When You Go Home Take This Book With You
war began about gonorrhea and syphilis. We’ve given you the straight facts as simply as we could and tried to show you why it is dangerous to go with loose women.
We’ve probably tired you at times, but you’ve listened, and you’ve made a record both you and the country can be proud of.
Our army is the cleanest in the world. You’ve made it so. You’ve made it ten times cleaner than the country. Now, we want the cleanest country too, and we’re counting on you to get it.
You can do this by telling the folks at home what we’ve told you and what you have seen with your own eyes.
You’ve seen men hanging about the base hospital in their bathrobes when they ought to have been overseas with their comrades.
You’ve seen men who’d had a close break down on a hike or go to pieces in the trenches.
Perhaps you’ve seen some friend of yours afraid to go home to his wife or sweetheart because the surgeon told him he had syphilis. Tell those things to the boys who haven't had your chance to take a course in Uncle Sam's big war college.
You'll find some of them still standing outside the corner drug store just as they were when you left town.
They'll try to tell you again that clap's no worse than a bad cold, that you have to go with women if you want to be well, that it's all right to go with a whore if you pick a clean one.
But you'll know what to say to them when they pull that old stuff on you now. You'll ask them what regiment they belonged to, and you'll see them go slinking away.
You'll know what to say to the folks who are running the town, too, if they've not cleaned it up while you were away. You'll tell them that a town which still permits prostitutes and sporting-houses is a slacker town, a hundred years behind the times.
It doesn't matter how many stars such a town had in its service flag or how many times it went over the top in the Liberty Loan; it still has a black mark against its name and is out of touch with the new spirit of America.
But you won't be satisfied with just saying things. You'll be ready to make a stiff stand-up fight if you have to.
You'll owe it to yourself and to your family to do that.
You don't want your younger brother to go out and get clap just because your town hadn't sense enough to close its redlight district.
You don't intend to have your sister marry some fellow with syphilis he picked up on Main Street.
So when you go home, get together with the rest of the bunch that have been in the army and make your town get into line with the really live towns of the country.
Remember, if you need any help, the Government stands ready to back you up, just as it did in the army.
YOU HAVE won the war against autocracy. The fight against venereal disease—as base a hypocrite, as foul a murderer as any Hun—has only begun.
You have demonstrated your prowess on the battle field. It is now your privilege to show America and the world that you possess the courage, the purpose, the moral stamina, to "carry on" the fight now conducted by the Public Health Service, in co-operation with your State Board of Health, against syphilis and gonorrhea.
This campaign will be carried into the prosaic routine of your daily lives, in order that the world may be made safe for posterity.
Clap is a germ disease. It is caused by a little germ called the gonococcus, which gets into the penis and causes a thick yellow discharge. It may also cause stricture.
A stricture is a scar which closes the passage and makes it hard or even impossible to urinate. When stricture reaches this last stage it can be cured only by a surgical operation.
The first sign of clap is usually a burning pain in the penis when passing water. This occurs about three to ten days after going with a woman who has the disease.
The urine at this time may show fine flakes. A day or two later pus comes from the mouth of the penis. Every drop of this pus contains thousands of germs. If the smallest particle gets into the eye it may cause total blindness.
If not treated promptly and properly, clap produces serious after-effects. It may keep you from having children. It may give you a painful kind of rheumatism. It may attack the heart, the bladder, or the kidneys. If improperly treated, or left too long without treatment, clap may become absolutely incurable.
Clap is not always cured even when the discharge stops. Sometimes when it seems to be cured it will come back years later, as the result of over-exertion. Hence the mistaken idea that clap is caused by a strain.
Even when the discharge stops there will still be a small drop at the end of the penis in the morning. This drop is just as dangerous as the yellow pus.
A man who is not cured may give the clap to his wife. Then she may have to undergo a serious operation which will make it impossible for her to have children.
Sixty out of every hundred serious operations on innocent women are caused by clap.
If she has a child, she may give it the disease and it may become blind.
One-quarter of all blindness in the United States is caused by clap.
An old case of clap is called gleet.
Syphilis is also caused by a germ. This germ gets into the blood through the skin of the penis or other part of the body. The first sign of syphilis is a small red spot, pimple, or ulcer. It usually appears from two to eight weeks after going with a woman who has syphilis, and is called a chancre [pronounced "shanker"].
Sometimes a chancre is so small and so slightly inflamed that no attention is paid to it. Any small sore on or near the penis should be carefully watched by a doctor. It may be a chancre.
In from six weeks to three months after the chancre has disappeared the disease enters upon the second stage. Some of the symptoms of this stage are: headaches, bone-pains, fever, mouth and throat sores, skin rashes, swollen glands, loss of hair, etc.
The third stage comes in from one to twenty years. It causes locomotor ataxia, paralysis, paresis [softening of the brain], and frightful ulcers.
Syphilis is highly contagious, particularly in the first and second stages.
Though a man usually gets it form a woman who has the disease, he can get it from articles which have come in contact with the mouth of one who has syphilis, and from kissing.
He can also give it in the same way, and a man who has syphilis should be careful not to kiss anyone or to let others use his pipes, towels, razors, etc. Syphilis is curable if taken in time and the treatment continued long enough. It takes from one to three years to cure syphilis, and even then a man should continue to return for treatment from time to time to be on the safe side.
After a month's treatment a man may seem cured, but he is not, and he can give the disease to others.
Syphilis may keep coming back for a year or more. After each attack the symptoms may disappear even without much treatment. But the disease still lurks in his system, as may be shown by the Wassermann blood test.
A man who has syphilis should not marry before he has finished his full treatment and his doctor tell him he is cured. If he does marry before then he will probably give the disease to his wife, and, through her, to his children. If they are not born dead they will probably become cripples in mind or in body.
CHANCROID [Soft Chancre]
Chancroid is also a contagious venereal disease—a germ disease. It is not so dangerous as syphilis, since it does not get into the blood, but it may eat away the flesh and also cause buboes, or "blue balls."
The soft chancre, which is a sore on or near the penis, looks so much like the hard chancre of syphilis that it is often hard, even for a doctor, to say which it is. It may also hide a syphilitic chancre.
TO AVOID CLAP AND SYPHILIS
The only sure way to keep from getting clap and syphilis is to keep away from prostitutes or other loose women.
Antiseptic washes, lotions, ointments, and injections may help you to escape these diseases, but you cannot depend upon them.
It is not necessary to go with women to keep well. All athletes know this. The fact that famous boxers and wrestlers keep away from women while in training proves that a man is even stronger when he does not go with them.
Wet dreams are perfectly natural and do not hurt a man, in spite of what the quacks may say.
A quack is a dishonest doctor who claims to cure diseases without being able to do so. A quack often tries to make a man think he is sick in order to get his money.
Many quacks claim to cure clap and syphilis and such so-called diseases as varicocele and spermatorrhea. If you think there is anything the ter with you, go at once to a good doctor and he will either treat you, or give you useful advice.
Good doctors never advertise.
THE SEX ORGANS
It is not true that a man's sex organs [testicles and penis] grow weak if they are not used. Real lost manhood is usually due to disease or long abuse of these organs.
One way in which a man may abuse himself is through masturbation. Indulgence in this habit tends to weaken both body and will-power.
A man may also abuse himself by going with whores.
THE QUESTION OF HEALTH
A man who wishes to be healthy himself and to have a healthy wife and family will take care not to abuse himself in any way or to run the risk of getting a disease.
Even though he has to wait a long time before getting married and finds it hard to exercise control, it is better to make the struggle than to give in and perhaps ruin not only his own life but that of his wife and children.
It is perfectly possible to make this struggle and win this victory. Thousands of soldiers did both, thereby setting a new standard of clean, strong manhood in this country.
A man will find it easier to control himself, the more he keeps his thoughts clean.
He should avoid liquor. Liquor makes it harder to control both thoughts and actions. It makes a man an easy mark for the prostitute and also makes it easier for him to get a disease from her.
FACTS TO REMEMBER
It used to be thought that there was more clap and syphilis among soldiers than among civilians. We now know this is not true. Most of those who were treated for these diseases in the army, while we were at war with Germany, got them before they came to camp.
Only about fifteen men out of every hundred treated got them after coming to camp.
It cost the Government $10,000,000 for treatment in the army and navy during the war.
It is much cheaper to prevent clap and syphilis than to treat them.
Most loose women have clap or syphilis. Many have both.
Girls who do business on the quiet are just as dangerous as public prostitutes. Beware also of private snaps, or charity girls.
A man who goes with any loose woman, no matter what she may say, or how she may look, runs the risk of getting clap or syphilis.
It is sometimes said if whores were regularly examined, it would be safe to go with them. But this has been tried and it does not work.
It is easy for a woman to hide her condition. Even if she is clean when examined she can get the germ five minutes afterwards from the first man she goes with.
A STANDARD OF CONDUCT
IN THIS pamphlet we have talked to you only about matters of health. But every man should know that going with loose women not only exposes him to disease or other injury, but unfits him for his highest duties as citizen, husband, and father.
Straight living is a sign of strength. It is common sense based upon the experience of past generations. Self-interest, decency, patriotism, regard for others who may suffer from his acts, all demand of a man an effort to attain clean manhood.
Published for distribution by the
War Department, Commission
on Training Camp Activities
- For information, write to The U. S. Public Health Service, Division of Venereal Diseases, 228 First Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.