History of Syphilis
The book presents the first comprehensive history of the origin of syphilis, from its appearance in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century to the present day. Quetel examines the origins and treatments of syphilis over the centuries, focusing on the controls over sexual behaviour which were justified by the need to curb the spread of the disease.
The author also investigates the cultural dimensions of the problem: for instance, the images of syphilis presented in wartime propaganda and the literary connotations associated with the idea of the syphilitic genius. Quetel discusses historical accounts of the spread of syphilis and draws parallels with the current medical and social campaigns against AIDS.