Venereology is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the study and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. The name derives from Roman goddess Venus, associated with love, beauty and fertility. A physician specializing in venereology is called a venereologist. In many areas of the world, the specialty is usually combined with dermatology.
The venereal diseases include bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. Some of the important diseases are HIV infection, syphilis, gonorrhea, candidiasis, herpes simplex, human papillomavirus infection, and genital scabies. Other sexually transmitted infections studied in the field include chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma inguinale, hepatitis B, and cytomegalovirus infection.
In India, formal training of venerologists started in 1910, prompting microscopy and serology to come into general use throughout the Empire. Before this, many cases of early syphilis were either diagnosed as chancroid or missed altogether. To come to a diagnosis, doubtful atypical cases were at times left untreated to see whether or not they developed secondary syphilis. Today, an MD in venereology is a 2 to 3-year long postgraduate course in medicine. The minimum eligibility is the successful completion of any of MBBS, DMS, BHMS, and BDS, etc degrees. Major subjects of study that form part of the program are immunology of dermatological diseases, cellular and molecular inflammation, skin genetics, skin structure and development of skin, and basic reactions of skin, repair, and carcinogenesis.