Did you know the original term for Syphilis was “The French Disease“, it made the flesh fall off your face, and killed millions of people? Ever wonder about state-of-the-art treatment for S.T.D.’s in the middle ages?
Did you know that in the 17th century, patients with syphilis were made to wear yellow in hospital ‘foul’ wards, and nicknamed “canaries” (the yellow clothing) until Westmoreland Lock Hospital in Dublin–the first to treat people with venereal diseases–opened in 1792? Of course you didn’t. Neither did I.
The samples shown here barely do it justice, it’s formatted in a way that can only be appreciated by visiting the site, and navigating from the 1400s, all the way up to the 21st century.
For a long time it was thought that syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease and it wasn’t until the 20th century that the distinction was made when it was discovered that they were caused by different bacteria. Posters like this one were commonplace in the 1940s to try and warn against venereal diseases.
During World War II large numbers of Americans, including soldiers, died of syphilis, leading the US Public Health Service to make a short motion picture entitled ‘To The People of The United States’ starring Jean Hersholt about the risks of contracting syphilis.