Treatment Of STD’s In the Civil War~

STD’s were more frequent at the beginning and the close of the war than during its progress, and among troops stationed in the vicinity of cities than among those on active service. Among the white troops, 73,382 cases of syphilis were reported, and 109,397 cases of gonorrhœa and gonorrhœal orchitis, giving a total of 82 cases of venereal disease annually per thousand men, as compared with 87.86 in our army before the war and 87.62 from the records of the ten years immediately following the war period.(*) Among the colored troops syphilis had an annual rate of 33.8 cases and gonorrhœal affections 43.9 cases per thousand of strength. 

Ass’t Surgeon P. W. RANDALL, 1st Cal., Fort Bragg, Cal., Jan. 1, 1863.—For gonorrhœa my treatment, which is successful, consists of a thorough cleansing of the alimentary canal, rest, low diet, the balsam and cubebs internally, with urethral injections of nitrate of silver, sugar of lead or sulphate of zinc. For syphilis I use mercurial and saline purges, rest, low diet, iodide of potassium and bichloride of mercury, with caustic to chancres, warts or vegetations.

Surgeon WILLIAM R. BLAKESLEE, 115th Pa., Alexandria, Va., Oct. 20, 1862.—Gonorrhœa was greatly modified and in most cases completely subdued by injecting a solution of chlorate of potash, one drachm in eight ounces, every hour for twelve successive hours, and then gradually ceasing its use during the next two or three days by prolonging the interval between each injection. Dietetic rules were observed, with rest and occasionally a saline laxative.

Surgeon A. F. PECK, 1st N. M. Cav., Los Lunas, N. M., Sept., 1862.—Nearly one-third of the cases this month consisted of gonorrhœa, which readily yielded to treatment. With much inflammatory action in the first stage, I generally prescribed a saline cathartic, rest, cooling lotions and low diet. After this stage had passed I found balsam of copaiba, powdered cubebs and magnesia given as a bolus, four or five times a day, to be very effectual. At the same time I used an injection of chloride of zinc, two to four grains to the ounce of water, once or twice a day. When the system is much reduced tonics are beneficial.

http://www.medicalantiques.com/civilwar/Civil_War_Articles/Civil_War_Venereal_Disease_treatment.htm

Photos: Illustration of Neisseria gonorrhoeae -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Goodyear black hard-rubber syringe and a glass syringe for injection of chemicals