compiled by Dee Finney

10-13-02 - DREAM  - I was working in a large company and decided to go to the mall I was very familiar with.

When I got to the mall, I saw that some of the shops had been changed since the last time I had been there.

The main shop I liked the most had become a book store and they were displaying many books of Native American culture. The photographs and drawings on the covers looked very life-like and real.

I met a couple people I knew well at the mall - first a woman I worked with, and then Joe, who I also worked with, who was an ex-Navy Seal and a hero in Vietnam many times over.

I liked Joe a lot. He was personable, extra good-looking as far as I was concerned, and very intelligent - not only in book learning, but wise in the ways of the world. He was an all-around male - able to discuss anything men liked, but also appreciated women and had excellent taste in women's clothing, hair, makeup and everything that made a woman look beautiful. He was an excellent all around companion.

At first it seemed Joe didn't want to be with me, preferring the other woman's company, but after a few minutes, she had to leave, so Joe asked me to walk around the mall with him.

I noticed that the mall was closing down, and they were shutting the lights off.  Towards the exit, a couple other woman sitting near the door accosted us and demanded introductions. I did so with first names only, so these women couldn't track him down later.

It was during one of these introductions, I was shown the inside of the woman's mouth, and that the fluid under her tongue is where Syphilis grows and is spread.

It was pretty disgusting to think about. I won't need a reminder not to kiss strangers after that sight.

The dream just gradually faded after imparting that information.


What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a bacterial infection, primarily a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Who gets syphilis?

Any sexually active person can be infected with syphilis, although there is a greater incidence among young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years. It is more prevalent in urban than rural areas.

How is syphilis spread?

Syphilis is spread by sexual contact with an infected individual, with the exception of congenital syphilis, which is spread from mother to fetus. Transmission by sexual contact requires exposure to moist lesions of skin or mucous membranes.

What are the symptoms of syphilis?

The symptoms of syphilis occur in stages called primary, secondary and late. The first or primary sign of syphilis is usually a sore(s), which is painless and appears at the site of initial contact. It may be accompanied by swollen glands, which develop within a week after the appearance of the initial sore. The sore may last from one to five weeks, and may disappear by itself even if no treatment is received. Approximately six weeks after the sore first appears, a person will enter the second stage of the disease. The most common symptom during this stage is a rash, which may appear on any part of the body including trunk, arms, legs, palms, soles, etc. Other symptoms may occur such as tiredness, fever, sore throat, headaches, hoarseness, loss of appetite, patchy hair loss and swollen glands. These signs and symptoms will last two to six weeks and generally disappear in the absence of adequate treatment. The third stage, called late syphilis (syphilis of over four years' duration), may involve illness in the skin, bones, central nervous system and heart.

How soon do symptoms appear?

Symptoms can appear from 10 to 90 days after a person becomes infected, but usually within three to four weeks. Symptoms are often not noticed or are thought to be minor abrasions or heat rash and medical care is not sought.

When and for how long is a person able to spread syphilis?

Syphilis is considered to be communicable for a period of up to two years, possibly longer. The extent of communicability depends on the existence of infectious lesions (sores), which may or may not be visible.

Does past infection with syphilis make a person immune?

There is no natural immunity to syphilis and past infection offers no protection to the patient.

What is the treatment for syphilis?

Syphilis is treated with penicillin or tetracycline. The amount of treatment depends on the stage of syphilis the patient is in. Pregnant women with a history of allergic reaction to penicillin should undergo penicillin desensitization followed by appropriate penicillin therapy. A baby born with the disease needs daily penicillin treatment for ten days.

What are the complications associated with syphilis?

Untreated syphilis can lead to destruction of soft tissue and bone, heart failure, blindness and a variety of other conditions which may be mild to incapacitating. More important, a female with untreated syphilis may transmit the disease to her unborn child, which may result in death or deformity of the child. Physicians and hospitals are required to test pregnant females for syphilis at prenatal visits. Tests of newborns or their mothers are required at the time of delivery.

What can be done to prevent the spread of syphilis?

There are number of ways to prevent the spread of syphilis:

Limit your number of sex partners;

Use a male or female condom**;

If you think you are infected, avoid sexual contact and visit your local STD clinic, a hospital or your doctor;

Notify all sexual contacts immediately so they can obtain examination and treatment;

All pregnant women should receive at least one prenatal blood test for syphilis.

** Remember that use of condoms may prevent the disease if the initial contact sore is on the penis or in the vaginal area. However, transmission can occur if the sore is outside the areas covered by the condom.

New York State Department of Health

Secondary Syphilis Rash

The second stage of syphilis is characterized by rashes that may have a variety of appearances. The rash may appear as rough, “copper penny” spots on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet; fine red dots; small blisters filled with pus; slimy white patches in the mouth; or thick gray or pink patches.

Late Stage Gummas

Small lumps, called gummas, develop throughout the body during the late form of syphilis. Gummas appear as painless circular sores on the skin, but may also develop on the liver, bones, stomach, upper respiratory tract, palate, or nasal passages, causing pain, fever, tenderness, or tissue perforations.


How is syphilis spread?

Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread by toilet seats, door knobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.

What are the signs and symptoms in adults?

Primary Stage

The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the first symptom can range from 10-90 days (average 21 days). The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre), but there may be multiple sores. The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3-6 weeks, and it will heal on its own. If adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.

Secondary Stage

The second stage starts when one or more areas of the skin break into a rash that usually does not itch. Rashes can appear as the chancre is fading or can be delayed for weeks. The rash often appears as rough, red or reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and on the bottoms of the feet. The rash also may also appear on other parts of the body with different characteristics, some of which resemble other diseases. Sometimes the rashes are so faint that they are not noticed. Even without treatment, rashes clear up on their own. In addition to rashes, second-stage symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and tiredness. A person can easily pass the disease to sex partners when primary or secondary stage signs or symptoms are present.

Late Syphilis

The latent (hidden) stage of syphilis begins when the secondary symptoms disappear. Without treatment, the infected person still has syphilis even though there are no signs or symptoms. It remains in the body, and it may begin to damage the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. This internal damage may show up many years later in the late or tertiary stage of syphilis. Late stage signs and symptoms include not being able to coordinate muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.

Can a newborn get syphilis?

Depending on how long a pregnant woman has been infected, she has a good chance of having a stillbirth (syphilitic stillbirth) or of giving birth to a baby who dies shortly after birth. If not treated immediately, an infected baby may be born without symptoms but could develop them within a few weeks. These signs and symptoms can be very serious. Untreated babies may become developmentally delayed, have seizures, or die.



In its 1994 STD surveillance report, 4 the CDC listed the State of Hawai'i as number 47 of 53 states and territories with a syphilis case rate of 0.3 cases/100,000 population. Among cities with a population of  under 200,000, Honolulu ranked number 62 of 64 with a case rate of 0.5 cases/100,000 population. Although some rural states reported no P&S; syphilis cases in the past, Honolulu will be the first city with a population under 200,000 to report no P&S; syphilis cases.

Hawai'i currently ranks 19th in the U.S. in AIDS case rates. This relatively high rate varies considerably from the low syphilis rate. However, these AIDS cases were the result of transmission during the early 1980's when Hawai'i exceeded the national P&S;syphilis rate. Hopefully, the benefits of disease intervention activities and changes in sexual behavior which resulted in lower syphilis case rates will carry over into lower HIV infection rates.



The Wasserman Test

Mix human serum (blood minus cells) with cardiolipin and complement
If there are antibodies in the blood, the complement is used up by the complex
If not, there is still free complement
Add sheep cells coated with antibody
If there is still complement left, they lyse
If all is used up, they don't lyse.

In other words:

If there is anti-syphilis antibody (anti-cardiolipin antibody), it binds to cardiolipin and then complement binds and removed from the mixture
If there is no anti-cardiolipin antibody, the complement won't bind in the first mixture and is still there when the sheep cells are added.

Modern tests

Monoclonal antibodies and fluorescence


Treatments for Syphilis

Mercury rubs since the 1500's

"One night with Venus, the rest of your life with Mercury"

Salvarsan (Arsphenamine), an arsenic compound 1910
And a less toxic form, neosalvarsan
Requires multiple injections and careful monitoring of the dosages

"Dr. Erlich's Magic Bullet" (Paul Erlich)

Magic Bullets

First "specific" curative chemical and foundation of all later chemotherapy, including antibiotics
Age of optimism
Triumph of bacteriology (Koch, Pasteur, Yersin, - same era)

Remember the other diseases???

Methylene Blue and malaria!

Modern Treatment for Syphilis

single dose of penicillin for active, multiple doses for latent
almost 100% effective

no resistance yet seen -- a real puzzle!

Contact notification and public health laws

problems with late stage treatment
autoimmune responses

Prevalence of Venereal Disease

Prevalence of Syphilis

Prevalence of Venereal Disease in General

probably 30% of the men
often higher in war time
effect on family

"venereum insontium" -- innocent syphilis or gonorrhea

Prevalence of Syphilis 1880-1920

estimates are imprecise
perhaps 10% of the population of the US
Best numbers come from military

Prevalence of Syphilis (recent)

Effects of social attitudes on syphilis trends
not always obvious
note that cure (penicillin) does not mean eradication
gonorrhea is usually about 10-20 times higher



Ernie Stacey
Head Technologist Hematology Section
Dept. of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital, Vancouver, B.C.
Dana V. Devine
Assistant Professor of Pathology, University of B.C.
Scientist, Canadian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service

Originally published Lupus Canada Bulletin, Volume 3 No. 1, Spring 1993

A major component of cell membranes is a substance called phospholipid. There are a variety of phospholipids contained within the membranes of cells including cardiolipin, phosphatidic acid, and phosphatidylserine. During the course of some infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases, the immune system may produce antibodies directed at membrane phospholipid. These antibodies may attack cells in tissues or may bind to blood cells in the circulation.

Antibodies to phospholipids were probably first described by Wasserman in 1906, who had developed a laboratory assay for detection of syphilis, and later by Pangborn in 1941, whose laboratory assays for syphilis utilized a prepared extract of bovine heart muscle which is rich in a phospholipid that he called cardiolipin.

During the Second World War, laboratory assays for syphilis were being performed on military and non-military personnel. Doctors discovered a number of people with positive syphilis test results, but with no clinical evidence of disease. In follow-up studies of this group of "false positive" patients it was found that they could be divided into two groups, transient false positive (usually due to an infection) and long term false positive. In this latter group there was a high prevalence of autoimmune disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus (LS). This was the first hint that there was an association between "unusual antibodies" (which cause a false positive syphilis test) and autoimmune disease.

In 1952, Conley and Hartrnann reported two LS patients with bleeding disorders and a false positive syphilis test. In the laboratory, studies suggested that there was a relationship between the presence of these "unusual antibodies" and bleeding tendencies. Because the patient's blood did not clot as rapidly as normal, the term lupus anticoagulant was used to describe this clinical condition.

Today we now know the reasons for the "false positive" syphilis test and the presence of the lupus anticoagulant are due to antiphospholipid antibody variants. Interestingly, it has also been shown that this antibody is only present in a small number of LS patients and that blood clotting complications occur in patients with these antibodies, rather than the bleeding complications one would expect from the laboratory results.

Although the actual disease mechanisms remain to be determined, antiphospholipid antibodies can attack platelets or blood vessel cells which may cause the formation of small blood clots.

The association between the presence of the lupus anticoagulant and blood clots has stimulated the development of more sensitive tests for the detection of antiphospholipid antibodies. Problems with laboratory standardization of these assays have occurred but studies do suggest that prolonged increased levels of antiphospholipid antibodies are associated with a potential risk of both arterial and venous blood clots. Whether these antiphospholipid antibodies actually cause the blood clots or are a consequence of some other previous clinical event remains controversial.

For many years these phospholipid antibodies received relatively little attention and were regarded by some laboratory workers as a nuisance (false positive test results). Recently, however, the interest of the medical community has increased due to studies that have shown a strong correlation between the presence of these antiphospholipid antibodies and blood clots, decreased platelet counts, or recurrent fetal loss.

The effort to understand the significance of antiphospholipid antibodies has drawn together a number of investigators from various disciplines. For rheumatologists it may provide new information about the immune system and the formation of autoantibodies. Hematologists may be provided with a better understanding of the mechanisms of blood clotting, and obstetricians a better understanding of the mechanisms of fetal loss. Much laboratory research and clinical investigation remains to be done before we fully understand the role of antiphospholipid antibodies in disease. This understanding is a prerequisite to the development of effective and specific treatments for these autoimmune antibodies.





There were many factors contributing to the Holocaust, such as anti-Semitism, Demonization, Versailles Treaty, economic displacements of the Weimar Republic, but Hitler's mental health was the Direct Cause of the Holocaust. There is circumstantial evidence that Hitler was afflicted with disease called "General Paresis", causing his paranoia, megalomania, delusions, flight from reality, and all those symptoms that provide the only rational explanation of the insane killings.


Mein Kampf- Hitler's biographical book is a good guide to Hitler's psyche. One of the mysteries not covered in the Mein Kampf is why did Hitler not serve in the Austrian Army. Hitler was born in 1889 and in 1910, at the age of 21, he was subject to the conscription to the Imperial Austrian Army. In 1913 Hitler left Vienna for Bavaria, without being drafted into the Army. Hitler either dodged the draft or was found unfit to serve for health reasons. Ernest Hanfstaengl- a member of Hitler's entourage writes in his memoirs about Hitler's health problems:

"One thing that became borne in on me very early was the absence of a vital factor in Hitler's existence. He had no normal sex life...It was part of hidden complexes and a constitutional insufficiency which may have been congenital and may have resulted from a syphilitic infection during his youth in Vienna."

Syphilis is a very unusual disease, with unusual patterns. The first stage begins after an approximate 3-week incubation period. During this stage all symptoms appear; rash, breaks in the skin, sores, and a person feels generally unwell. After a period of about 9 months, all the symptoms disappear, even without any treatment, and the second, latent stage starts. In this stage, a person is not infectious and syphilis can only be detected through the blood test. The latent stage lasts from 1 to 50 years.

In the third and final stage - the tertiary stage the disease causes permanent damage of parts of the body; ulcers of the skin, lesions on ligaments bones or joints. Tertiary syphilis is most serious when it attacks heart, the brain or the nervous system. When syphilis attacks the brain it causes the inflammation of the brain, called "encephalitis". Today syphilis is a curable affliction and it is almost extinct, but in the thirties it was quite frequent. In a 1930 published textbook "The Human Mind", Karl Menninger gives the following description of syphilis:

Many people who have syphilis don't know they have it. Those who do know it rarely suspect the possibility of its affecting the nervous system. Brain syphilis follows original infection by many years. It is difficult for the public to realize that syphilis far more frequently betrays itself by queer conduct than by starting skin eruptions. Brain syphilis may exist for years without being suspected by anyone, least by the victim.

When the sickness attack the nervous system it is called neurosyphilis, and it can kill, paralyze or render insane. The psychosis caused by encephalitis or neurosyphilis is accompanied by progressive paralysis, and it is called general paresis. It is almost certain that Hitler caught syphilis in Vienna.

Because of the disease Hitler was exempt from the service in the Austrian Army. In about 1914 the symptoms of the syphilis disappeared and the latent stage started. The disease was not treated and the infection remained latent, until it resurfaced in 1935, with start of the final tertiary stage.

It is also possible to pinpoint the date of this affliction. In 1908 Hitler shared a room in Vienna at Stumpergasse with his childhood friend Kubizek. In August of 1908 Kubizek went visit his parents in Linz, and Hitler remained alone in the room, rented from Frau Zakreys. On November 20, 1908 Kubizek returned to Vienna and to his amazement discovered that his friend Hitler moved out suddenly taking all his possessions, leaving no message and no forwarding address. Hitler vanished. "Unknown to Kubizek, Adolf was living only a few blocks away from his old lodgings. In Austria every change of address has to be reported to the police and accordingly on November 18 he signed a police registration giving his address as Room 16/22 Felbergasse....The new room had more light than Frau Zakreys's room and cost more money. He liked the place well enough to stay there for eight months, living alone, rarely leaving his room, speaking to scarcely anyone, and having no visible occupation."

It is save to assume that Hitler's strange behavior was due to the syphilis that was the cause of the break with his friend and the strange solitary life. In my Kampf Hitler shows a tremendous preoccupation with syphilis. Two whole sections were devoted to syphilis. Hitler wrote:

Particularly with regard to syphilis, the attitude of the leadership of the nation and the state can only be designated as total capitulation. ..This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instincts will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring.

In 1935 Hitler fell ill, he complained about cardiac pains, excessive gasses and insomnia, but refused to be examined by a doctor. Speer writes in his memoirs:

Hitler was never seriously examined at the time but experimented with treating his symptoms by his own theories.....Later he was persuaded to undergo an examination by Morell (Dr. Theodore Morell, specialist in skin and venereal diseases).....The other injections and drugs he gave to Hitler were not generally known; they were only hinted at. ... And in fact the injections had to be given more and more frequently.

At the end of the war Hitler's health deteriorated significantly, and there was a general opinion that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease. In 1945 General Guderian, visited Hitler in his bunker under the Reich Chancery and describes Hitler appearance .

It was no longer simply his left hand, but the whole left side of his body that trembled.... He walked awkwardly, stooped more than ever, and his gestures were both jerky and slow. He had to have a chair pushed beneath him when he wished to sit down.

Hitler's armament minister and close collaborator Speer also visited Hitler in his bunker in Berlin, and gave a more vivid description of Hitler, sickness:

"Now, he was shriveling up like an old man. His limbs trembled; he walked stooped, with dragging footsteps. Even his voice became quavering and lost masterfulness.....When he became excited, as he frequently did in a senile way, his voice started breaking. .......His complexion was sallow, his face swollen; his uniform, which in the past he had kept scrupulously neat, was often neglected in this last period of life and stained by the food he had eaten with a shaking hand....I was constantly tempted to pity the hopeless situation, he continued to commit nonexistent divisions, or to order units supplied by planes could no longer fly for lack of fuel. ...He frequently took flight from reality and entered his world of fantasy....he claimed he was in a position to conquer Bolshevism by the strength of his personality and in alliance with the West."

Outwardly the symptoms remind Parkinsonism, a disease due to the degeneration of the nerve cells in one part of the brain, usually as a result of arteriosclerosis. It manifests itself in trembling and muscular rigidity that interferes with all movements, from facial expression to locomotion. It occurs fairly often in old age. Hitler was at that time 56 years old, and besides the trembling and stooping he showed signs of flight from reality. Parkinson's disease does not affect the functioning of the brain just the motor coordination. Hitler's moodiness, flight from reality, fits of temper, sulkiness indicates the disease to be general paresis, and very often paresis is accompanied by the Parkinson's disease.

The psychological symptoms of paresis are megalomania, paranoia, and lack of sense of reality, dulling of the moral senses. According to the Textbook of Abnormal Psychology the paretic is extremely domineering, irritable, full of grandiose delusions, and likely to feel that he is an object of persecutions. Mentally they seem to be in a sort of dream world in which their own ideas, wishes fears, and everyday occurrences are mixed up with no distinction between fact and fancy.

.{The paretic} will be changeable, easily angered, sulky, have fits of crying and wailing with self-pity....He will be careless in the face of danger, lack foresight with respect to approaching difficulty, and be quickly reassured after severe misfortune. ...Abrupt alteration of emotions is in common."

" As the disease progresses the motor symptoms become more and more pronounced, The disturbance of speech becomes quite obvious...Movements are slow, clumsy, and awkward...His gait is unsteady and shuffling .. His features become flabby and expressionless while his voice is monotonous or tremulous. "

Hitler's affliction and behavior looks like a textbook case, so exactly it fits the textbook description.


Delusion is defined as false beliefs, which cannot be modified by reasoning or demonstration of the facts. Persistent and systematic delusions are characteristic of psychotic states caused by General Paresis. Hitler had many delusions; he considered himself the greatest military genius of all times, the greatest philosopher, law giver, master builder, etc. Rauschning quotes Hitler bragging: "Providence has ordained that I should be the greatest liberator of humanity. I am freeing men from his restraints of an intelligence that has taken charge."


Another symptom of the General Paresis is Paranoia, defined as a psychotic disorder characterized by highly systemized delusions of persecutions or grandeur, suspiciousness, and hostility. Hermann Rauschning describes Hitler's odd behavior:

Hitler has states that approach persecution mania and dual personality... He often wakes up in the middle of the night and wanders restlessly to and from. Then he must have lights everywhere. .... Sometimes Hitler wakes up at night with convulsive shrieks. He shouts for help. .... He shakes with fear, making the whole bed vibrate...Sweat streamed down his face. Suddenly, he began to reel off figures, and odd words and broken phrases, entirely devoid of sense. It sounded horrible.

Hafstaengel describes one of Hitler's birthday parties when Hitler lived in a House owned by a Jew. At the party Hitler did not touch the food, and this was his explanation:

But this house belongs to a Jew and these days you can drip slow poison down the walls and kill your enemies. I never eat here normally.


Megalomania is defined as extreme over-evaluation of oneself. Hitler was a megalomaniac. When the Austrian Chancellor, Schuschnigg, visited Hitler to discuss the Austrian German agreements, Hitler bragged: "I am the greatest German in all history!... I have reached the most a German leader has ever reached in German history."


Hitler was known for his outbursts, temper and sulkiness. Wagener comments about Hitler:

"[He] could fly into an indignant rage, whereby the vein on his forehead from the top oh his nose to his hairline swelled and grew blue in almost terrifying way, and his voice cracked , so it seemed that he would fear for his life-and for our own as well....Hitler's mood fluctuated between blackest depression and uncontrollable rage. Among intimate friends, Hitler let himself go. I often heard him shout and stamp his feet. The slightest contradiction threw him into rage. People began to be afraid of his incalculable temper.

He behaved like a combination of a spoiled child and a hysterical woman. He scolded in high, shrill tones, stamped his feet, and banged his fist on tables and walls. He foamed at the mouth, panting and stammering in uncontrolled fury.


For Hitler terror, brutality and violence were favorite tools, and he admired brutality in others, even in his enemies. Goebbels notes in his Diaries about Hitler's admiration for Stalin's brutality: "The Fuhrer, incidentally, has a rather high regard for the Soviet war leadership. Stalin's brutal hand has saved the Russian front. To hold our own we shall have to apply similar methods on our side."


In Vienna Hitler adapted Social Darwinism and the brutal outlook on life, caught the bacillus of anti-Semitism, and got infected with syphilis. Those three elements shaped his personality. His repressed sexuality found an outlet in anti-Semitism that became the focal point of personality. Syphilis developed into general paresis that caused his paranoia, detachment from reality, delusions, blurring the moral restrains. Social Darwinism induced him to seek solutions to his inner conflicts in limitless brutality and senseless killing. The idea of getting rid of the Jews became the most important aim in life, more important that the winning the war, and the conquest of Europe.

Even if we don't accept the circumstantial evidence of the of Hitler's general paresis, all symptoms of extensive paranoia, delusions, megalomania, brutality indicate a mental health problem that abundantly explains the irrationality and absurdity of the Holocaust. In my opinion, this should be the main theme of the Holocaust Education.


Lenin's Love Life Exposed?

BBC regional analyst Stephen Mulvey

According to the Sunday Times newspaper, a British historian is about to make new revelations about the love life of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Robert Service, professor of Russian history at the University of London, is reported to have found private letters and medical records which show that Lenin continued a love affair with the French-born revolutionary, Inessa Armand, for much longer than is commonly supposed. BBC regional analyst, Stephen Mulvey, considers the evidence available so far.

The theory that Lenin had a love affair with Inessa Armand is widely accepted by historians, but it's usually supposed that this affair took place in Paris several years before the revolution, and was not long-lived.

The new evidence reportedly gathered from Russian archives by Professor Service, suggests that Lenin tried hard to end the affair with Armand, but found himself unable to live without her. According to the Sunday Times Professor Service is making a television programme that will be screened next month. One of his claims is that when Lenin moved into the Moscow Kremlin in 1918, he took both his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his lover (Armand). All three had separate bedrooms.

Russians have long enjoyed speculating about the relationship between Lenin and Armand, an advocate of free love. People have even discussed the possibility that Lenin could have fathered of one of Armand's children. Some have noted that Lenin and Krupskaya had no children -- and concluded that Lenin was impotent. Others have speculated that Lenin might have contracted syphilis in his student days. Most of these suggestions appear to be unfounded.

One thing that most historians agree on is that Lenin's life was overwhelmingly dominated by politics. According to the author of one recent history of the revolution, by the Cambridge historian Orlando Figes, "Lenin's personal life was extraordinarily dull." He was an ascetic, like many of his fellow revolutionaries. Although he acknowledged that he could be moved by music, it was a luxury he tried not to allow himself. He did not smoke or drink, and was not interested in beautiful women -- except for Armand.

But the evidence for a long-lasting passion is not conclusive. From the fact that Armand had a room in the Kremlin, and believed in free love, it does not necessarily follow that she and Lenin continued to sleep together until her death from cholera in 1920. Neither is this proven by the fact that Lenin was overwhelmed by grief at her funeral.

Professor Service's argument is, admittedly, strengthened by the fact that Armand wrote a letter to Lenin just before her death. The letter itself has been lost, but in a surviving covering note Armand declares that she cared only for her children and Lenin. Professor Service believes it's significant that Armand asked her daughter to deliver the letter to Lenin's sister, Maria, rather than to Krupskaya -- suggesting that Armand wanted to spare Krupskaya the pain of forwarding to her husband a declaration of love.

It may be that Professor Service has additional evidence, which will be exposed when his programme is televised. But for the time being his theory, while undeniably intriguing, falls somewhat short of demonstrated fact.




The doctors found six syphilis patients in the small district of Mikitamyae, which is in Central Estonia. The remarkable thing about that is that all those patients were elderly people over 50 years of age, the oldest of them was 70.

The 70-year-old patient with such a sad diagnosis confessed to the doctors that he had had a sexual intercourse with a woman of his age. “This” happened after the couple drank alcohol beverages. As it turned out, the woman, from whom the old man caught syphilis, was sick with this venereal illness for several years.

Doctors found four other syphilis patients at the end of March. All of them were lonely people in need, and fond of drinking. And all of them were between 50-70 years of age.


The Tuskegee Syphilis Study began. Two hundred (200) poor black men with syphilis began a long term experiment in which those men were to be studied. They were never told of their illness, and treatment was denied them. As many as 100 of the original 200 died as a direct or indirect result of the illness. The wives and children of the subjects also suffered as a result of the disease. (The government office supervising the study was the predecessor to today's Centers for Disease Control (CDC)).

The Secretary of Defense may not conduct any test or experiment involving the use of any chemical or biological agent on civilian populations unless local civilian officials in the area in which the test or experiment is to be conducted are notified in advance of such test or experiment...

This necessarily applies to peacetime civilian populations. There would be no permission asked, or granted, of a foreign government with which this nation were at war, for permission to experiment on their citizens.

And such test or experiment may then be conducted only after the expiration of the thirty-day period beginning on the date of such notification.

It should be noted that no definition exists within that law which defines who or what constitutes "local civilian officials". Under this wording compliance could be satisfied by the notification of an off-duty meter maid.

The reality of 50 USC 1520 is that it is, on the face of it, unconstitutional. The fourth article of amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons...shall not be violated."

The most prominent application of the federal law, with which most people are familiar, is the infamous Tuskegee Experiments. These were studies performed by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) upon 412 black American citizens infected with syphilis, depriving them of a proven cure for the purpose of a 40-year study of the disease's effect--which, untreated, is nearly always death.

More recently has come to light experiments being performed, again on black people, by the United States government; this time outside the restrictions of U.S. law.






THE SACRAMENTO BEE, October 28, 2001 -A significant rise in syphilis infections is being driven by gay men having unprotected sex with multiple partners, according to city public health officials.

The number of infections more than doubled among gay and bisexual men from 2000 according to a report city officials will deliver Saturday at the Infectious Diseases Society of America meeting in San Francisco.



Dear Grandsons,

Greetings of love to you.

The world out there is dangerous, and some of the dangers are hidden. Some of the most hideous dangers are what are called venereal diseases. You probably already know the meaning of the term, venereal disease, but let me explain the term anyway.

Venereal diseases are those diseases which are usually transmitted by sexual intercourse (the mating act).

The Bad News: These diseases are not usually revealed to us. They are hidden. For example, the beautiful girl or woman sitting next to you on the bus or in the classroom may have one (or several) venereal diseases (abbreviated as V.D.). The handsome young man, so strong and able on the football field, may have V.D. Some types of V.D. can be cured. For other types, there is no cure. Once you have them, they are with you for life.

The Good News: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from all types of V.D. prevalent in the U.S.A.

While serving in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army during World War II, I had considerable experience with venereal diseases. Why? Because I was an orderly in a hospital which treated only venereal diseases which plagued our military men. We treated hundreds of cases. There are better and more successful treatments today than then; but at that time, my job was to see that every patient received his shots (in the hip with a long, long needle) every three hours around the clock.

Never believe that a person (woman or a man) is "too nice" to have sex with you knowing he or she has V.D. They do so all the time. Some for money, some because they are angry, and who knows how many other reasons. Sometimes these persons do not yet know they have V.D. They entice you; tempt you to sin; to break the Commandment.

This may make you vomit, but one example I can name is of a Philippine woman (a prostitute) who stuffed her private parts with toilet paper to stop the corruption from flowing long enough to do her "trick." The service man who visited her did contract V.D. Is this surprising? Later he came to the hospital for treatment.

But remember the Good News: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from venereal diseases.

There are numerous types of V.D., some of which I have forgotten, so I will consult a medical book and name the most devastating ones.

Syphilis (pronounced sif-a-las): Until AIDS appeared, syphilis was the most serious of all venereal diseases. It is estimated that one-half million Americans (mostly teenagers) have this disease and do not know it. The incubation period (the time from exposure until the disease develops) is usually about 30 days, but can be as long as two years. I have seen lots of syphilis among our military men.

Untreated, syphilis can result in the breakdown of body tissues, deterioration of the bones, mental disorders, heart problems, blindness, and even death. Syphilis is caused by a little cork-screw-like, microscopic demon (a spirochete) which stands on end and spins round and round, and drills into the flesh where it multiplies in great numbers.

This disease is generally made known by open sores on the penis (called genital ulcers), or ulcers may erupt on or in the mouth. If kisses are exchanged when syphilitic sores are on the mouth, it is possible to contract the disease in this way. Normally, however, syphilis is contracted only by sexual intercourse with an infected person.

If untreated in its first stage (sores in the flesh), then the spirochete eventually move into the bloodstream as well, and is difficult to cure. If not cured in this stage, the spirochete move into the spinal cord. In this stage, syphilis is usually incurable.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from syphilis.

Gonorrhea (ga-no-ree-a): A common venereal disease, the incubation period for gonorrhea is short; 5 to 14 days. Symptoms are painful urination and the exuding of pus from the penis. Although this is generally not the case, sometimes the pain is so great that grown men weep. I have seen much gonorrhea among our military men.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from gonorrhea.

Non-gonococcal urethritis: This is easily recognized only in males and manifests itself by a genital discharge. It does not respond to penicillin, but must be treated with other remedies.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from this venereal disease.

Chancroid (shank-roid): The many ulcers which erupt on the genitals are extremely painful and accompanied by swelling.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from chancroid.

Herpes Genitalis (her-peas gen-i-tal-is): The herpes virus, closely related to the virus which causes cold sores, presents itself in painful clusters of small blisters on the genitals. This is the second most common venereal disease in the U.S.A. It can be treated, but NOT CURED. Again, there is no cure. Once you have it, it stays with you the remainder of your life, and frequently breaks out anew.

Now suppose you contract this disease by breaking Yahweh's Commandment (indulging in illicit sex). Later you decide, "Hey! I have met the perfect woman, so I'm going to marry her." Please be aware that in doing so, you will doom this woman (the woman you love) to an incurable disease; a life-long disease; a lifetime of pain, misery, and embarrassment. A happy prospect? Not at all.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from this type of V.D.

Venereal Warts: These warts do not appear for many weeks after exposure has taken place. Of all the types of V.D., this is, perhaps, the easiest to treat; by cauterizing (burning them off). I have seen venereal warts also among our military men.

But again: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from venereal warts.

Candidiasis (You tell me how to pronounce this): A type of thrush; a common female complaint accompanied by a vaginal discharge, soreness, and itching, is a recurring one. Apparently this disease is never cured. Obviously, males transmit this to the females.

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from this venereal disease.

Trichomoniases (??): This vaginal discharge is caused by a parasite which can be carried by a male and transmitted to his sexual partner.

Now for the Good News: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from this disease.

The name of this venereal disease? I have forgotten, but it is a real doozy. Also, I do not remember how it affects women, but in men, glands in the groins become infected, swell, burst, and discharge pus freely. I have seen this among our military men. This painful and inconvenient type of V.D. can be disabling.

But remember: No need to suffer in this way because - Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from this disease.

AIDS: This venereal disease is incurable. This venereal disease is 100 percent fatal. By that, I mean it kills you - dead! AIDS is a KILLER. All who have it die. The sad thing is: sometimes the incubation period is as long as 10 years. This gives the wayward man many opportunities to spread the disease, even before he knows he has the disease.

Now, suppose you break Yahweh's Commandment by indulging in illicit sex. As a result, you contract AIDS, but no sign of it appears for eight years. In the meantime, you meet the perfect woman and propose marriage. By marriage to this woman, you sentence her to death, because she, too, will contract AIDS. Is this what you want?

Once the disease develops and has a person in its grip, it sometimes takes 10 years to die. In the meantime, even young men wither away from 180 lbs. to 80 or 100 lbs. Young men look 75 or 80 years of age before the end; pale, withered, drawn, feeble, helpless, unable to care for themselves. They must be cared for like small babies.

Why does this happen? Because some people refused to keep Yahweh's Commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery (with women or with men)."

But remember: Keeping Yahweh's Commandments protects you from AIDS and other venereal diseases.

In the proper setting and within the sanctity of Holy Matrimony, sexual intercourse is a delightful experience, but the Book of Proverbs gives the results of improper sexual relations. The foolish youth and the "loose woman" are spoken of in this way:

"For the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood (a deadly poison), sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not take heed to the path of life;. . . (Proverbs 5:3-6)

And what is the "Path to Sheol?" Breaking the Commandments of Yahweh. And what is the "Path of Life?" Keeping Yahweh's Commandments (Deut. 30:15-20; Mt. 22:36-40).

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandment and live, . . . to preserve you from the loose woman, from the ADVENTURESS with her smooth words. . . . I have perceived among the youths, a young man without sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

"And lo, a woman meets him, dressed as a harlot, wily of heart. . . . She seizes him and kisses him, . . . and says to him: Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; . . . at the full moon he will come home. . . .

"Let not your heart turn aside to her ways, . . . her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death" (from several verses of Proverbs Chapter 7).

Now that AIDS is prevalent, these warnings of "death" can be taken very literally. They are not an exaggeration.

But it is even more abominable and dangerous to become involved with a homosexual (a queer, a sodomite). If we are to shun the evil and adventurous woman, how much more the sodomite. The practice of sodomy is why AIDS is with us today. Only one breaking of the Commandment (only one sexual contact with an infected person) is all that is required to give you AIDS. The result is death.

One final thought: Young people often believe "It's my life, so I'll live it as I choose." But this is not true. Family members must be considered also. They should not be subjected to the shame and punishment which AIDS brings. Also, if a young person contracts AIDS, who will care for him during his years of dying? Family members! "My son, keep my words . . ." (Proverbs 7:1). I wrote this letter because I want you, my grandsons, to be wise, discreet and honorable, and because:

I love you,




Alexander the Great offers lesson in Afghanistan war

By By Mike Madias

Many military forces before us have occupied the land of the Afghans. Their mighty armies rolled victorious into Kabul and Kandahar. So far, all those occupation forces, whether armed by swords, muskets or rockets, have failed to control and hold those territories. All, save one. That was the military, economic and cultural force led by Alexander the Great.

The United States and its allies have had success on the battlefields. But, as the latest fighting there shows, we have further political and military objectives in the land of the Afghans. We want to hold on to what we have won. Our foreign policy gurus should consider the lessons of history.

As a political figure, Alexander was a ruthless and unforgiving pragmatist. He was prone to bloody vendettas. He smoked out and tracked down his sworn enemy, Darius III of Persia. There was no place for Darius to run or to hide.

Alexander was successful because he established urban centers of culture and trade. Along his path of conquest, there were many cities called "Alexandria." In Afghanistan, the cities of Kandahar and Herat were both called Alexandria at one time.

These Alexandrian cities were cosmopolitan. Archeologists tell us that, in one such city, artifacts were found from Greece, Egypt, Persia, Babylon, India and China. At this site, just north of Kabul, they found a carved figures of the Buddha, dressed in Grecian draped clothing. The pieces were inscribed in both Greek and Sanskrit.

A city founded by Alexander was not a captive audience for all things Greek. It was a home and marketplace for a diversity of ideas, cultures and imported goods. Who would continue to follow Darius, when Alexander offered a better deal?

But Alexander was ultimately defeated by epilepsy, syphilis and madness. As his illness progressed, he became more ambitious, greedy and cruel. Bouts of erratic and violent behavior replaced pragmatism. He killed one of his top advisers in a drunken brawl over a trinket or two at a party.

In the end, winter weather in the mountains of the Hindu Kush ended his march to the East. His generals would no longer follow his commands. In 323 BC, Alexander died.

After Alexander's death, the lands that he had conquered were partitioned. Those lands were ruled by warlords who had once been Alexander's generals. Most of those were exceptional military leaders but poor civil administrators. The empire crumbled as a result.

This is what we can learn from the successes and failures of Alexander the Great:

÷ Afghanistan can be taken by a military force. It can be held by wise civil administration.

÷ The winter weather near and around the Hindu Kush can sap the will of a military force. The rugged terrain with its cold winds and its dust is itself a force that can defeat the armies of the imprudent and the greedy.

÷ Alexander's successors lost the empire. Control of an area is not measured in terms of square kilometers. Military occupation, in and of itself, is a poor political strategy and usually encourages resistance and sabotage. On the other hand, effective administration that delegates authority, doles out rewards to friends and punishments to enemies can tame the most hostile of populations.

÷ A military force should concentrate on liberating an area: bringing in food, medicine, education and local autonomy. A society that permits diversity also discourages resistance and sabotage. Liberated people will not harbor their former tormentors.

Instead of wondering how to build a new nation in the land of the Afghans, we should concentrate on distributing healthy food and offering shelter, building roads, hospitals, schools and libraries. That is what worked well for Alexander the Great. Organizations like CARE, UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity and Doctors Without Boarders should be part of the vanguard.

Alexander, for all his flaws, proved one thing: If we can build the cities, the citizens will build the nation.

Mike Madias is a Detroit free-lance writer. Write letters to The Detroit News, 615 W. Lafayette, Detroit, Mich. 48226, or fax to (313) 222-6417 or send e-mail to

Syphilis continues in gay men in Greater Manchester, England

Transmission of syphilis in the Greater Manchester outbreak, first recognised in 1999 (1) is continuing. Since the last update in October 2000 (2), the total number of cases identified has nearly doubled (from 53 to 104), with the highest number of new cases being diagnosed in January 2001. Seventy-four per cent of the 51 new cases were diagnosed as either primary or secondary syphilis and therefore considered infectious (figure). Several cases of early latent (non-infectious) syphilis have also been diagnosed since October 2000. The outbreak continues to be concentrated in men who have sex with men, with 87% of new cases describing themselves as being 'exclusively homosexual.'

The continuing rise in infectious cases suggests that initial interventions to control the outbreak, including distribution of free condom packs (with enclosed syphilis alert cards), outreach education, and posters displayed at gay events were not successful in halting transmission. As a result, renewed efforts at targeted health promotion and screening were initiated on 14 February. One such intervention included the introduction of a weekly early evening clinic located within the gay village which provided free syphilis screening on site, and regular peer outreach and counselling by members of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. Seventy-six people were approached in bars in the first three weeks of the scheme and asked to complete a short questionnaire about syphilis awareness. The data suggest comparatively high awareness of syphilis with poor interest in taking up sexual health screening. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents were aware of a local increase in syphilis, 85% were aware that symptoms did not always accompany ongoing infection, and 80% were aware that syphilis was easily treatable. Nevertheless, only 36% were interested in free screening, and only two people attended the outreach clinic for testing. Possible reasons for the poor uptake include ignorance of the outreach clinic’s existence, and low perceived risk of acquiring syphilis. A poster campaign is continuing and the screening clinic is still available.

Similar outbreaks of syphilis among homosexual men have been reported in other sites in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe (2,3). Recently, an outbreak of 63 cases of infectious syphilis, 87% of whom were homosexually active men, was reported in Dublin (4). A large-scale publicity campaign was launched in January and the number of gay men presenting for sexual health screens at their local genitourinary medicine clinics has risen noticeably.

As syphilis shares modes of transmission with, and can facilitate the transmission of, HIV infection, these outbreaks may herald a subsequent rise in the incidence of HIV in the worst affected areas, particularly among gay and bisexual men. This highlights the importance of evaluating interventions to improve their effectiveness, maintaining heightened awareness and continuing to develop relevant and appropriate interventions among those at greatest risk. Enhanced syphilis surveillance is continuing locally.



Syphilis 'Epidemic' Seen Among Gay Men in Germany

Oct. 9 , 2002

— By Hannah Cleaver

BERLIN (Reuters Health) - Syphilis is on the rise in Germany, and the situation among homosexual men is being described as epidemic by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) here, which compiles national medical statistics.

Overall, rates for the first half of this year are around 50% higher than for the same period last year, with the increase attributed to additional cases among homosexual men, according to a report from the Institute. The number of heterosexual infections has remained constant, however.

The syphilis registration rates between 1995 and 2000 were constant at between 1,120 and 1,150 a year nationally. There were 1,102 cases in the first half of 2002, 50% higher than the same time last year.

The most recent figures suggest homosexual men are those most likely to get syphilis.

"One has to conclude that around 60% of all registered cases of syphilis in Germany at the moment have been contracted via sexual contact between men," the report states.

"The incidence of syphilis within this population group, which accounts for between 2% and 4% of adult men, is thus several times higher than in the rest of the population. In the most hardest hit age group of homosexual men aged between 30 to 39, the infection rate is around 100 per 100,000, and as the epidemic is mostly concentrated in cities, regional rates can be far higher," it continues.

The report's authors note that other west European nations and North America have also seen syphilis increases among gay men.

"This development will probably be interpreted by doctors and scientists as well as by the media, as the result of declining rates of safer sex in the light of better treatment for HIV/AIDS leading to people feeling safer," according to the report.

"But although in Germany there is some data to show a slight reduction in condom use by homosexual men when having anal sex, this is not enough to explain the data and information that the RKI has on a dramatic rise in syphilis. There has also been to date no clear increase in new HIV rates among homosexual men."

The report, written by Dr. Osama Hamouda of the RKI, calls for a re-think in tracking sexually transmitted diseases and notes that initial data from a pilot study suggests syphilis could be spread by oral sexual contact.

Copyright 2002 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved.


Syphilis is endemic on Palm Island

Published June 1995 in Land Rights Queensland Palm Island's syphilis catastrophe -- involving infection at some time of over half the island's population, including 60 percent of its pregnant women -- demanded a full medical, educational, and economic response, a leading microbiologist has warned.

The Queensland Greens said the figures, which found syphilis in 'hyper- endemic' proportions on the island, showed 'a heinous failure' of state health and education services over many years.

In June, microbiologist Dr Stephen Graves released a study which found syphilis endemic in three Indigenous communities in 1994-95.

At Palm Island, the study found 11 percent of the population currently had syphilis, as did 21 percent of people at Doomadgee, and 17 percent of those at Mornington Island.

This compared to a rate of 0.2 percent in Townsville's population.

Dr Graves said of those tested, only 39 percent of Palm Islanders had never contracted the disease, compared to 92 percent of Townsville's population.

He found the infection rate had decreased marginally since 1993, when 16 percent of islanders were found to have the disease.

He said his Doomadgee and Mornington Island findings involved smaller samples and were less statistically reliable than Palm Island figures.

In his 1994-95 study, Dr Graves found 10.5 percent of the island's pregnant women had active infections, and a staggering 60.5 percent of those women had in the past contracted syphilis.

Dr Graves conducted the study while working as a microbiologist at Townsville General Hospital. He is now director of microbiology at Geelong Hospital in Victoria.

He said it was time the public knew what authorities had known for about 10 years.

He said publicity of the figures in no way reflected poorly on Palm Islanders. Release of the information was a necessary and responsible act in the quest to eradicate syphilis and to save lives.

"No major health problem has ever been contained by people putting the lid on it," he said.

Syphilis, which is transmitted during intercourse, causes a temporary painless soar on the genitals of men and women, but otherwise there are no initial symptoms.

However, left untreated the disease resurfaces years later causing mental and physical disabilities, still births, and death.

Women infected with syphilis can transmit the disease to their children during pregnancy.

But syphilis is easily cured with just one shot of penicillin.

Dr Graves said the most urgent need was for all Palm Island's sexually active young men to have regular annual checkups.

He said the long-term solution was "not predominantly medical", but "educational and economic".

Dr Graves has recommended broad based educational services on the island including health and sex education, the enforcement of compulsory education, and the provision of jobs through the spending of public monies where necessary.

He recommended proactive sexual health services and drug rehabilitation clinics in Aboriginal communities, and the routine screening of sexually-active people.

"The community on Palm Island should consider a mass eradication campaign with penicillin to get syphilis under control.

"There should be research into antibiotics to treat syphilis that don't need to be given by injection, and research into a syphilis vaccine.

"A vaccine will be necessary to totally eradicate syphilis."

The Queensland Greens' candidate for Townsville, Mr Tony Clunies-Ross, said the syphilis epidemic was "the tip of the iceberg", given the widespread poverty on Palm Island.

"Water supplies and sewerage facilities on the island are designed for a population of 1,500 — one third of the current requirement.

"And public housing on Palm Island is in intolerably short supply, with an average of 21-22 people occupying each dwelling."

The chief executive officer of the Palm Island Aboriginal Council, Mr Jeff Warner, said the Queensland Cabinet had adopted a Health Department document last year which recommended one health worker per 250 people in Aboriginal communities — on Palm Island the ratio was still 1:1000.

He said the document recommended training for Aboriginal people to help deliver health services to their communities.

Mr Clunies-Ross said the services recommended in the Cabinet submission "were just not happening" on Palm Island.

"Nobody wants to accept responsibility for the 4,500 people on the island."

He called on the state government to provide immediate emergency relief funding.

Mr Graves said the Northern Regional Health Authority had allocated a sexual health nurse to Palm Island, along with "contact tracers" to interview infected patients so that their sexual partners could be located and treated.

He said improved health services had led to a five percent drop in Palm Island's syphilis rate since 1993 , but syphilis was still endemic on the island.

Immediate checkups are a must!

The microbiologist who exposed the 'hyper-endemic' proportions of syphilis on Palm Island wants all sexually-active young island men to have checkups immediately.

Dr Stephen Graves said many men who contracted syphilis would be totally unaware that they had it. They may be aware of no symptoms and would regard themselves as perfectly healthy.

"All of Palm Island's sexually active young men must have check-ups so syphilis can be beaten for good", he told Land Rights Queensland.

"For both sexes, syphilis begins with a painless sore on the genitals which heals, but that doesn't mean the disease goes away — far from it!

"Over the next three months, the disease spreads throughout the body causing secondary syphilis

"A red rash then occurs on the body, particularly on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

"During this time, the person may have a fever, with muscle aches and pains.

"This usually lasts for only a few weeks. These symptoms then disappear spontaneously, and the disease becomes dormant for many years, in some people for life.

"But that doesn't mean it's gone.

"In particular, women who feel perfectly well can still infect their babies while pregnant, years after contracting the disease.

"Meanwhile, the disease works silently causing damage to may organs, including the heart, the blood vessels, the brain, and the spinal chord.

"Mental and physical disabilities, and death result.

"Babies infected during pregnancy may die before birth, or alternatively have syphilis at birth, or exhibit symptoms of syphilis later in life, for example blindness."

Dr Graves said the disease could be cured with just one penicillin shot — except in its final stages.

He said syphilis knew no racial barriers— it was extremely common in the white community last century.

"In the year 1900, syphilis was the second largest cause of death in the white community after tuberculosis.

"Several popes of yesteryear, England's King Henry VIII, Lenin, and Christopher Columbus all died of syphilis.  "Henry VIII had syphilis as a young man and infected his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. "As a result, she experienced many still births and could not produce a male heir for Henry, who then divorced her.

"This led to the British monarchy's break with the Catholic Church.

"One could argue that without syphilis, there would have been no motive to form the Church of England."

by Chris Griffith


IRAN : The Forgotten Afghan Refugees

Jérome Mesnager, Paris

Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have sought refuge in Iran, either directly across the Afghan border or by a long detour through Pakistan. Some are Shiites from Hazarajat, the central, largely Shiite district of Afghanistan which has been virtually autonomous since 1979. Others are Tajiks and Turkomen from the northern provinces of Afghanistan. Many come from the neighbouring province of Herat.

Between 1,5 and 2 million refugees

No one knows the exact number of the refugees. But the Iranian authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate there are between 1,5 and 2 million (compared to 2,5 million - 3 million in Pakistan).

The refugees are dispersed throughout Iran. According to UNHCR estimates, there are 600.000 in Khorasan province -- 250.000 in the capital, Mashad, alone -- 150.000 each in the provinces of Isfahan, Kerman, Tehran, Fars and Yazd, and 120.000 in Sistan-Baluchistan province. Many work , often for low wages, in construction, agriculture, or in factories or small shops.

In 1979 the Iranians created the Council for Afghan Refugees (CAR), which is part of the ministry of interior. The CAR has grown increasingly alarmed at the growing number of Afghan refugees, and at the health and security problems they pose. The council runs a dozen transit camps near the Afghan border. Refugees arriving at the frontier, or found inside Iran without proper papers, are sent to these camps. Only after a medical check-ip, and in accordance with local manpower needs, are they given an identity card and allowed to live and work in a specific Iranian city.

A few miles from the city of Sabzevar, the reception and quarantine camp is, at first sight, rather grim. It is surrounded by a high barbed-wire fence. But once one goes through the main gate, this impression is quickly forgotten. On each side of the camp the refugees live in solid concrete shelters. In the middle is a large area, with concrete slabs, where tents can be set up if a large number of refugees arrive. The camp has a capacity of 5.000, but there were only 500 refugees when this correspondent visited it in May (1986).

In the centre of the camp are administrative buildings, which include a clinic, a pharmacy, food stores, a baker and a mosque. The refugees are dependent on the Iranians for their weekly ration of food (rice, peas, sugar, tea, meat, potatoes), which seems fairly generous. But, despite the presence of many children in the camp, there is no milk, which is in short supply in Iran.

Often spending several weeks in the camps, the refugees, most of whom are illiterate, learn to read in Farsi (a language which some Afghans and Iranians have in common) -- the women and girls in the morning in the mosque, the men and the boys in the afternoon in a neighbouring school.

The refugees’ poor health is a major concern of the Iranian authorities. Owing to both the war and the famine in Afghanistan, the refugees often reach Iran in a deplorable condition. Half the refugees arriving in summer suffer from malaria, and tuberculosis is common. Dysentery is endemic in summer, and bronchitis, pneumonia and measles in winter. There are skin diseases and syphilis.

Some of these diseases have virtually disappeared from Iran. Their reintroduction has cost the Tehran government a good deal: $120 million in combating malaria alone, and $20 million to import insecticides, according to one CAR official. Last year, the Iranians managed to halt a cholera epidemic in Birjand. There have been occasional cases of leprosy. Ordinary cases (malaria, dysentery, skin diseases) are sent to Mashhad, and the war wounded to Mashhad, Birjand and Tayyabad.

The rate of arrivals varies according to the situation inside Afghanistan. A new campaign of bombing in Herat causes an influx of refugees. Between March 1985 and March 1986, 27.000 refugees passed through Sabzevar camp. But there are no statistics showing how many came directly from Afghanistan and how many were picked up inside Iran without papers.

South of Mashhad is the camp of Bardeskan, which is for men only. About 30.000 men and boys passed through it last year. “At one time, 500 refugees were arriving daily, fleeing the war and the bombing. We didn’t know where to put them”, says Muhammad Reza Youssefi, the CAR official who runs the camp. But in May there were only 1.200 refugees in Bardeskan.

They have similar stories to tell. Fatima Youssef, about 20 years old, fled from her village in Hazarajat, with her husband, a landless peasant, and 19 other members of the family. They reached the Iranian border after a six-month trek, during which they survived thanks to the work of the women who spun flax and sold it to buy food. Today, Fatima is a refugee in Sabzevar camp with the other 11 women of the family. They were separated from the men, without being able to explain why.

Gholam Reza, about 40, left a village in Bamyan province after his wife had been killed and his house destroyed in a bombing raid. With his 14-years-old daughter Zeinab and his two sons, aged seven and nine, he walked to Pakistan. On the way, he says, they were bombed. “There were so many killed and wounded in our caravan of 50 families that one could not distinguish the bodies of the dead and wounded”. Afterwards they walked only at night, until they reached Pakistan and then Mashhad, where he was picked up by the authorities and sent to Sabzevar.

Ibrahim Mahmet, looking 60, has just arrived in Bardeskan. Born in a village in Herat province, he left after the village was destroyed in a bombing raid. “Each bomb dug a huge crater”, he recalls. After reaching the Iranian border with his wife and children (nine of them in all) he was separated from his family at Tayyabad transit camp. He is now impatient to get an identity card so that he can go and work in the city.

Besides those driven from Afghanistan by the war, there are those who come to Iran in search of work. Jalil Ahmad, 19, left his village in Herat because of the war. “When one goes to pick up dry wood”, he says, “the Russians arrive and collect the people and the wood, and burn everything”.

But he adds that he is a Mujahidin fighter with Jamiat Islami and that he got four months’ leave from his organisation to come to work in Iran. “At the end of my leave”, he says,”I will go back to Afghanistan and hand part of the money to the committee (of Jamiat Islami) and the rest to my family”.

Jalil came with a group of 250 Mujahidin who do likewise. After spending a month in Tayyabad transit camp, Jalil was sent on to Bardeskan. He has a job in a brick factory, but he will be able to work for only two months of his four months’ leave.

Ali Shamar, 21, a student in agronomy from Ghazni, also left Afghanistan “to make some money and help the Mujahidin”. After working, legally, in Tehran for seven or eight months in a paint factory, he went to Mashhad, but without getting a permit from the CAR. He was detained during a security check there, and sent to Bardeskan. He now hopes to return to Tehran. His family still lives in their Afghan village, in an area which has suffered repeated bombings. His own village, says Ali, was bombed four or five times.

The Iranian authorities do not make any distinction between refugees fleeing the war and those seeking work. “The Afghans leave their country because of the war”, says Hassan Bashir, chairman of the CAR. “If there is a small number who come to Iran to look for a job, the war is the main cause of their departure. We do not have a phenomenon provoked only by the quest for jobs” -- unlike the situation before the war, when there were 600.000 Afghans working in Iran, immigrants who are today considered refugees.

Ahangeran is one of the few permanent refugee camps in Iran. It is a camp for Afghan nomads. Lying in a valley at the foot of high mountains, some 60 kilometers from the Afghan border, it contains 1.200 tents and close to 12.000 people, belonging to eight different tribes. At first sight, these nomads continue to live in their traditional manner, in big black tents where the women weave carpets. In fact, they have been reduced to misery. They came to Iran with huge herds of 200.000 sheep and camels. Now they are left with only 10.000; the rest were sold or eaten, died in the way or in the drought which has struck the area during the last three years.

Wholly dependent on the Iranian government, which gives them food and medicine and tries to provide them with some schooling, these nomads wait impatiently for the coveted permit to work in a city.

If their movement within Iran is closely monitored, the nomads remain free to go back and forth between the camp and Afghanistan, which is only a few hours away. Accordingly, for the foreign visitor, Ahangeran serves as a window on occupied Afghanistan, revealing the way in which the tribes fight the Soviet army in Herat province -- an area from which there is little information, owing to its remoteness from Pakistan.

Azim, 50, from Hadraskan in Herat, is a member of Hizb Islami, a Sunni guerrilla group. He has come from the Herat area, where his group’s mountain positions were bombed by two MiG jets and six helicopter gunships. His group of 40 Mujahidin were armed only with a Doushka (an old Russian-made machine-gun), Kalashnikov rifles and a single RPG-2 rocket-launcher. They also use home-made mines. “We need missiles”, says Azim.

The Mujahidin’s meals are frugal: mountain vegetables, dry bread and whatever meat they can get by hunting. “When the fields are burnt by the Russians”, says Azim, “there is real famine”. He is planning to return to Afghanistan in a few days.

Shir Ahmar comes from Hadraskan. He fled the war with 300 nomad families. By the time they reached Iran, all his animals have been killed. In Iran, he works as an apprentice in a brick factory, making about 150 toman a day ($20 at the official rate). When he has some money, he goes back to Afghanistan, where he is a member of Jamiat Islami.

A few weeks ago, Shir Ahmar and his group ambushed a Soviet convoy. Armed with an RPG-7 rocket-launcher, he claims they destroyed a tank and two trucks. Last year, he says, they captured a Soviet soldier called Andrei. “He pretended he had changed sides and fought for a few days with us, before running away”.

Fierce fighters in their own country, the Afghan nomads are sometimes difficult for the Iranians to manage. CAR officials often give up any hope of bringing them to accept “progress”. For the nomads, school is the place from which their children were taken by the Russians and sent to Moscow. They are reluctant to send their children to Iranian schools, even though boys and girls are taught separately.

Medical treatment is an even bigger problem. Dr Nasrullah Hamraz, an Afghan doctor working for the CAR in Ahangeran, describes how he was forbidden by one nomad to put a stethoscope to his wife’s chest -- and was told to put it to the man’s chest instead. When he needs to give a woman an injection, he has to cut a small hole in her dress with scissors.

To induce the nomads to send their children to school, Iranian officials at Ahangeran are thinking of handing over the school to six young Afghan girls who have studied in the nearby town of Qaen. But the presence of six young women in Ahangeran would raise as many problems as it solved.

After a long evening spent discussing these problems, an Iranian official asks despondently how he can enforce some discipline in the camp. “One has to win the trust of these nomads”, answers Dr Hamraz. “And to win their trust one has to bring them services”. “But that is exactly what we are doing”, says one of the CAR officials, “and to no avail”.

There are other problems. Like all immigrants, the Afghans are accused -- sometimes justly -- of a wide range of crimes, including drug trafficking, the kidnapping of women or children, and so on. Faced with the growing number of refugees, some CAR official wonder if the Iranian government is not creating a time-bomb by accepting them all. “We already have so many problems with them, now that we control them. What will it be like when we no longer control them”, asks one CAR official.

Meanwhile, despite these problems and the continuing Iran-Iraq war which is putting heavy pressure on the Iranian economy, the Tehran government continues to welcome new Afghan refugees.

The direct cost of the assistance has been high -- $40 million a year, according to Hassan Bashir, the chairman of the CAR. That does not include indirect cost -- education, health care and so on. “All Afghan refugees are entitled to all the privileges of Iranian nationals”, says Hassan Bashir. “They can work, they are allocated coupons to buy food at a cheap price, they send their children to Iranian schools, and they get treated in Iranian hospitals”.

An official of one of the Afghan groups sees things a little differently. It is true, he says, that Afghan children can go to Iranian schools. But Afghans are not admitted to universities, which are open only to Iranians. Nor do they enjoy the benefits of the Iranian health insurance system, and hospitals can be expensive.

This is a problem for Mujahidin groups who do not have privileged relations with the Iranian authorities. Groups which do not have ambulances hire taxis to take wounded fighters from the border to Mashhad or Tehran. This is both costly and uncomfortable. And no one takes care of families whose bread-winner has been killed in the war.

As far as the situation in the camps is concerned, a leading figure in one Afghan organisation comments: “We are aware of the many problems our compatriots face in the camps: the separation of families, the isolation of the camps, the shortage of food: our compatriots do not get the same allocation as Iranians. And the major problem is the permit to live and work in a city. But we keep our mouths shut, not to make these problems worse. They will last as long as we do not have an independent country of our own”.

(The Middle East magazine, August 1986; Elseviers Magazine, 22 Novembre 1986; 24 Heures, 4 Août 1987)


April 19, 2002

Blood pivotal to wartime readiness

by Chris Walz

Pentagram staff writer

Soldiers participating in the war against terrorism have shed many bullets to oust al Qaeda network terrorists from Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, casualties and gun shot wounds have forced some soldiers to shed blood.

"The blood used to help the injured soldiers in the war against terrorism is exclusively from the [Department of Defense] blood donation program," said Col. Michael Fitzpatrick, the director of the Armed Services Blood Program. "We maintain readiness in Afghanistan solely on the donations made by military and DoD personnel in the Capital area region."

The Red Cross is providing humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, but is not providing to the blood supply in the area, according to blood program officials.

"President Bush said we are in this war for the long haul," said Fitzpatrick. "Blood needs to be continuous throughout the long haul. We must be ready for another [Operation] Anaconda or in case we are attacked again."

The blood donation program sends some 355 units of blood per week to the Middle East for Operation Enduring Freedom, but Armed Service Blood Program declined to give detailed shipments figures because of security issues.

The DoD-sponsored blood bank, however, is strongly recruiting donors because of the short shelf life of blood and stringent qualifications unveiled in October. Blood needs to be maintained at cold temperatures, or frozen, and lasts approximately 30 to 40 days.

The new blood program qualifications eliminate any service member who was stationed in Europe or the Far East between 1980 through 1996 because of the risk of contracting a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, the human form of Mad Cow disease. Donors are also turned down if they visited the territories for longer than six months.

The tri-service blood donor program qualifications now exclude nearly 20 percent of the military from donating blood. Some local facilities report 25 percent deferments because East Coast personnel are more likely to travel to Europe, according to Lt. Cmdr. Michael Libby, the deputy director of the Navy Blood Program office.

"The deferrals have taken their toll," said Lt. Col. Steve Beardsley, the laboratory manager and acting chief of blood services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "They are based off of theoretical risks, but they're absolutely real enough to warrant a stringent selection process."

Fitzpatrick, his wife and three daughters are unable to donate blood because they were stationed in Europe from 1988 to 1991.

"I would prefer to donate blood," said Fitzpatrick. "I understand the precautions, but will be able to donate again someday."

The program has focused its attention to recruiting more blood donors in traditionally high donor areas. Blood donor recruiting is essential for replenishing the blood no longer received by donors who now fail to meet the qualifications, according to Libby.

"The national average of deferrals for civilian blood donation agencies, like the Red Cross, is approximately 3 percent," said Fitzpatrick. "The military has a much tougher selection process, but that doesn't mean the need for blood is lessened."

Blood must pass nine infectious disease tests before it is eligible for transfusion. The process includes three tests for HIV, three for hepatitis B, two for hepatitis C and one for syphilis.

Armed service members who received the Anthrax vaccination are still eligible to donate blood, according to Fitzpatrick.

The controversy surrounding the possible Anthrax vaccination side effects does not warrant a suspension from donating blood.

"We achieved our goal of maintaining the same quantity and quality levels since the deferrals started in October," said Fitzpatrick. "In two or three years, we hope to have a test to determine whether or not [a person is] contaminated with [variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease]."

Platelet donations remain in constant demand because of their importance to medical treatments and their short shelf life. Platelets are used to treat patients with life-threatening diseases, like cancer, and can only be stored up to five days.

Every other Wednesday Robert Klempa heads for Walter Reed to donate platelets. He's done so for more than over six years.

"By nature, I like volunteering. If someone else can use the product, then it definitely makes it all worth it," said Klempa, who marked his 160th donation last week. "There are people going through Chemotherapy who need platelets. Donating let's me help someone who really needs them [in order] to get better."

The 58-year old Klempa was deferred from donating whole blood because he was diagnosed with yellow jaundice as a child. A friend told him about the platelet donation program, so Klempa quickly asked if he was eligible.

"They told me I could donate and I have been ever since," said the retired federal employee who ended a 41-year career in November. "Donating is a lifelong commitment and I will continue to do it until they tell me I can't."

In 1991, blood availability played a crucial role in pushing Iraq out of Kuwaiti borders, both medically and strategically.

Blood supply was monitored by Iraqi brass in an attempt to predict when the United States would attack. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf requested two large shipments of blood, prior to any offensive, to confuse Saddam Hussein and Iraqís defense tactics, according to Fitzpatrick.

"In Desert Storm and Desert Shield, we used 80,000 units of blood from the tri-service blood program and purchased 20,000 units from civilian agencies like the Red Cross," said Fitzpatrick. "In the war against terrorism, we have provided everything ourselves and we don't see any reason to impinge on the civilian supply."

The military, on average, donates twice as much blood as civilians, according to Fitzpatrick. Commanders are required to support blood donations, according to DoD regulations, but donating is voluntary.

"The motivation is different in the military," Fitzpatrick said. "We have a sense of readiness and the support of commanders, so we are able to recruit many more volunteers."

The DoD blood bank program, Beardsley said, is "a good example of military people taking care of military people."


Syphilis : This venereal disease is not common in Arabs. It is uncommon for an Arab to present with a chancre, though once in a way all the venerealogists have treated a primary chancre. This low incidence cannot be explained by the half hearted treatment, often given by some general practitioners, for treating gonococcal infection. Often in the latter case, penicillin is not administered and they are treated with broad spectrum antibiotics, which have no known action on spirochaetes.

Hardly ever has any skin specialist or venerealogist seen a case of secondary syphilis in an Arab. Also, hardly ever a case of cardiovascular syphilis or neuro-syphilis has been seen in my clinic during the last fifteen years.

Common Diseases in the Gulf Region