Journals Higher Education



Published: 15 January 1987

304 Pages | illus.

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195042375

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Bookseller Code (01)

No Magic Bullet

A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States since 1880

Expanded Edition

Allan M. Brandt

The recent epidemic of AIDS and herpes virus has called into question not only the ability of the medical profession to treat venereal disease but its willingness to do so. No Magic Bullet, a perceptive analysis of the treatment of venereal diseases since the 1880s, places these questions in critical historical perspective. Beginning with Victorian hysteria about syphilis and continuing to our current concerns about AIDS, Allan Brandt recounts the various medical, military, and public health responses to venereal diseases that have arisen over the years. Brandt demonstrates that Americans' tendency to view sexually transmitted disease as both a punishment for sexual misconduct and an index of social decay has seriously impeded efforts to develop "magic bullets," the miracle drugs that would effectively halt the spread of infection. Resolving the conflicts between the medical and moral approaches to venereal disease, he argues, is the first step toward developing effective policies for disease control.