The Etymology Of Sister Disease

Syphilis is a venereal disease caused by a group of microorganisms called Plaque Viruses (PV) primarily from the retrovirus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are approximately 80 known strains, and the majority are transmittable to healthy individuals if they are not immune-compromised. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, and the prevalence rate is rising rapidly. Approximately one out of every two women will be diagnosed with Syphilis sometime in their lifetime.


When a male develops a prevalence higher than five percent, he is said to be suffering from high risk factor (for getting or becoming infected with Syphilis). If a male has a prevalence of more than 50 percent, he must disclose his sexual activity to his medical practitioner. The other symptoms of Syphilis are the formation of warts, painful urination and burning sensation during urination, blood in stools or semen, arthritis and gallbladder problems, and presence of brain swelling. A female person can develop the disease also, and it has been noted that almost 50 percent of females develop this disease. It has been noted that about half the victims are people belonging to the same family, while the other half is people who have a recent onset of sexual intercourse. It is believed that a pregnant woman is more prone to develop the disease, and the same can be applied to a person who had recently undergone surgery, had a transmittable birth control pill, or had an abortion.

A female person may develop the disease when she is a close relative (cousin, sibling, mother/father, aunt, sister or daughter). If a female person develops the disease when she belongs to the same parents as another person, the likelihood of her getting the disease increases. Similarly, if she belongs to the same household as a brother, the chances of getting the disease increase, provided that the brother is not her brother or sister but is a son or daughter of her parent.

Hence, the chances of getting the disease increase, when the sister is related to a person who is not her brother or sister but is her mother or father, brother or cousin of her as well. One should realize that being a female member of a blended family increases the chances of getting the disease. This is so because one mixes up the blood and the other members of the family and when the sister has a brother or sister who belong to the same parents as her, the chances of getting the disease reduces. However, it is always advisable to get confirmation from a medical practitioner before taking any remedial measure. Also, a medical practitioner will be able to judge the severity of the disease and help in the diagnosis.

Syphilis is not only prevalent in women, but it is also more common in men. It is more probable for a male to contract this venereal disease than women. It is estimated that approximately 25% of all cases of Syphilis are of women. However, it is common for males to contract this swarming rashes that appear on one side of the body of a woman. A similar condition known as tinea cruris, causes similar sores on the arms and legs of both males and females but is rarely seen on the face, genitalia or breasts of women.

Although the exact etymology of the word ‘sister’ remains unknown, it is generally accepted that the word originates from a Greek word called ‘sistema’ which means sisterhood. Similarly, the word suet is also derived from the Greek word ‘sueta’. It can be assumed that the root words of sister disease are related to the Greek words suet, meaning sinner, and the Latin word casu which means skin or flesh. Hence, we can safely conclude that the origin of the word ‘sister’ came from a sexual connection between a male and a female and from this source the word has developed its generic term of ‘sister disease’ to describe the affliction of women arising from sorerhea and from a fleshly connection with another individual, probably her brother or sister.