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Witnessing an HIV boom in the 1980s

A sexual health doctor

  • By: Matthew Billingsley
  • Published: 24 February 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e602
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e602

Genitourinary medicine has a lot of different facets, including public health, epidemiology, clinical medicine, microbiology, virology, and also psychosocial aspects. Originally, I had been working in haematology but I decided that I preferred more patient contact. Sex and sexual activity is fundamental to the species and it seemed to me that it was often ignored in medicine. We look after individuals but also look after the public health and—although it might seem simple on the exterior—sexual health is fundamental to life and requires a unique skills set.

The arrival of HIV changed the landscape of basic scientific research, with advances in immunology and molecular biology which can now be applied to other medical fields. The partnership between scientists and drug industry has resulted in development of highly active drugs and understanding of viral resistance, which is applicable to other viruses.

There’s a lot of ignorance around sexual health with a

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