A Venereologist’s Perspective of the Early Days of EADV
Michael Waugh, retired Consultant Venereologist from Leeds General Infirmary, UK and an EADV founder member, writes about his career and early involvement with the Academy.
I was lucky as a young doctor to be trained in dermatology by the internationally known and inspira- tional dermatologist Darrell Wilkinson and then to spend a year in 1968 training at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin in London where the Institute of Dermatology was centred. But I had also been attracted to venereology and had accepted a junior post at the West London Hospital, a part of the Charing Cross Hospital Group. I rapidly went up the ladder there but did a weekly session in dermatology at the new Charing Cross Hospital. In 1974 I was appointed to the specialist venereology post at Leeds General Infirmary where the incu- mbent had died suddenly. It was a busy and potentially hazardous post at this teaching hospital in Yorkshire. Over 40 years later I am still content and happy in my adopted home. Early years in Leeds were spent building up an internationally known department. In 1978, I hosted both the British specialist society, the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases (MSSVD), and then the International Union against Venereal Diseases and Treponematoses (IUVDT), since 1997 renamed as IUSTI (International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections). When you are in your 30s you think you can do everything! By the mid-1980s we had HIV/AIDS to contend with in its myriad presentations but as yet no effec- tive treatment. I was elected Honorary Secretary of MSSVD and as I was shown to run that well, then Secretary General of IUVDT in 1984. So, I already had many international connections. In 1989 I became MSSVD President and in 1995 IUVDT/IUSTI President. As the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), which met in Brussels in the mid-1980s, nee- ded two representatives in venereology from the United Kingdom, my knowledge of French was considered to be useful. So, I found myself as deputy to the primary representative Willie Harris. I had many other obligations at the time including being seconded three days a week in 1989 to the AIDS Unit, Department of Health, London. It is not unfair to state that AIDS made British venereology. We had more resources allocated to us, better accommodation, a higher profile and plenty of really good young trainees. About 25% of male venereology was dermatological in presentation. I remained throughout my professional career in a tiny minority within the UK who wished for a unifying speciality of derma- to-venereology. But in all my European visits on ward rounds in places such as Uppsala, Vienna, and Budapest it was easy for me because of my early dermatology training.