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A venereologist is a doctor specializing in venereology. This medical specialty concerns the study and treatment of venereal diseases, otherwise known as sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
The term venereologist is a Latin word derived from the name of the Roman goddess Venus, who was the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty.
Venereologists take care of patients with bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections contracted through sexual contact. They have experience diagnosing and treating sexually transmitted diseases and infections including syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes simplex, genital scabies, and HIV.
Many venereologists also spend their time researching sexually transmitted infections. These doctors examine the ways sexually transmitted infections are transmitted, how the infections behave, and the best treatment options for patients. They also attempt to find cures for sexually transmitted infections that cannot be eradicated in the body, such as the HIV virus.
In many parts of the world, venereologists also perform the work of dermatologists, treating disorders of the skin and inner mucous membranes. This is because many sexually transmitted infections often result in skin and mucous membrane problems. Many venereologists train as dermatologists, then specialize in sexually transmitted diseases.
Many general practitioners can diagnose and prescribe treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. However, if the disease or infection does not clear up with treatment, the person with the condition may be referred to a venereologist. These specialists are better equipped to help patients with drug resistant conditions or sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be cured.