By definition STDs are infectious diseases attributed to human sex life. Among all the infections afflicting mankind, STDs stand out unique in that, the reservoirs, the sufferers and the transmitters are all human beings. Human beings alone are responsible for the continued existence, transmission and explosive incidence of these diseases. That is why Sexually Transmitted Diseases are some times classified as behavioral diseases.
The causative organisms have been well identified, correct diagnosis is possible in most of the STDs and treatment methods are relatively easy and effective, still we are unable to control STDs- Why? Many factors, intertwined and interwoven, are responsible for this situation. They are demographic, socio-economic and medical factors.
Significant contributions to this field have always emerged only from centers where Specialists had an Organization, Association and Annual meetings of their own. It must be said here that in India the need for a separate discipline for STDs and separate control programme for STDs was always considered necessary. With this in mind, Dr.C.N.Sowmini, the then Director of the Institute of Venereology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, who , with the co-operation of a handful of committed workers, founded the Indian Association for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IASSTD) in the year 1975. Association has been registered under section 10 of the Act with Registrar of Societies, Chennai. Later, in the year 1993, the name of the Association was changed to IASSTD & AIDS and this has also been registered under the above society.
Objectives – The following are the objectives of the Association:
- To co-ordinate and assist the activities not only of Physicians practicing in the subject and other related subjects but also of epidemiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, public health nurses, social workers and all concerned with human behaviour and its effects on the spread of STDs and HIV /AIDS.
- To collect and distribute information concerning methods for the prevention and control of STDs with a view to eliminate these diseases as public health problems throughout India.
- To stimulate research into the medical, serological and psychosocial aspects of STDs.
- To compile information on the trends of incidence of the STDs throughout India.
- To organize Seminars and other clinical meetings as well as to co-operate and participate with other International Organisations in conducting meetings to study the problems relating to control of STDs and HIV /AIDS.
- Though STD control is the main responsibility of the Government, the Association will co-operate with the Government and non-Government Organisations who are actively involved in the control of STDs including HIV / AIDS and also in the management of STD and HIV /AIDS patients, screening of population at risk and education of the public, specially the target groups like students, commercial sex workers, industrial workers, lorry drivers etc. The Association would seek the help of the Government, whenever the former undertakes any STD programmes.
- The members of the Association will meet once a year in different parts of India for holding the National Conference and the resolutions passed for the control of STDs and HIV / AIDS by the members of the General Body at these Annual Meetings will be sent to the Government for its implementation and follow-up.
- The Association will publish a Journal – The Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IJSTD).
Though started with a hand full of members, the Association has steadily increased by leaps and bounds to the present number of 1660 plus Life Members spread all over the Globe. Professors & Heads of the Departments of Dermato-Venereolgy, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Microbiology, Pathology, Social & Preventive Medicine of most of the Medical Colleges in India are members of our Association.
The First Conference of IASSTD was held at Madras (now Chennai) in the presence of Dr.R.V.Rajam, the Doyen of Venereology. Dr.R.R.Willcox (UK), Dr.R.N.Thin (UK), Dr.Andre Siboulet (Paris), Dr.Brain H.R.Hill (New Zealand), Dr.Padmodiwirijo (Indonesia), Dr.Pierra Vejjabul (Thailand), Dr.Y.Onodo (Japan) were the foreign dignitaries who honoured us by accepting our invitation and attending the above Conference at Madras.
Annual National Conferences of IASSTD are being conducted in different parts of India. The Annual National Conference of IASSTD held at Calcutta in 1993 received the blessings of Mother Theresa in person.
Orations: Several Orations such as the ‘ Silver Jubilee Oration of the Institute of Venereology’, ‘Dr.R.V.Rajam Endowment Oration’, ‘Dr.M.A.Wali Oration’, ‘ Dr C W Chacko Memorial Oration’ are delivered by eminent speakers, both National and International, at the Annual Conferences of our Association.
Dr.P.S.Ranganathan Memorial Prize Competition with no age limit ,Dr.Govindan Nair Memorial Prize Competition for those who are less than 35 years, and Rabindranath Dutta Memorial competition (2015) for post graduate students are the competitions that are being conducted every year. Scientific Quiz competition for Postgraduate students was named after Dr.H.C.Mohanty in the year 2010 Poster Sessions was named after our founder patron Dr C.N.Sowmini from the year 2014 Besides these, several Guest Lectures, Scientific Sessions, Panel discussions also form part of the Annual National Conferences of IASSTD & AIDS.
Our bi-annual Journal – the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IJSTD) was started in 1980 under the Editorship of Late Dr.Sardarilal. The author of the best article published in IJSTD is awarded the prestigious ‘Dr. Sardarilal Award’. This award is presented annually at the National Conference of IASSTD & AIDS.