1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    A Fantasy Setting with STDs

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Killer300, Feb 6, 2012.

    How would someone with technology on the level of the Middle Ages know something is transmitted by sex? Do I probably need to use magic? Or have they figured out things like this in OTL at that time, if not why it occurred? Another reason I ask this is I wonder how other authors have handled this in their own fantasy novels that don't have science on a level to know about biological diseases, for example.

    The reason why is the main character has a curse in her blood, which acts like an STD with how it's transmitted(although I haven't decided whether it has more magical impacts or not yet.)
     
  2. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say it depends heavily on the education and upbringing of the character. A peasant in a small village might think the sickness is caused by a demon. A physician in a major city like Jerusalem for example might know about STDs, though not by that name. Certain cultures had very advanced medical knowledge. The Egyptians for example. You have a lot of flexibility here.
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I think it would be fairly easy to figure out when every one who slept with her got sick. Even if you didn't know what an STD was you'd know something was up. She'd have to sleep with quite a few people though I'm guessing to get the message across. Have fun :)
     
  4. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Fuhringer's explanation. The more complex STDs, like syphilis, might be blamed on a demon or committing sins. Herpes or 'crotch rot' would be more visual so I think those would be easier to blame on sleeping with the wrong/dirty person.
     
  5. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Ah, thanks guys. Okay, just need to make my curse reflect that particular part.
     
  6. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    People have known about sexually transmitted diseases for millennia - really, do some research into the history of these things. Syphillis was known about in the 15th century at least - an outbreak occurred in 1494 when the French were besieging Naples. According to one site, 'Gonorrhoea was certainly described by the ancient Egyptians, and was recognized by Greek and Roman medical writers'. I imagine soldiers and sailors would have known that certain brothels were 'cleaner' than others, and that sleeping with an 'unclean' woman would lead to ill effects. It's a simple case of observing cause and effect, not rocket science!
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree that people would know what an STD is even if you have a pre-science setting. While they wouldn't know the exact biology of it all, they could easily figure out it's transmitted sexually. Everyone in ancient times knew pregnancy came from sex, even if their "knowledge" of the gestation process was completely superstitious and incorrect. Especially if the STD is something visual that makes the person look nasty down there.
     
  8. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Ah. Well, she herself is a passive carrier but it's quite deadly for others. Question is how they would find this out originally with that. But okay, happy to know I'm not as limited as I though in many respects.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You could have it so that being a passive carrier means having a distinct appearance, odor etc without being affected health-wise. It wouldn't necessary have to be anything repulsive, just distinctive.
     
  10. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hmm, that's interesting because it ties in with other things... yep, this could work out quite well, thanks!
     

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