This paper points to the congruence between political and social variables and the epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in modern China. STDs became a major health problem after the fall of the empire in 1911 and were only reluctantly addressed by a weak nationalist government during the 1930s. During the 1950s and 60s, the communist regime brought STDs under control, but problems have reappeared since reforms were implemented during the 1980s. Cultural values and social attitudes have also structured medical responses to venereal disease. From the reform movements between the two World Wars to the more recent communist health campaigns, medical theory has often been confused with moral prescription.
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