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After asking 80 experts 22 296 questions over 64 days and distilling the findings into 758 pages and 30 appendices, the Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases (1916) provided an exhaustive insight into the grip that syphilis and gonorrhoea had on UK society.1 Recruiting healthy young men for the many conflicts of the early 20th century had highlighted the poor state of the nation’s health but, as WWI dragged on, high morbidity due to syphilis and gonorrhoea became a significant operational issue for the military. The government accepted the Royal Commission’s conclusion that only …
Handling editor Jackie A Cassell
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.