syphilis

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Syphilitic Reflections on the 20th Century

At times, working on a long-term STI research project, it is easy to become embroiled in the minutiae of the day-to-day. When times like this strike, it is crucial to remember the bigger picture. From a less cosmic perspective, some historical appreciation of our place in sexual health is often required, both as a reflection on how much has been achieved and a reminder of the forces that continue to influence this work. Above is a graph to which I turn when such a reminder is necessary – it depicts syphilis diagnoses in genitourinary medicine clinics in the UK from 1931–2004. A favorite of epidemiologists working in sexual health, this graph appeared in lectures in various subjects throughout my studies; it was used as a tool to prompt students to consider transmission dynamics of STIs and the many factors that influence these. Continue Reading →