Thursday, March 14, 2013

Venereal Disease

Venereal diseases were common among mid-nineteenth century troops. It has been known for hundreds of years that syphilis and gonorrhea were transmitted by sexual contact, although the term “gonorrhea” was applied to all forms of urethral discharge during the Civil War.
As the devastating complications frequently don’t appear for many years, it’s impossible to estimate the number of post-war deaths from these diseases. 102,893 soldiers were diagnosed with gonorrhea during the war and 79,589 with syphilis, but very few wartime deaths were listed as a direct result of these diseases.
The military created some successful public health programs in its effort to rid camp areas of diseased prostitutes. The women were rounded up, inspected, treated and released when their symptoms receded.


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