Story: Sexual health

Death of a baby from congenital syphilis

Death of a baby from congenital syphilis

Public discussion of venereal disease was limited in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The shame attached to syphilis and gonorrhoea meant infection was hidden as far as possible. By the 1920s, when this report appeared in New Zealand Truth, venereal disease was publicly discussed – but only in general terms or when it affected people already on society’s margins. The article describes a 19-year-old woman whose baby had died from congenital syphilis as already having another illegitimate child, and pursuing 'an immoral career'.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: NZ Truth, 12 July 1924, p. 6

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How to cite this page:

Jane Tolerton, 'Sexual health - Sexual health to 1914', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/27198/death-of-a-baby-from-congenital-syphilis (accessed 25 February 2020)

Story by Jane Tolerton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 7 Dec 2018