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June 2019

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1995 Dec; 19(4): 479-501.

Vagina dentata revisited: gender and asymptomatic shedding of genital herpes.

Pliskin KL.

Medical Anthropology Program, University of California, San Francisco 94243, USA.

Medical research on genital herpes indicates that women shed herpes asymptomatically. This paper examines the medical understanding of asymptomatic shedding of herpes among women as partial knowledge, meaning biased and incomplete, based upon folk models of male and female sexual bodies and upon the structure of medical practice. The focus on women's sexual anatomy as dangerous to men and the lack of a medical specialty on male reproductive/sexual health results in blaming women for transmission of sexual diseases.


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