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Mil Med. 1997 Feb;162(2):87-91.

Sexually transmitted disease control in the armed forces, past and present.

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School of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) present a challenge for military medical personnel in their efforts to maintain a ready and healthy force. Many tactics have been used in military STD control programs. This paper is a review of the literature outlining some past strategies used in the United States military and how they have shaped current STD policy. These efforts have included financial and administrative penalties, stigmatization and shame, screening programs, and sharing of resources with other government agencies. Punishments and stigmatization have not proven to be useful strategies and have been eliminated from current policy. Cooperation with other government agencies and screening programs are examined as tactics that have been found useful and are part of the program used by the military today to control not only the traditional STDs, but also the more recently discovered human immunodeficiency virus.

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