Tognotti, Eugenia (2014) Prevention strategies and changes in sexual mores in response to the outbreak of syphilis in Europe in the Early Modern Age. Journal of ancient diseases & preventive remedies, Vol. 2 (2), [e]1000113. eISSN 2329-8731. Article.
In the same way as AIDS in the 20th century, syphilis was the sexual scourge of the 16th century. Both of these sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and syphilis, placed women at the risk of becoming infected through sexual intercourse within marriage. Nothing is known about the individual strategies of women during the first European syphilis epidemic. On the basis of primary sources (in the form of archival material and personal letters), and of literary sources, this article tries to shed light on the preventive measures and behavioural choices adopted in Renaissance Italy. We take in account, in particular, the social and institutional context in which two structural factors were acting: the large-scale war involving long separation of spouses, and the diffusion of prostitution which offered more opportunities for men's extramarital sexuality.
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