Microbiology and Morality: Limits to our Sexual Freedom?

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Ain’ t the sexual revolution great? From Eric Metaxas:

In the second century, the Roman physician Galen named a common ailment whose symptoms included a burning sensation in the urinary tract and (forgive me) the release of pus. He combined the Greek word for “seed,” gonos, and “flow,” rhoia.

That’s how the word “gonorrhea” entered the Western lexicon. And now you know.

For eighteen centuries, the disease was a constant reminder of the dangers of promiscuity. The 18-century British writer James Boswell, Samuel Johnson’s biographer, called it a “memorandum of vice” before dying himself from what are believed to be complications of the illness. At the turn of the 20th century, the New York City medical examiner estimated that 80 percent of the men in the city had contracted the illness at least once in their lives.

But then came antibiotics, and we thought we could put Boswell’s memorandum in our ‘deleted’ file.

But not so fast. A recent article in the New Yorker magazine describes a new strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to the only class of drugs that can “reliably treat” the disease.

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