THE worst kind of pollution rampant today is venereal disease or VD. The need for safeguards against it is greater than ever before. Venereal diseases are increasing to such an extent that they are no longer termed “epidemic” but “pandemic.”
Alarms have been sounded in England and Wales, in Canada and France, in Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands, in the Far East and Latin America. As for the United States, in 1970 it saw a 16-percent increase in gonorrhea and an 8-percent increase in syphilis over the previous year. Besides, it has been estimated that there are some 500,000 undetected cases of syphilis.
Rates in some cities have doubled and even tripled over the previous year. Houston, Texas, is said to have a “galloping venereal disease epidemic,” and in Los Angeles in the past year 6 percent of women giving birth to babies had gonorrhea. United States health officials state that, while the syphilis problem is disturbing, the gonorrhea situation has almost reached a point causing despair.
“Greatest Threat to Teen-Age Health”
That is what one of America’s leading magazines for teen-age girls calls VD, and not without good reason. In San Francisco a high school student has a 20-percent chance of contracting VD before completing school. In the United States as a whole the gonorrhea rate for fifteen- to nineteen-year-olds is three times the national average for all ages combined. Over the past five years VD has increased over 1,000 percent among teen-agers!
And how young some of the victims are! Poland in a recent year had 64 cases of VD in children from ten to fourteen years of age. In Philadelphia in the past year there were 50 cases of VD in children under ten years of age. In Memphis, Tennessee, a five-year-old boy was treated for VD he got from intimacy with a nine-year-old girl! When questioned, the girl refused to name any of her other sex partners.
Syphilis and Gonorrhea
Syphilis is the more dangerous, whereas gonorrhea is the most prevalent venereal disease. Concerning syphilis, Boyd’s Textbook of Pathology states: “Of all diseases it is the most subtle. It is a master of disguise. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is no symptom that it cannot cause.” It even has been said that one who knows all about syphilis knows all about medicine. It is transmitted almost solely by sex relations, and mothers having it can infect their unborn offspring, though it is not hereditary.
Syphilis, which is caused by a very active and tiny corkscrew-like organism, has three stages. There is a primary stage, in which a sore or pimple develops at the place where the germ entered. Then within two or three months the more serious second stage appears. It may be marked by chills, fever, headache, white mucous patches in the mouth, and hair falling out.
For one third of the cases there is a third stage. It may appear a few months or a few years after the second stage, although at times it does not make itself manifest until ten or twenty years later. The parts most frequently harmed are the brain, the spinal cord, the eyes, the liver and the blood vessels of the heart. From 5 to 8 percent of all cases of insanity are said to be due to VD. Recently a brain specialist found 226 persons suffering from mental disorders for which no cause had been ascertained, but who had been treated for syphilis years before.
Gonorrhea is caused by a tiny organism shaped like two coffee beans. Its spread is almost wholly limited to sexual intercourse. Within three to five days it makes itself felt by a burning or stinging sensation at the time of urination, by emission of pus accompanied by redness and soreness of the male sex organ. Yet, 8 out of 10 women have no obvious symptoms.
While gonorrhea does not have the same tragic consequences that syphilis does, it can lead to sterility in both men and women and result in chronic invalidism in the latter. It can cause blindness in infants passing through an infected birth canal. Estimates say that 20 percent of all blindness is due to VD.
Obstacles to Combating VD
A great obstacle to eradicating VD, it is said, is the unwillingness of physicians in private practice to report cases, although required by law to do so. Eight cases out of nine are not reported, apparently, to shield the patients.
Apathy is also a great obstacle, both on the part of the public and on the part of the medical profession. Most persons showing up at VD clinics seem little concerned about the seriousness of VD nor do they manifest feelings of shame. Some patients come back as often as six times in one year, each time with a fresh case of VD! As one physician quipped “Bugs are not half as resistant to drugs as patients are to instruction on prevention.”
The fact that VD organisms are becoming more resistant to antibiotics is also a major obstacle to eradicating VD. Some strains do not respond at all to drugs; those that do respond require 70 times as many units of penicillin as in the past—5,000,000 instead of 75,000!
Another obstacle is the way people move around. One prostitute in a period of six months had relations with 310 men whose homes were scattered over thirty-six states and three foreign countries!
Accounting for the Increase
Among the factors accounting for VD becoming pandemic is the birth-control pill. As a result people are discarding former contraceptive measures as well as becoming more promiscuous. However, doctors warn that women taking the pill are more susceptible to contracting gonorrhea.
Another factor is the increase in homosexuality. Homosexuals are more promiscuous than others and more reluctant to ask for treatment. One report showed that 35 percent of male syphilitic patients had at least one homosexual encounter.
Also accounting for the increase in VD is the use of drugs. For many, marijuana has a sexually stimulating effect. Alcohol often has the same. In fact, three fifths of those contracting VD in Poland were drunk at the time!
But more than anything else, the pandemic of VD pollution is due to the breakdown of morals. Men no longer need to seek out prostitutes, since so many young women of their own acquaintance are willing partners. Popular music encourages immoral conduct. Commercialism stresses sex in advertising.
The Parents’ Responsibility
In turn, permissiveness on the part of parents has contributed greatly to the breakdown of morals. One father even paid for his twelve-year-old son to have relations with a prostitute! While not many fathers will go that far, ever so many just take for granted that their children will have premarital sex relations. Thus one father boasted that when his two sons, fifteen and eighteen years of age, contracted VD there was no danger, for he had fully informed them about what to do in such a case! There was also the mother who told her daughter: “If you cannot bring yourself to tell me, all right. But you must be sure to get yourself treated if you ever get [VD], and try to stay away—you just must—from the crowd that gave it to you.”
A popular health magazine would “safeguard” youth against VD pollution. How? By having parents agitate to have laws passed authorizing physicians to treat youths for VD without parental knowledge or consent in those states where such laws do not as yet exist; that would allow physicians to decide whether to inform parents, spouse or other close relatives of a VD case, and that would ensure that no physician may be sued for such conduct!
What is needed are not such laws. Rather, to safeguard their children against sex pollution parents must begin early (before the age of six according to one authority) gradually to impart to their young certain facts of life. They must give them powerful reasons why certain actions are wrong and the harm that can result. To win the confidence of their children, parents must take an unselfish interest in them. If they would have their children take them seriously, they must set the right example. Parents cannot hope to instill high moral standards in their children unless they are doing the best they can to live up to them themselves.
If parents show a genuine interest in and love for their children, they can more easily lay down rules for them and expect their children to obey willingly. Among such rules might be the forbidding of “sexy” dancing and not going on dates until they have marriage in mind and are prepared for its responsibilities.
The Responsibility of Youths
To erect safeguards against VD, youths must guard against the trend of engaging in a restless search for physical sensations as an end in themselves. Guard against seeking pleasurable sensations or thrills or ‘kicks’ by experimenting with drugs and by illicit sex relations. All this is really a rebelling of youths against the older generation. It has been said that few adolescents with VD seem to have good relations with their parents.
Indulging in sex outside of marriage exacts its price, and a heavy price it is—guilty conscience, lack of self-respect, unwanted pregnancies, abortions and VD pollution. A magazine for teen-age girls asks: “How then should a girl play it safe? How can she avoid the dangers of syphilis and gonorrhea, two diseases with such potentially tragic consequences?” This point is then made: “The only sure way to avoid VD is not to have sexual intercourse.” Of course! If there were no fornication and no adultery, there would be no VD pollution.
Sex Outside of Marriage Wrong and Harmful
The Creator endowed mankind with the gifts of sex and procreation and He has the right to lay down laws as to how his gifts shall be used. His Word says: “Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.” (Heb. 13:4) Sex within the marriage arrangement is honorable and sacred; there is the only proper place for it. Man was not made to imitate the lower animals in following their instincts. The animals can do so without harm, but not man. Dogs do not get VD!
Clearly the Bible stresses that sex relations outside of marriage incur God’s wrath. (Gal. 5:19-21; Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 22:15) For those professing to be dedicated Christians to practice such loose conduct also results in being at enmity with God’s congregation, being disfellowshiped or excommunicated therefrom. Indulging in loose sexual morals is also a sinning against the one with whom one has such relations, for it always takes two to commit fornication or adultery.—1 Cor. 5:1-13.
And because of the risk of VD pollution, one who indulges in illicit relations is also sinning against his own body. (1 Cor. 6:18) How graphically wise King Solomon describes the folly of such: “She has misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she seduces him. All of a sudden he is going after her, like a bull that comes even to the slaughter, and just as if fettered for the discipline of a foolish man, until an arrow cleaves open his liver, just as a bird hastens into the trap, and he has not known that it involves his very soul.”—Prov. 7:21-23.
There is the danger of lasting physical harm, not only to the body, but also to the chances of happiness in marriage. Keeping free from sex relations until marriage puts relations after marriage on a much higher plane. It makes it also more likely that each will remain true to the other. As has well been noted: “No sociological study has ever shown that premarital intercourse, or adultery, makes for happier marriage.”
And not to be overlooked is the fact that illicit relations often are a sinning against the next generation. Last year in the United States nearly 300 cases of congenital syphilis were reported. And are not all the miscarriages, stillbirths, blindness and sterility caused by VD pollution also sins committed against those being born?
We cannot escape it. God’s Word is true. It stamps sex relations outside of marriage as sin, and says that “the wages sin pays is death.” It further warns: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”—Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:7, 8.