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Shame and stigma: how venereologists analyse their patients 1925–
  1. Huw Houssemayne du Boulay
  1. Correspondence to Huw Houssemayne du Boulay, Myrtle Cottage, Cooksbridge, East Sussex BN84SW, UK; huwduboulay{at}

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For this issue, I was asked to investigate the history of stigma in relation to herpes, syphilis and HIV using the journal's own archive as my main source, while also attempting to put its content on the subject into a wider social context. I am trained as a social historian, specialising in Russian and Yugoslav history, so it was an exciting challenge to look into issues and subjects quite divergent from what I studied at university. I will share some of my thoughts into what the archive told me based on my experience of other archives I used for university work.

The list of articles used is not intended to be exhaustive; I have highlighted those that contribute to the understanding of stigma towards the diseases and would encourage you to read them in full, as an extract can only give a small part of a large picture. There are many scientific studies within the archive, but many of these do not contribute directly to the understanding of it.

The journal is generally written by an academic community, mainly with strong scientific knowledge as the basis for their articles. This means that outside and political viewpoints are not often reported, other than in a few isolated cases. Therefore, it is interesting to view how the more …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • i An example of this known to all is the short introduction given to an article within a travel guide.

  • ii Thompson's book, published in 1963 (and many subsequent editions), was the first essential work of this ‘new history’ in a British context.

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