1 min


• Famous historical syphilitics allegedly include Al Capone, Czar Ivan The Terrible, King Henry VIII, Friedrich Nietzsche, Heinrich Heine, Queen Elizabeth I and Oscar Wilde

• King Louis XV suffered from cypridophobia, a fear of syphilis, and took to sleeping with young girls between the ages of 14 and 19 to reduce his chances of catching it

• Prior to the 1700s, it was public policy to whip women infected with syphilis unless they could prove infection from their husbands or soldiers

• During the 18th-century, Van Swieten’s liquor, a combination of mercury and brandy, was touted as a cure for the disease and used by the upper class

• The Vaugirard Hospital, dedicated to the treatment of syphilis, opened in 1780 and closed in 1790. It reportedly saved 371 people, while some 500,000 people died while undergoing treatment at the facility

• In 1793 Benjamin Bell discovered that syphilis and gonorrhea were different diseases after experimenting on himself and his med students

• It’s believed that the popularity of the codpiece during the Renaissance was in part due to the fact that it concealed the greasy ointment and bandages used to counter syphilis.