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October 20, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(16):1244-1246. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.25210160008001b

The association of the idea of publicity with a class of diseases whose distinctive peculiarity is privacy, may seem at first glance somewhat incongruous. Venereal diseases are the diseases which above all others are concealed from public observation; both social sentiment and the code of professional ethics have always protected them from exposure. The motive for concealment is emphasized by the element of shame with which they are invested by popular prejudice, from the erroneous idea that they have their exclusive origin in licentious indulgence. In the popular conception they are essentially les maladies rèvelatrices, affording proof positive or presumptive of immoral relations.

Bearing these distinctive traits of shame, secrecy and immorality it is perhaps not surprising that the conventional attitude toward this class of diseases is the very antithesis of all that is implied by publicity. The public mind is so imbued with the idea of the essential privacy

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