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Subscribers to our print journal—many but by no means all, members of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV—will I hope have enjoyed this year’s series celebrating a hundred years of the 1917 Venereal Disease Regulations in England and Wales. A great step forward in the humane care of people afflicted with sexually transmitted infections, this epoch making Act was only the beginning of a long journey. As a junior doctor in London in the late 1990s, I was shocked to meet women who had been locked up for 6 weeks in former Soviet bloc countries for the treatment of syphilis. This felt a long way off—something that could not happen here—until I remembered meeting as a medical student women in the Borocourt psychiatric asylum who had been committed following an unsanctioned pregnancy. Like unwilling nuns, fifty years on they were still shut off from …
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