Peace Time: April 23, 2001


While military service can be dangerous, some aspects are quite healthy. The American armed forces enforces weight and fitness standards. There is also regular, unannounced, drug testing. So drug use is very low. This was recently found to have an unexpected, but understandable, side effect. Hepatitis C, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, has been slowly spreading through the population. It spreads like AIDs, via the exchange of body fluids. But the clean living members of the U.S. armed forces have a much lower rate of infection. While in the general population, 2.6 percent of the population has Hepatitis C, in the military it's only half a percent (one fifth the civilian rate.) Among recruits and younger military personnel, the rate was only one tenth of one percent. This is because older military personnel had more time to pick it up from prostitutes (the male rate tends to be over twice the female rate). Screening for new recruits is more stringent today, with any evidence of drug use keeping you out. Throughout the 20th century, it became common for military people (at least in peacetime) to be healthier than their civilians counterparts because of more stringent health standards military discipline which made it easier to enforce the standards. 


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