The Harvest—A VD Epidemic
“SEXUALLY transmitted diseases (STDs) are so widespread that they are considered to be hyperendemic.” This announcement of the Journal of the American Medical Association gives just one indication of how the modern epidemic of immorality has resulted in literal epidemics of the flesh. Thinking that medical science had conquered venereal diseases, this generation has gone after sex in a way that rivals the Rome of Nero and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. But the new morality has boomeranged.
It was commonly thought that the miracle drug penicillin had solved the problem of gonorrhea once for all time. But recently a publication for the United States military, the Pacific Stars and Stripes, reported that during one year 8,000 soldiers in the Philippines and South Korea had contracted a new penicillin-resistant strain of “super gonorrhea.”
From Canada comes the report: “Gonorrhea, with 120,000 estimated cases, is ‘out of control’ in Canada with more cases than ever—even more than during World War II.” (The Toronto Star) In England a similar statistic is reported. “The number of women who now get gonorrhea is almost twice as high as in the war.”—The Sunday Times.
A similar story comes from Africa. The newspaper Fraternité Matin of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, reports regarding a neighboring country: “Half the adult women . . . have suffered or are suffering from venereal diseases.”
A disease agent with an unfamiliar name—Chlamydia—is also commonly transmitted by sexual activity. It produces a condition known as NGU (nongonococcal urethritis), which somewhat resembles some of the symptoms of gonorrhea and is threatening to overshadow gonorrhea as the leading sexually transmitted disease.
The Herpes Scourge
Another alarming modern epidemic is herpes. The herpes viruses cause a wide range of diseases, including chicken pox, mononucleosis and cold sores on the mouth. The one most often transmitted sexually, however, is herpes simplex II, genital herpes. This produces blisterlike sores on or near the sex organs, often accompanied by fever, muscle aches and swollen lymph glands—“like someone putting a soldering iron against your skin,” to quote a victim.
Not only is genital herpes agonizingly uncomfortable but it can be deadly. It is the most common cause of infectious blindness in the United States and can result in a deadly brain infection, heart trouble, sterility, birth defects, miscarriages, stillbirths and, possibly, cervical cancer.
Herpes viruses are harder to fight than bacterial infections. When they are not actively tormenting their victims they remain latent in the body. “The herpes viruses fight a guerrilla war, hiding somewhere in the nervous system and darting out for surprise attacks. Researchers think that once the viruses enter the body, they are there for good,” according to an Associated Press release. As yet, medical science acknowledges no cure for this sexually transmitted disease, which the CDC announced is spreading faster in the United States than any other virus except the common cold and influenza.
Recently a new disease captured the headlines: AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. What is that?
Simply stated, the victims of AIDS lose their immune response to diseases and many of them fall victim to other sicknesses, prominently rare forms of pneumonia or cancer.
In July 1982, 471 cases of AIDS had been identified in nine countries. By August 1983 the disease had been identified in 16 countries, with 1,972 cases in the United States and Puerto Rico. Of these, 759 had died, one of the highest percentage mortality rates for any disease in history. A 1982 report showed that of those who had had the disease for more than a year, the mortality rate was over 60 percent.
What causes AIDS? Nobody knows. How is it transmitted? No one is certain, but doctors believe that most cases are sexually transmitted. One thing is sure: The disease surfaced among young, active male homosexuals. And it continues to exact its heaviest toll from this same group. In May 1983, according to Health magazine, 71 percent of AIDS cases had occurred among homosexual or bisexual men.
Yes, immorality—a sickness of the spirit—has reaped an abundant harvest of physical epidemics.