Venereal diseases, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as they are more commonly called today, are a series of diseases which are transmitted through sexual contact. The most common types today are Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Chancroid, Chlamydia, HIV AIDS and Candidiasis. Also called "sexually transmitted infections", these diseases are usually spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex. Sexual contact is also the means by which parasites such as pubic lice and scabies are spread.
Venereal diseases have probably always existed since the dawn of mankind. As people began to migrate all over the world they started to spread the diseases with them. With the advent of long distance travel, such as sailing, these diseases started to become more widespread. Early English travelers for instance, began to bring back all manner of diseases which spread throughout the British Empire. The earliest known VD clinic first opened in London in 1747 with the purpose of studying syphilis and gonorrhea, the two biggest health concerns at that time. These diseases were considered incurable then and physicians were more focused on treating the symptoms.
With the discovery of antibiotics which could cure many of these venereal diseases, the rate at which they spread was diminished. Also a greater public awareness of the danger of these diseases helped to curb outbreaks. New diseases however, like AIDS and Genital Herpes emerged in the early 1980s and are still not curable by modern medicine to this very day.
While many STD's continue to plague society, and some like AIDS are fatal, there are ways in which you can avoid the threat posed by these diseases. The surest way to remain safe from disease is to refrain from sex, although obviously this is not something that many people care to do. Probably the easiest way to protect yourself from venereal disease if abstinence is not feasible is through the use of a condom during intercourse. While this does not guard against parasites such as pubic lice, it will give you a measure of protection against the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.
Posted by PRS
Friday, August 19th, 2005
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