No new method of control of the sexually transmitted diseases is imminent. Reliance has to be placed on existing methods including health education. Health education has a double role, being a primary method in its own right, and--of equal or greater importance--being involved in the enforcement of all of the other tried methods. A comparison is made of the situation in countries with a developed or an underdeveloped venereal disease control service, in respect of organization, statistical reporting, the various agencies treating venereal disease, clinic and diagnostic facilities, personnel concerned in venereal disease management, and other aspects. The vicious circle inherent in developing countries is outlined. A lack of awareness of the extent of the problem and the presence of other serious competing diseases lead to a low budget, thence to poor diagnostic and treatment facilities, and to few cases being seen in the official clinics and hospitals. Thus relatively small numbers of cases are reported and there is consequently a continuing lack of awareness of the problem. A method of cutting through such a circle is suggested, and the importance of health education activities during this period is emphasized.