Medicine: The Other Dangers of Close Encounters

While the publicity has focused on AIDS during the past few years, several other sexually transmitted diseases are quietly spreading their own net of contagion. Some old scourges, like syphilis, are making comebacks, and more recently recognized infections, such as genital herpes and chlamydia, are moving swiftly through the population. The extent of the epidemics is unknown, since only a fraction of the cases are reported to health officials. Experts think at least 25 STDs strike millions each year, primarily teenagers and young adults.

The STDs cannot be dismissed as a controllable collection of "social diseases." The open genital sores that...

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