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Talking about homosexuality: lessons learned from 1949
  1. Catherine H Mercer,
  2. Anne M Johnson
  1. UCL Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, Research Department of Infection and Population Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine H Mercer, Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, University College London, 3rd Floor, Mortimer Market Centre, London WC1E 6JB, UK; c.mercer{at}

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The problem of the homosexual with venereal disease’ by F G MacDonald,1 a venereologist at London's Queen Mary's Hospital, was published in 1949 in the British Journal of Venereal Diseases, the forerunner to Sexually Transmitted Infections. While the language MacDonald used to describe same-sex behaviour, including ‘abnormality’, ‘troubles’, ‘the condition’, is a far cry from that which we are now familiar with, …

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  • Contributors CHM conceptualised and wrote the first draft of the vignette with contributions on subsequent drafts by AMJ.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.