Most of this essay is devoted to an historical overview of changing medical and societal attitudes toward the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in patients. It concentrates on the various efforts to control STD as reflective of changing attitudes toward the diseases. First, however, the author briefly explores the extent of STD among famous historical figures, how the diseases afflicted them and, where possible, the historical consequences of their affliction. This essay is not concerned with advances in understanding the cause or treatment of STDs. Rather, it describes important changes in the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of STDs only as these subjects relate to changes in the attitudes of the medical profession and the general public toward the diseases and their victims.
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