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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus, and HIV/AIDS. These are considered infectious diseases and share the characteristic of being transmitted principally or exclusively through sexual contact. This entry discusses the problem of STDs among U.S. military personnel and the U.S. military’s efforts to screen for and treat STDs.

In the past, STDs have posed a major medical problem for all military organizations in the world, resulting in loss of time, military effectiveness, and even life. From World War I to World War II, the U.S. military attempted to control STDs through education, combined with scare tactics, with negligible impact. Prophylaxis proved more useful. Since the advent of effective medical treatments, such as the use of penicillin during World ...

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