The Hidden Affliction

October 2019
50 black and white illustrations
371 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in Medical History
ISBN: 9781580469616
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BIC MBX, 1DBK, 2AB
BISAC MED039000, MED022090, HEA045000

The Hidden Affliction

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Infertility in History

Edited by Simon Szreter

not yet published

Hardback
9781580469616
$125.00
Multidisciplinary collection of essays on the relationship of infertility and the "historic" STIS--gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis--producing surprising new insights in studies from across the globe and spanning millennia.
A multidisciplinary group of prominent scholars explores the historical relationship between sexually transmitted infections and infertility. Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia cause infertility in a proportion of women and men. Unlike the much-feared venereal disease of syphilis--"the pox"--gonorrhea and chlamydia are often symptomless, leaving victims unaware of the threat to their fertility. Science did not unmask the causal microorganisms until the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their effects on fertility in human history remain mysterious. This is the first volume to address the subject across over 2,000 years of human history.

Following a synoptic editorial introduction, Part 1 explores the enigmas of evidence from ancient and early modern medical sources. Part 2 addresses fundamental questions about when exactly these diseases first became human afflictions, with new contributions from bioarcheology, genomics, and the history of medicine, producing surprising new insights. Part 3 presents studies of infertility and its sociocultural consequences in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Africa, Oceania, and Australia. Part 4 examines the quite different ways the infertility threat from STIs was perceived--by scientists, the public, and government--in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany, France, and Britain, concluding with a pioneering empirical estimate of the infertility impact in Britain. Simon Szreter is Professor of History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Hidden Affliction: Sexually-Transmitted Infections and Infertility in History - Simon Szreter
PART 1. THE HIDDEN PITFALLS IN THE EARLY DOCUMENTARY RECORD
(The Wrong Kind of) Gonorrhea in Antiquity - Rebecca Flemming
"Poxt and Clapt Together": Sexual Misbehavior in Early Modern Cases of Venereal Disease - Olivia Weisser
PART 2. THE BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES AND THE HISTORY OF THE STI MICRO-ORGANISMS
Bioarcheological Contributions to Understanding the History of Treponemal Disease - Charlotte Roberts and Rebecca Redfern
A Long-Standing Evolutionary History between Chlamydia trachomatis and Humans: Visible, Ocular and Invisible, Genital Variants - Ian N. Clarke and Hugh R. Taylor
Chlamydia: A Disease Without A History - Michael Worboys
PART 3. POPULATION DECLINE IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH
Population Decline in Island Melanesia: Aphrodisian Cultural Practices, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Low Fertility - Tim Bayliss-Smith
Community Infertility in Papua New Guinea: Uncovering the Role of Gonorrhea - Roy F. Scragg
Fertility, STIs and Sexual Behaviour in Early and Mid-Twentieth Century East Africa - Shane Doyle
"A Wise Provision of Nature for the Prevention of Too Many Children": Evidence from the Australian Colonies - Janet McCalman and Rebecca Kippen
PART 4. INFERTILITY AND THE SPECTRE OF VENEREAL DISEASES IN MODERN EUROPE
"The Archenemy of Fertility": Gonorrhea and Infertility, Germany 1870-1935 - Christina Benninghaus
Fecundity in a World of Scourges: Venereal Diseases, Criminal Abortion and Acquired Infertility in France c.1880-1950 - Fabrice Cahen and Adrien Minard
Revealing the Hidden Affliction: How Much Infertility Was Due to Venereal Disease in England and Wales on the Eve of the Great War? - Simon Szreter and Kevin Schürer
List of Contributors

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