People with sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, syphilis and chlamydia have an increased risk of contracting AIDS through heterosexual contact, an American doctor said Thursday.
Programs to control AIDS should, therefore, include efforts to combat other sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. King Holmes of the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.Holmes spoke at the Fourth International Conference on AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
"AIDS prevention without sexually transmitted-disease control in a meaningful way is a blueprint for disaster," he said.
Holmes said that the highest increase in risk is associated with diseases that produce genital ulcers, or lesions. The most important of these in the United States is herpes, followed by syphilis and chancroid, a bacterial infection.
The lesions produced by these diseases may allow the AIDS virus to enter the bloodstream more easily, he said.
The venereal disease chlamydia is also associated with increased risk of getting AIDS, he said.
Wednesday, Ola Selnes of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore said people infected with the AIDS virus show no sign of mental problems until they develop physical symptoms associated with AIDS.