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But it is hard to escape those overtones; and it may be less ambiguous to repeat the definition rather than to use the word. However we speak of it, this is the subject we have come to.
VD is certainly a product of our habits of life and modes of conduct, and its control is likely to require that such habits and modes be changed. This seems to me self evident. The question is not whether the change is needed but what the nature of the change is to be. If we are to control VD, we must change our habits of life and modes of conduct. The question is, in what respects, and how?
A good way to search for clues that might lead to an answer to such a question would be to compare national differences in VD rates with variations in habits of life and modes of conduct in the same countries. But we lack the statistics. Some of the differences look as though they ought to be important, but we have no good basis for being sure that they are or, if they are, for measuring the degree of their importance.
We might draw some tentative negative conclusions from this otherwise fruitless quest. Spirochetes and gonococci know nothing of poetry. Profound differences in religion and politics, as well as differences in climate and all the social and cultural habits of life and modes of conduct that are associated with all three of these things, do not necessarily have anything to do with differences in VD rates. Within the group of developed countries, moreover, variations in the quality or availability of medical care are also evidently without significance, at least to a degree we can recognize. Health service is excellent in Finland and especially in Sweden, which has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, an accepted index of first rate health care; but both have high VD rates. There are high rates in countries which depend heavily on seafaring, which in turn encourages prostitution and the importation of VD; but official Czechoslovakian statistics admit rather high VD rates for that landlocked country. The statistics on prostitution in different countries that have been collected by Willcox tend to support the truism that the practice encourages VD, but they do not reveal any enlightening differences among the countries we are speaking of. A painstaking analysis of laws governing VD in some twenty three European countries, published in 1964 by two specialists in health legislation, showed wide variation which, once more, revealed no clear bearing on the VD rate. All of which is not to dismiss these matters. If we had good VD statistics I think we would probably be able to point to some of them as factors in the overall pattern of VD; yet their importance can be no more than relative, since all of the countries I have been speaking of have high VD rates. (see VD CONTROL MUST EMPHASIZE MORALS MORE THAN MICROBES PART II)
- United States VD Statistics Part II
- Other Countries VD Statistics Part I
- Tropical African Countries VD Statistics
- United States VD Statistics Part I
- Other Countries VD Statistics Part III