Blood test, sample or donation concept. Doctor with patient in hospital office, emergency room or laboratory. Person holding swab on arm after injection. Nurse holding needle.

STD testing and treatment has transformed throughout history, from ancient rituals of expelling women infected from society to using mercury to combat STDs despite its now known toxic properties, seemingly STD history is rather colourful. This blog aims to take you briefly through the history of the testing and treatments. 

Early History of Sexual Health Advice

Syphilis is one of the earliest recorded STDs throughout history, scientists and historians have deduced it is syphilis through primary source material that describes the symptoms of the disease. Although the first outbreak of the disease wasn’t recorded until 1495 in Naples, the first human to be found to have the disease is over 9900 years old! This particular woman was found in today’s Mexico in an underwater cave, the deformities in her skull are synonymous with the cavities in the skull which can happen when syphilis is left untreated and as in antiquity, there was a lack of immunity built up. 

In terms of treatment and testing during this period, the simple answer is there was none. Scientists have come to the estimated conclusion that she was left in the cave to die away from other people to stop her from spreading the disease. You can learn more about this here! 

An equally as unpleasant and ancient STD is gonorrhoea, Galen, a Roman physician, classified the illness as an “involuntary escape of semen” in 130 AD. The word ‘gonorrhoea’  means “the flow of seed” and is derived from Ancient Greek. However, treatments as such were not made available until the reign of Henry VIII. The word ‘treatment’ is being used here in the loosest sense. Discoveries from the Tudor warship “Mary Rose ” demonstrate how mercury, which has antimicrobial properties, was injected into the urinary opening. Which unfortunately is likely to be as painful as it sounds.

The Beginnings of STD Testing and Treatment 

The first sort of testing was merely looking at the appearance of someone’s symptoms and the treatment would be exclusion from society. This can be found at the London Lock Hospital in 1746 which somewhat correctly linked prostitutes to STDs which in terms they were transmitted sexually was correct yet the morality of locking up prostitutes for life for being unlucky enough to contract STDs is at the least questionable. 

Thankfully in the following centuries, medical advancements were made, once Salvarsan was discovered STDs such as Syphilis could be treated effectively. As well as treatments, STD testing became available, after the significance of tracking a person who has an STD’s sexual partners was realised in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This meant people could decide to gain sexual health advice and cease sexual endeavours whilst infected with an STD and present the spread of infection. 

Sexual Health Consultations at Duality Health Limited 

At Duality Health Limited we understand how important it is for your peace of mind to get Rapid access to Sexual Health Testing & Advice, which is why we offer just that. We provide non-judgemental appointments ranging over 7 days, including evening bookings and at short notice to fit your schedule! 

Please don’t hesitate to book a sexual health consultation, it is important to note these consultations are not only if you are symptomatic, but it is also vital to be tested for STDs regularly if you’re sexually active to prevent spreading them and so they can be treated with an immediate effect. Please call 028 3083 3666 to gain further information or to book now!