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Legal Guidance - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

 

 

This Guidance Notice seeks to give information to healers in England on the legislation connected with the treatment of certain sexually transmitted diseases.

 

Please note that I am not a qualified legal practitioner and healers affected by this legislation should seek professional legal advice as appropriate.

 

Please read the introductory guidance on the legislative process in the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies before reading this Notice. Click here to go to the introductory guidance.  

 

 

 

Chapter 21 of the Venereal Disease Act 1917 is reproduced below under the terms of Crown Copyright Policy Guidance issued by HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationery Office).  Copyright is owned by the Crown and information on reproduction rights may be found on the HMSO website at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/advice/crown-copyright/copyright-guidance/reproduction-of-legislation.htm .

 

 

 

 

 

Background

 

At the time of the First World War, there was concern within medical and Government circles about the high number of soldiers returning from the fighting zones with venereal diseases and about the potential for their partners at home also to become infected with these diseases. The social stigma attached to visiting local doctors for treatment of venereal diseases led the Government of the day to decide that it would be appropriate to establish a network of publicly funded venereal disease clinics across the nation and to fund these from the public purse. The intention was that returning soldiers would be able to attend these clinics discretely and without cost for treatment. At the same time, it was decided that it would be appropriate to clamp down on people who were not qualified medically from claiming to have potions and pills and other remedies that would cure people of venereal diseases.   

 

The Venereal Disease Act 1917 was passed, therefore, to enable the provision of the network of venereal disease clinics and to prevent people who were not suitably qualified from involvement in the treatment of venereal diseases. Although the legislation was passed a long time ago, it remains on the Statute Book and is still in force. 

 

This legislation creates an absolute prohibition on the giving of advice or the offering of any kind of remedy for the venereal diseases referred to in the Act by persons other than suitably qualified medical practitioner. Healers such as Reiki healers may not under any circumstance suggest that they can do anything to treat the diseases covered by the Act or to give any guidance on the treatment of these diseases. If they do so, they will be committing an offence and will be liable to prosecution.

 

 

 

 

 

Reproduction of the legislation

 

Venereal Disease Act, 1917

 

CHAPTER 21

 

An Act to prevent the treatment of Venereal Disease otherwise than by duly qualified medical Practitioners, and to control the supply of Remedies therefor; and for other matters connected therewith.

 

24th May 1917

 

 

Be it enacted by the King’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and  consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons, in this Partliament assembled and by the authority of the same, as follows:

 

1. – (1) In any area in which this section is still in operation, a person shall not, unless he is a duly qualified medical practitioner, for reward either direct or indirect, treat any person for venereal disease or prescribe any remedy therefor, or give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof, whether the advice is given to the person to be treated or to any other person.

 (2) This section shall operate in any area to which it is applied by order of the Local Government Board, or, in Scotland and Ireland, the Local Government Board for Scotland and Ireland respectively:

   Provided that no order shall be made in respect of any area until a scheme for the gratuitous treatment of persons in that area suffering from venereal disease has been approved by the Local Government Board, or, in Scotland and Ireland, the Local Government Board for Scotland and Ireland respectively, and is already in operation.

 

2. (1) A person shall not by any advertisement or any public notice or announcement treat or offer to treat any person for venereal disease, or prescribe or offer to prescribe any remedy therefore, or offer to give or give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof.

(2) On and after the first day of November nineteen hundred and seventeen a person shall not hold out or recommend to the public by any notice or advertisement, or by any written or printed papers or handbills, or by any label or words written or printed, affixed to or delivered with, any packet, box, bottle, phial, or other inclosure containing the same, any pills, capsules, powders, lozenges, tinctures, potions, cordials, electuaries, plaisters, unguents, salves, ointments, drops, lotions, oils, spirits, medicated herbs and waters, chemical and official preparations whatsoever, to be used or applied externally or internally as medicines or medicaments for the prevention, cure, or relief of any venereal disease:

      Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any advertisement, notification, notification, announcement, recommendation, or holding out made or published by any local or public authority or made or published with the sanction of the Local Government Board, or, in Scotland and Ireland the Local Government Board for Scotland and Ireland respectively, or to any publication sent only to duly qualified medical practitioners or to wholesale or retail chemists for the purposes of their business.

 

3. If any person acts in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, he shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, or on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding six months.

 

4. In this Act, the expression ‘venereal disease’ means syphilis, gonorrhoea, or soft chancre.

 

5. This Act may be cited as the Venereal Disease Act, 1917. 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Date of posting : 31st January 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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