STD and HIV eBook

They used to be called “venereal” diseases. The Latin word veneris comes from Venus, the Goddess of Love. Also called “social diseases”, the meaning was clear: immoral. Diseases that were spread through sexual contact could give you skin rashes, cause brain damage and eventually insanity and blindness. If that wasn’t enough to deter you, you were doomed. The name was eventually changed to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the first were identified as early as the Middle Ages;gonorrhea and syphilis. Physicians mistakenly believed that they were the same disease; that the “clap”, gonorrhea, eventually turned into the “pox”, syphilis. Through studies conducted in mental hospitals, doctors eventually identified them as separate diseases. Before the advent of penicillin, the diseases were incurable. The outward signs of sexual promiscuousness influenced public perception of sexuality and promoted monogamy, marriage, and chastity before marriage.

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