Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Venereal Disease Policy

Venereal Disease Policy

As a result of a forceful report submitted by the Director-General of Medical Services (Army and Air) through the Adjutant-General to War Cabinet, venereal disease was treated in a sane and reasonable manner. The policy was almost revolutionary compared with the First World War precautions of barbed-wire enclosures and armed guards for such patients. It was at first watched with great misgivings and doubt by some combatant officers. The attitude of the DGMS (Army and Air) was that nothing would be accomplished by treating as criminals those troops who contracted venereal disease, and that too harsh a policy would discourage infected soldiers from reporting early and openly for treatment.

In each of the three main mobilisation camps small isolation hospitals, called contagious disease hospitals, were established, and here patients were admitted and in most cases speedily cured by treatment with sulphonamides. These hospitals were used for both Army and Air Force personnel, while Trentham and Burnham hospitals also accepted any naval personnel from the Wellington and Christchurch areas.

Primarily, however, in order to reduce manpower wastage, the preventive aspects of venereal disease were emphasised. In all camps preventive ablution huts were established and all troops exposing themselves to infection were encouraged to visit these huts on their return to camp. In addition, preventive ablution centres were provided in the main cities for use by all the services. Attempts were made to trace the women who were sources of infection. The educational approach was also used extensively and medical officers gave lectures to troops on the dangers of promiscuous sexual intercourse. This campaign, combined with plans on a broader basis for keeping men interested in healthy physical and page 30 mental diversions during off-duty hours, more than justified itself in the relatively low incidence of venereal disease.