National Geographic : 1972 Mar
H IDING behind a mask, man's most dangerous enemy strikes in the dark, and adds two out of every thir teen deaths to his score. Just so long as men and The Great Imitator women, and boys and girls approaching maturity, are not taught to recognize the cruelest of all foes to health and happiness-just so long will many lives be utterly wrecked, lives which could have been saved or made decently livable. Strange as it may seem, tens of thousands of victims of this insidious disease (syphilis) are utterly unaware of the fact that they have it and that its malignant poison is steadily and sure ly robbing them of health and strength. No other disease takes so many forms. As it progresses, it may mask as rheu matism, arthritis, physical exhaustion and nervous breakdown. It may ap pear to be a form of eye, heart, lung, throat or kidney trouble. There is practically no organic disease the symp toms of which it does not simulate. No wonder it is called "The Great Imitator". It is the imperative duty of each man desirous of protecting his own health and more especially the duty of every parent anxious to safeguard children to know its direct and indirect results. Syphilis is responsible for more misery of body and mind than any other dis ease. It destroys flesh and bone. Its ulcers leave terrible scars. It attacks heart, blood vessels, abdominal organs - and most tragic of all are its attacks upon brain and spinal cord, the great nerve centers, resulting commonly in blindness, deafness, locomotor ataxia, paralysis, paresis and insanity-a life-long tragedy. Because of fear and ignorance, count less millions of victims have been wickedly imposed upon and hood winked by quacks, charlatans and what it improper worse-insidious black mailers pretending to prac tice medicine. The United States Gov ernment took a brave step forward during the Great War and told our soldiers and sailors the truth about this dread disease and would do if unchecked or ly treated. It can be cured by competent physi cians if detected in time and if the patient faithfully follows the scientific treatment prescribed by his doctor. After the disease has been allowed to progress beyond the first stages, cures are less certain, but a great deal can often be done to help chronic sufferers. Men and women should the truth and tell it in plain language to those dependent upon them for education and guid ance. It is a helpful sign that the best educators deplore the old habit of secrecy and urge wide spread knowledge and frank instruction. learn wv It is estimated that more than 12,000,000 character and location of the hospital. early infant mortality can be reduced persons in the United States have or According to Government statistics, the fypre atal treatment of syphi at some time have had syphilis, deaths of 200,000 Americans, each year, From 5% to 40% of all the cases in are directly caused by syphilis and asso- The Metropolitan Life Insurance Com* the general hospitals of this country are sated diseases. But thousands of deaths pany will gladly mail, free of charge, its found to be suffering-directly or in. charged to other causes are actually due booklet, "The Great Imitator." You are directly-from this disease. The vari- to this disease. urged to send for it. ance in the figures depends upon the Hospital and clinic records show that HALEY FISKE, President. 5'_____________________________________________ vf 'Published by METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY - NEW YORK Biggest in the World, More Assets, More Policyholders, More Insurance inforce, More new Insurance each year The year was 1927. And Americans were getting syphilis, a venereal disease that was sweeping the country. But no one talked about it. They would just get it, and maybe die from it. Or end up a cripple. So, the following year, we at Met ropolitan Life ran a national advertise ment about syphilis and its dangers. By 1928 standards,the ad was shock ingly direct. Not for children's eyes. Syphilis was a dirty word, but there it was in print. At the time, 185,000 Americans had contracted the disease. In fact, it had become an epidemic. Right now, we're in the middle of another epidemic. It's estimated that al most two and a half million people have VD, either syphilis or gonorrhea. So we've written a booklet on the subject. It's not just another boring booklet telling you VD is bad. It's filled with answers to blunt questions like these: If I kiss a person, can I get syphilis? How wouldIever know ifIhadVD? Can Igo to a doctor for treatment without his tell ing my parents? If your parents or friends don't know much about VD or you're too embar rassed to ask, write for the booklet. It's called "Facts you should know about VD, but probably don't' Write Metropolitan Life, Box V, One Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10010. Don't worry.We'll keep your request confidential. So no one will have to know anything about it. Except you. IMetropolitan Life We sell life insurance. But our business is life.